King’s Speech tipped to reign at Bafta awards

BRITISH movie The King’s Speech is expected to reign at the Baftas after topping the nominations list for the film awards.

The story of King George VI’s attempt to overcome his stutter is in the running for the most coveted prizes, including best film and director as well as actor for Colin Firth, at next month’s ceremony.

Geoffrey Rush, who plays the monarch’s speech therapist, and Helena Bonham Carter as Queen Elizabeth, are nominated in the supporting actor and actress categories.

News of the film’s 14 nominations follows disappointment at the Golden Globes, where the drama, directed by Briton Tom Hooper, took only one — Firth won best actor — of the seven awards it was contending for.

Other nominations see Pete Postlethwaite, who died last month aged 64 after a battle with cancer, posthumously nominated for supporting actor.

The late star is nominated for what was one of his last roles, as an Irish florist in Ben Affleck gangster film, The Town.

Black Swan, a psychological thriller set in the world of ballet, is just behind The King’s Speech with 12 nominations, including best film, best director for Darren Aronofsky and best actress for Natalie Portman.

One of Portman’s rivals is 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld — the US teenager won the part in the Coen brothers Western, True Grit, following an open casting call.

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore (The Kids Are All Right), and Swedish actress Noomi Rapace (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) are also up for best actress.

In the best director category, Black Swan and The King’s Speech are up against Slumdog Millionaire filmmaker Danny Boyle for rock-climbing drama 127 Hours, Christopher Nolan for Inception, and David Fincher for The Social Network.

Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, has nine nominations, 127 Hours and True Grit are in eight categories, and The Social Network, about the founding of Facebook, which dominated the Golden Globes, is up for six gongs.

The King’s Speech and Black Swan are up against Inception, The Social Network and True Grit for best film.

Firth’s rivals in the best actor category are US star Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Javier Bardem (Biutiful) and James Franco (127 Hours).

Last year, the best director and film Bafta awards went to Kathryn Bigelow and her movie The Hurt Locker.

They took the same titles at the Oscars, suggesting that the Baftas may now provide a better pointer than the Golden Globes to Oscar success.

In other categories, Graffiti artist Banksy is up for outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer for his faux documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop.

Four Lions, a farce about suicide bombers by TV satirist Chris Morris, acclaimed shoestring-budget sci-fi movie Monsters, dark comedy Skeletons and The Arbor, the story of Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar, are also in the running.

The King’s Speech is up against 127 Hours, Mike Leigh film Another Year, Four Lions and Made In Dagenham, a dramatisation of the 1968 strike at the Ford factory, in the British film category.

The supporting actress category pits Bonham Carter against Miranda Richardson (Made In Dagenham), Amy Adams (The Fighter), Barbara Hershey (Black Swan) and Lesley Manville (Another Year).

Deputy Bafta chairman David Parfitt said of the nominations: “It’s a very good year for the Brits. Even some of the American films that are nominated have British directors.”

Big hit Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part One has just two nominations in the minor categories, including special visual effects.

The ceremony, to be hosted on February 13 for the fifth year running by Jonathan Ross, will be broadcast live on the BBC.

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