“The King’s Speech,” the tale of King George VI’s struggle with a stammer, leads this year’s Academy Award nominations with 12 nods, including best picture and acting honours for Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush.
The British drama has already won the prestigious Producers Guild of America Award – a good omen since the Producers Guild have correctly forecast the Oscar best picture 13 times in the past two decades. But it will have serious competition from “The Social Network,” which tells the story of the early days of Facebook and which dominated the Golden Globe awards and Critics Choice awards.
The Western remake “True Grit” is next in line in nominations with 10, yet its prospects for nabbing a coveted Best Picture trophy on Feb. 27 seem smaller. The film has largely been ignored in awards so far this season, and was completely snubbed by the Golden Globes earlier this month.
Also on the ballot for best picture are the boxing drama “The Fighter,” science fiction thriller “Inception,” the lesbian family tale “The Kids Are All Right,” the stranded hiker drama “127 Hours,” the independent film “Winter’s Bone,” and the animated feature “Toy Story 3.”
“The King’s Speech” star Colin Firth, seen by many as the front-runner for the Best Actor trophy, may have some competition from Javier Bardem, whose performance in the Spanish-language “Biutiful” has been celebrated by critics. Also in the running are Jeff Bridges for “True Grit,” Jesse Eisenberg for “The Social Network” and James Franco for “127 Hours.”
Natalie Portman, currently pregnant with her first child, is seen as a favourite for Best Actress, after picking up a Best Actress Golden Globe earlier this month. But also vying for the trophy is Annette Bening for her performance in the lesbian family drama “The Kids Are All Right.” Also in contention are Nicole Kidman for “Rabbit Hole”; Jennifer Lawrence for “Winter’s Bone”; and Michelle Williams for “Blue Valentine.”
Up for best director are Tom Hooper for “The King’s Speech”; David Fincher for “The Social Network”; Darren Aronofsky for “Black Swan”; David O. Russell for “The Fighter”; and Joel Coen and Ethan Coen for “True Grit.”
Notably absent from that list are “127 Hours” director Danny Boyle and “Inception” director Christopher Nolan — a snub that is already generating buzz, given that the movie is up for eight other awards.
Canadian film “Incendies”, from Quebec director Denis Villeneuve, is up for Best Foreign Language Film. The film has already been named best Canadian film by Toronto and Vancouver film critics and has collected several awards on the festival circuit.
Canada hasn’t had a film nominated for a foreign-language film Oscar since 2007, when Deepa Mehta’s “Water” was in contention. And the last time a Canadian film won the category was in 2004 for Denys Arcand’s “The Barbarian Invasions.”
Yet “Barney’s Version,” based on the novel of the same name by Canadian legend Mordechai Richler, was snubbed from any big awards. The film did earn a nomination for best makeup.
Movie critic Richard Crouse says he was surprised to see both Christopher Nolan and Danny Boyle omitted from the best directors list. But he wasn’t surprised to see “The King’s Speech” earn so many nods.
“It will win a whole bunch of those,” Crouse told CTV’s Canada AM shortly after the nominations were announced.
“I mean, it is the kind of movie that the Academy likes. We always used to talk about how the Academy is old and out of touch and that’s changed a great deal. But still, this is the kind of prestige movie that the Academy likes and it’s the kind of biography that they like.”
This year’s 83rd Academy Awards will air live on CTV from Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre.
The show will break with recent traditions of using comedians as hosts. Instead, big-screen stars James Franco, a best-actor nominee for “127 Hours,” and Anne Hathaway will be co-hosts.
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