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'The King's Speech' earns Santa Barbara fest honor

January 24, 2011 |  4:19 pm

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The cast of "The King's Speech" has been named the best motion picture ensemble of the year at the 26th Santa Barbara Film Festival.

The drama about the struggles of England's King George VI to control his stuttering problem received the Producers Guild of America award Saturday night and is poised to earn several Academy Award nominations Tuesday morning. Colin Firth, who plays the monarch, has already won the Golden Globe and Critics' Choice Movie Award for his performance and is considered the favorite to receive the lead actor Oscar.

Besides Firth, the period drama also stars Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Derek Jacobi and Claire Bloom.

The award will be handed out on Jan. 31 at Santa Barbara's historic Arlington Theatre during the 11-day festival. Firth, Bonham Carter and others in the cast are expected to attend, as well as Tom Hooper, the film's director. Rush is also receiving another honor that night -- the Montecito Award Tribute.

"We are thrilled to not only recognize the extraordinary performance by Geoffrey Rush, but to be able to celebrate Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter, two of our generation's most incredible actors, as well as a Broadway and West End stage and screen legend like Claire Bloom, who launched her career with Charlie Chaplin, is a dream come true," said the festival's executive director Roger Durling in a statement.

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival takes place Jan. 27-Feb. 6.

For more information go to http://sbiff.org

--Susan King

Photo: Colin Firth, left, and Geoffrey Rush in "The King's Speech." Credit: Laurie Sparham/The Weinstein Co.

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