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.