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Category: Colin Firth

'The King's Speech' BAFTA romp: What does it mean for the Oscars?

BAFTA_Statue

As expected, "The King's Speech" pulled off an impressive sweep at BAFTA, claiming seven awards, including the dual crowns as best picture and best British picture. That marked the first time both prizes went to the same movie since the category for best British film was re-introduced in 1992.

That combo probably clinches its top Oscar victory next. Ever since 2000, when BAFTA moved up its award ceremony to take place before the Academy Awards, the two prizes have agreed on best picture four times: "Gladiator" (2000), "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (2003), "Slumdog Millionaire" (2008) and "The Hurt Locker" (2009). The victory by "Hurt Locker" surprised kudos-watchers.

Last year, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts correctly foretold the Oscar winners of supporting actor and actress. Could it be significant that Geoffrey Rush just beat Oscar front-runner Christian Bale ("The Fighter")? His "King's Speech" costar Helena Bonham Carter won supporting actress too, but she wasn't nominated against Oscar faves Melissa Leo ("The Fighter") and Hailee Steinfeld ("True Grit"). Or maybe their victories at these British film awards were to be expected considering Rush and Carter are subjects of the empire — he's an Aussie; she's a Brit.

Last year, BAFTA showed a strong preference for British thespians in the lead races, picking Colin Firth ("A Single Man") over eventual Oscar champ Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") and Carey Mulligan ("An Education"), who had an easier time of it. She wasn't nominated against Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side").

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BAFTA Awards: 'The King's Speech' is crowned with seven wins

 Nukings speech
It was no big surprise when the British period drama "The King's Speech" won seven Orange British Academy Film Awards on Sunday evening at the Royal Opera House in London.

The surprise came when Tom Hooper, the film's director and recent recipient of the Directors Guild of America Award, came up empty handed. It was David Fincher who won best director honors for "The Social Network."

Still, it was "The King's Speech's" night. The historical piece about George VI's attempts to rid himself of his stutter before becoming King of England, won outstanding film, outstanding British film, lead actor for Colin Firth (he won the award in this category last year for "A Simple Man"), original screenplay for David Seidler, supporting actor for Geoffrey Rush, supporting actress for Helena Bonham Carter and score for Alexandre Desplat.

"The King's Speech" is also nominated for 12 Academy Awards and is the favorite to take home Oscar's biggest prize.

Besides Fincher's win for best director, "The Social Network," the drama about the founding of Facebook, also won for Aaron Sorkin's adapted screenplay and editing.

"Toy Story 3" earned best animated film honors, and Roger Deakins took home the cinematography prize for "True Grit."

"Inception" won three awards for production design, visual effects and sound, while "Alice in Wonderland" won for costumes and makeup and hair.

Sweden's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" won outstanding film not in the English language and writer-director Chris Norris of "Four Lions" won outstanding British debut by a writer-director or producer.

Outstanding short film went to "Until the River Runs Red," while "The Eagleman Stag" won for animated short.

Tom Hardy of "Inception" won the Rising Star honor and, as previously announced, the "Harry Potter" franchise was given the outstanding British contribution to the cinema honor. Veteran actor Christopher Lee won the British Academy of Film and Television Arts' Fellowship award, the organization's highest accolade.

— Susan King

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


BAFTA Award: Colin Firth wins for best actor

Colin Bafta Colin Firth won the leading actor trophy for his performance as King George VI in "The King's Speech" on Sunday at the Orange British Academy Film Awards.

Firth, who won the same honor last year for his role in Tom Ford's "A Single Man," is considered the front-runner for the Oscar in the same category. The top British film award and the Oscars have aligned fairly closely in recent years.

His competition was Javier Bardem for "Biutiful," Jeff Bridges for "True Grit," Jesse Eisenberg for "The Social Network" and James Franco for "127 Hours."

The awards, presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, were handed out  at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden in London.

--Susan King

Photo of Colin Firth from Getty Images.


Oscar mash-up: Wentworth Miller's 'Stoker' is Kidman + Firth + 'Kids Are All Right's' Wasikowska

Colin It's nice to see that all this award season schmoozing is leading to some real deal-making. Both Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman have been on the circuit in a big way for months and now it looks as if the two will be partnering for the drama "Stoker" from actor-writer Wentworth Miller and Fox Searchlight.

According to my colleague Steve Zeitchik, the lead acting contenders will play sister- and brother-in-law in the film that "Oldboy" director Chan Wook-Park will helm. Also in the cast is the "Kids Are All Right" daughter Mia Wasikowska, who plays the daughter who befriends her uncle after her father suddenly passes away.

It's not the first time that two Oscar nominees from the same "class" have gone on to star opposite Nicole each other soon after the season is over. Newly minted best buds Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep signed on to the film adaptation of the Tony-winning play "August: Osage County" last October after having a merry time together on the campaign trail.

And Brad Pitt and Sean Penn can be seen in May in Terrence Malick's "A Tree of Life." They were both lead actor nominees in 2009 for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "Milk," respectively. That same year, Melissa Leo was nominated for lead actress for "Frozen River" while Amy Adams received a nod for supporting actress in "Doubt." As you all know, the two costarred in this season's "The Fighter."

Considering all these events these people attend together and how much of their working lives are put on hold during the award season, it's nice to see that some business gets done amid the self-congratulating.

-- Nicole Sperling 

Photo of Colin Firth by Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times; photo of Nicole Kidman by Reuters


If I ran the Oscars: Musician Dan Hicks picks 'Freaks' and Jerry Lewis

DanHicks 
In this interview series, we ask some famous free-thinkers to recast the Oscars in their own image. Please put your hands together for our next presenter, music iconoclast Dan Hicks.

Dan, which actors and films will get Oscars from academy voters this year?

Colin Firth for best actor; Natalie Portman, best actress; Helena Bonham Carter for supporting actress, and Geoffrey Rush, supporting actor. As for movies, it’s between “The Social Network” and “The King’s Speech.”

So if you were in charge of academy votes, which performers and films would go home with an Oscar?

Most of the entire list in question #1, and Mark Ruffalo in "The Kids Are All Right."

"The King's Speech" is a high contender in my book to sweep -- much more deserving than the "Crash" win of 2004!

Which films and performers from the past do you feel deserved the Oscar but didn't receive one?

Tod Browning's "Freaks" for best film, and Jerry Lewis in "The Nutty Professor" for best actor.

Which award categories would you add? Which need deleting?

I would delete best song and focus entirely on the music and score -- one film that was overlooked in this category was Bernard Herrmann’s music for "Taxi Driver."

Also, let’s add the award for shortest film credits!

What part of the telecast would you remove? And what would you replace it with?

The part where Randy Newman wins an Oscar -- just kidding! Replace it with Peter Coyote reprising his year 2000 backstage commentary as “The Voice of Oscar.”

Which part of the Oscars would you never change?

When the orchestra signals that an acceptance speech should be wrapping up -- and Jack Nicholson sitting in the front row.

The fashion parade on the red carpet seems to have become as important a part of the ceremony as the awards themselves. What dress code rules would you mandate there?

There is no need for dress code rules -- this is America -- a person should be able to wear what he or she wants to the Oscars.

Well said. Who would be your dream host or presenters? Musical performers?

My dream host would be Chris Rock, accompanied by Richard Belzer. And would love to see more stars from bygone eras as presenters.

Who would receive your honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement?

Richard Gere.

Do you have a favorite (good or bad) Oscar moment from the past?

When Bette Davis was presenting the best actor award in 1986 and forgot to include jazz musician Dexter Gordon among the more celebrated nominees.

And lastly, let’s give you an Oscar this year for all your hard work. Let’s hear your acceptance speech.

"I've heard of non-actors receiving Oscars, but this is ridiculous! This is going to look good on my mantle next to my 1958 high school Junior Achievement plaque for best business acumen. Perhaps I should make room for more Oscars -- I think I've got the bug! Next time I won't try so hard, so some other guys will have a chance."

-- Paul Gaita

Photo: Dan Hicks. Credit: Jenee Crayne


AARP Awards like their movies with a grown-up appoach

Redford Quips about aging whizzed around the Beverly Wilshire ballroom Monday night at the annual AARP the Magazine-sponsored Movies for Grownups awards. For the 10th consecutive year, the Washington, D.C.-based publication paused to honor not the young, beautiful and promising of Hollywood, but the experienced, established and of a certain age.

Nancy Perry Graham, vice president and editor of the magazine who with entertainment editor Bill Newcott nurtures the awards, said, “We are catapulted to the major leagues of awards. It’s serious. We have 47 million readers and they turn out to these movies.” The evening’s impressive celebrity showing (see our photo gallery) may have resulted from scheduling the surf-and-turf dinner just hours after the Academy’s annual Oscar-nominees luncheon. Oldsters Mickey Rooney, 90, Larry Hagman, 79, and Martin Landau, 82, mixed at a noisy party with Lord Freddie and Lady Sophie Windsor, in their early 30s.

Robert Redford, the soon-to-be 75-year-old honoree for Lifetime Achievement, told The Times, “My age justifies it. But I’m not retired. I may drop -- but I’ll not retire.” Still dashing in his trademark horned-rimmed glasses and thatch of blond hair, Redford shared touching intimacies with the 320 attendees. His post-World War II childhood and youthful overseas travel, he recalled, made him see “what is wrong with this picture.”

“I wanted to tell stories about the America I loved,” he said, “but that had other sides to it. I wanted to tell [it], warts and all. . . . Honors and accolades are flattering and I am grateful. What carries me forward, though, is the work, always the work, and I’ll keep working.”  

Aarppromo Veteran actresses tend to harbor a deeper grudge than their brethren over the dearth of well-written roles for older women. But British actress Lesley Manville expressed hope when accepting the best actress award for “Another Year,” an affecting examination of married life by her longtime collaborator, writer-director Mike Leigh.

“I really do think things are slowly, slowly getting better for women and this year there are a plethora of roles. Women over 40, 50, 60 are playing roles that are sexy, interesting and intelligent. Annette Bening, Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren have showed us that it’s not over.”

“Whether you go into old age with a partner, or like my character, lonely, the film says ‘that is quite random,’” Manville added. “The character I play in the film is in such denial about aging, she’d be horrified" to know Manville had received this award.

 Phylicia Rashad and John Malkovich garnered supporting actor honors for “For Colored Girls,” and “Secretariat” respectively. Andy Garcia collected an award for “City Island,” voted best comedy.

Geoffrey Rush, on hand to introduce Colin Firth (who won the best actor award for portraying George VI in “The King’s Speech”) spun through his red carpet duties amiably. Calling himself “the new kid on the block where the [Movies for Grownups] awards are concerned,” he dedicated the evening to “me embracing my inner dotage -– in a good way.”

Rush expressed mock concern that Firth “wouldn’t be allowed in,” but “Colin turned 50 at the Toronto Film Festival.” Taking his turn at the mic, Firth accepted by saying, “When I told a senior member of my family I was honored for being a grown-up, she said, ‘Finally.’”

Taking the best movie for grown-ups prize, “The King’s Speech,” about the struggles and growing friendship between a stuttering prince and his speech therapist, proves that smart, thoughtful adult entertainment still has a hope in Hollywood. Director Tom Hooper, abundant in praise for his leading men, said “Geoffrey hasn’t lost his child-like passion and enthusiasm.” Regarding the recent news that Queen Elizabeth gave her thumbs-up to the film honoring her father, he said, "It’s amazing. It’s what I would have hoped, but you never know.” 

News that the film broke $150 million in worldwide box office last weekend got the zestiest applause of the evening, second only to Rob Reiner complaining that the hotel’s black satin napkin repeatedly slipped from his lap. He was too old, he intimated, to pick it up. “I want to thank my father for making love to my mother 64 years ago,” quipped Rob, accepting an honor for his film “Flipped,” which was awarded best intergenerational movie. Reiner père, Carl, soon to turn 89, countered with impeccable timing: “That was one of the biggest pleasures of my life.” 

 -- Debra Levine

Photo: Sally Field and Robert Redford at the AARP Awards Monday night. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images


Quiz: What was the last film to win three Oscars for acting?

If "The King's Speech" wins all three of its nominations for acting (Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter), it will become only the third film to do so. The first was "Streetcar Named Desire" in 1951 (Vivien Leigh, Karl Malden, Kim Hunter). What's the other? To see the answer, click on the "Continue Reading" link under the photos below. [For the record: An earlier version of this post left out Kim Hunter and said Marlon Brando had won.]

Oscar trivia

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Poll: Which SAG winner is most likely to lose at the Oscars?

SAG-25153105Historically speaking, about three out of four SAG Award champs go on to repeat at the Oscars every year. Assuming the same pattern continues, who is most vulnerable among the most recent crop of guild victors?

I think it's Melissa Leo ("The Fighter"), who could get bumped by Hailee Steinfeld ("True Grit"). A good case can be made for Christian Bale ("The Fighter"), though. If "The King's Speech" bandwagon keeps gathering momentum, Geoffrey Rush could cop a ride and toss Bale overboard.

Or maybe it's Natalie Portman ("Black Swan")? After all, Annette Bening is a queen of Hollywood overdue for her Oscar crown, and many industry leaders would like to see her get it for "The Kids Are All Right." She plays gay in it — that's how Sean Penn ("Milk") and Tom Hanks ("Philadelphia") won Academy Awards.

Are we all agreed that no one — absolutely no one — is seizing the lead actor crown from Colin Firth ("The King's Speech")?

— Tom O'Neil

 

Photo: Screen Actors Guild


SAG Awards: A quiet moment with Colin Firth

Colin Firth 
In a brief quiet moment just after stepping off the stage holding his second award, Colin Firth took a  breath and pulled out his cellphone. In the dark corridor, the glow from the screen lighted up his smile from below. "My wife," he explained as he tapped out a text message. "She'll be asleep, she didn't make the trip. But she'll see it when she wakes up."

Firth thought for a moment when asked what the biggest challenge of the role had been. "To make sure it was respectful and real and true to what people go through. It needed to be because nothing would matter if it wasn't."

 

RELATED:

Complete coverage

SAG Awards: Red carpet photos

Quotes from the SAG Awards

— Geoff Boucher

Photo: Colin Firth poses with his two SAG Awards for "The King's Speech" at the 17th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. Credit: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters.


SAG Awards: Colin Firth hopes 'King's Speech' makes a difference to people

Colinfirth "The King's Speech" is about royal public life getting sabotaged by private matters — and when the cast of the film won the ensemble award as the climax of the Screen Actors Guild Awards, there was an appropriate bit of stutter and flutter amid the pageantry.

Colin Firth didn't know the trophy had been won — he was backstage after winning the previous award for lead actor in a film — and Helena Bonham Carter almost stayed in her seat. "I thought 'The Fighter' was going to win it," she said backstage as the applause still echoed in the Shrine Auditorium.

After receiving the trophy, the cast left the stage in the wrong direction and, once off, they had to pause for a few moments so Geoffrey Rush could make a stop. But really, where it mattered most, the cast of elite British actors sparkled — on screen and on the SAG stage.

Firth said he has also been having meaningful encounters on the streets these days as people "talk about themselves, their sons, their daughters, the person in their life who has a problem with speech," the actor said. "I never knew there were so many people in that place out there. You hope as an actor that something you do will make a difference, you know? A lot of it is fun or escapism or light, but I think deep in all of us we hope something we do will really matter to people in a deep way."

 RELATED:

Complete coverage

SAG Awards: Red carpet photos

Quotes from the SAG Awards

— Geoff Boucher 

Photo: Colin Firth accepts the award for outstanding male actor in a leading role for "The King's Speech" at the 17th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters.



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