THE 2011 BAFTA AWARDS
FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Royal drama THE KING’S SPEECH was crowned the big winner Sunday at Britain’s top film awards — a sign that it may reign again at Hollywood’s ACADEMY AWARDS in two weeks’ time.
The story of King George VI and his struggle to overcome a stutter won seven prizes, including BEST PICTURE and acting trophies for COLIN FIRTH, HELENA BONHAM CARTER and GEOFFREY RUSH.
It had to share the crown jewels with Facebook founding drama THE SOCIAL NETWORK, which took three prizes including BEST DIRECTOR for DAVID FINCHER. Mind bending saga INCEPTION also won three trophies.
THE KING’S SPEECH went into the awards as heavy favourite with 14 nominations — an unexpected British triumph that cost a reported 15 million pounds ($24 million) to make and has taken many times that at the global box office.
It beat BLACK SWAN, INCEPTION, THE SOCIAL NETWORK and TRUE GRIT to the BEST PICTURE prize.
The movie tells the true story of George VI, thrust unexpectedly onto the throne by his elder brother’s abdication and his battle to overcome a stammer with the help of an unconventional speech therapist.
Screenwriter DAVID SEIDLER said he was astonished that this small film about “two men in a room” has been so popular around the world.
“I don’t think it’s the fascination with royalty,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s the ostrich plumes and the gold braid. I think it’s the fact that it’s a story about changing your destiny.”
The British American writer, who overcame a childhood stammer and has worked on the screenplay for 30 years, said that “for a stutterer…to be heard is a wonderful thing.”
As expected, COLIN FIRTH won BEST ACTOR for his portrayal of the reluctant monarch. He has already won a BEST ACTOR trophy at THE GOLDEN GLOBES and is a strong favourite for the OSCAR.
“I like coming here,” remarked COLIN, who won the same prize last year for A SINGLE MAN.
THE KING’S SPEECH also took awards for BEST BRITISH FILM, ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY, ORIGINAL MUSIC, SUPPORTING ACTRESS for HELENA BONHAM CARTER’S performance as the QUEEN MOTHER ELIZABETH and SUPPORTING ACTOR for GEOFFREY RUSH’S turn as speech therapist LIONEL LOGUE.
NATALIE PORTMAN won the BEST ACTRESS prize for the psychosexual dance thriller BLACK SWAN, its only win from 12 nominations.
THE SOCIAL NETWORK took directing and editing prizes, as well as an award for AARON SORKIN’S adapted screenplay. INCEPTION won prizes for SOUND, PRODUCTION DESIGN and VISUAL EFFECTS.
Writer/director CHRIS MORRIS took the prize for best British debut for FOUR LIONS, his comedy about a group of bumbling would be suicide bombers.
Swedish thriller THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO was named BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM. Producer Soeren Staermose joked that its no holds barred hero Lisbeth Salander, was “the scariest thing to come out of Sweden since Abba.”
Most of the winners are selected by the votes of 6,000 ACADEMY members.
Actor TOM HARDY won THE RISING STAR AWARD, decided by public vote.
The awards, known as BAFTAS, are considered a strong indicator of possible OSCAR glory. Sunday’s ceremony provided a mix of British style and Hollywood glamour.
Stars including BARBARA HERSHEY, MARK RUFFALO, NEVE CAMPBELL and HELENA BONHAM CARTER — in a black VIVIENNE WESTWOOD dress — braved a blustery drizzle to walk the red carpet at London’s ROYAL OPERA HOUSE before the televised show.
Britain’s movie industry is facing uncertainty amidst an economic slowdown and government funding cuts. THE KING’S SPEECH was partly funded by the U.K. Film Council, a body recently abolished by the country’s Conservative led government.
The ceremony tried to lift the mood and celebrate British success, giving an award to the money minting HARRY POTTER franchise for outstanding British contribution to cinema.
CHRISTOPHER LEE, the aristocratic actor who chilled generations as Count Dracula in a series of Hammer Studios horror classics, received a lifetime achievement award.
SELECTED LIST OF WINNERS
BEST FILM: THE KING’S SPEECH
OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM: THE KING’S SPEECH
BEST ACTRESS: NATALIE PORTMAN – BLACK SWAN
BEST ACTOR: COLIN FIRTH – THE KING’S SPEECH
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: HELENA BONHAM CARTER – THE KING’S SPEECH
SUPPORTING ACTOR: GEOFFREY RUSH – THE KING’S SPEECH
DIRECTOR: DAVID FINCHER – THE SOCIAL NETWORK
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: AARON SORKIN – THE SOCIAL NETWORK
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: DAVID SEIDLER – THE KING’S SPEECH
OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY BRITISH WRITER/DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: CHRIS MORRIS, director/writer of FOUR LIONS
FOREIGN FILM: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
ANIMATED FILM: TOY STORY 3
PRODUCTION DESIGN: INCEPTION
EDITING: THE SOCIAL NETWORK
MAKEUP & HAIR: ALICE IN WONDERLAND
COSTUME DESIGN: ALICE IN WONDERLAND
VISUAL EFFECTS: INCEPTION
CINEMATOGRAPHY: TRUE GRIT
MUSIC: THE KING’S SPEECH
ORANGE RISING STAR: TOM HARDY (voted on by the British public)
OUTSTANDING BRITISH CONTRIBUTION TO CINEMA: THE HARRY POTTER FILMS
ACADEMY FELLOWSHIP (LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD): CHRISTOPHER LEE