As widely expected, Colin Firth has been named best actor at this year’s BAFTAs for his portrayal of George VI in The King’s Speech.
Firth’s performance as the speech-impaired monarch has also been recognised by the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and London Film Critics’ Circle awards.
The actor also won the award last year for his performance in A Single Man, making him the first actor to win it two years running since Rod Steiger was recognised for his roles in 1967’s The Pawnbroker and the 1968 classic In the Heat of the Night in which he played a bigoted sheriff opposite Sidney Poitier.
The King’s Speech won a total of seven awards, scooping up accolades for outstanding British film, best original screenplay, best score and best supporting actress and actor which went to Firth’s co-stars Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush.
There was a triple win for Facebook movie The Social Network with David Fincher wining the Best Director award and Aaron Sorkin taking home the BAFTA for Adapted Screenplay. The film also won the Editing award.
Natalie Portman was awarded the BAFTA for Leading Actress for her performance as Nina Sayers in Black Swan.
The Orange Wednesdays Rising Star Award, the only BAFTA voted for by the public, went to Tom Hardy, defying the expectations of many film pundits who expected Social Network star Andrew Garfield to win.
Hardy made his name in Stephen Spielberg’s TV series Band of Brothers before going on to star in Ridley Scott’s war thriller Black Hawk Down and Inception.
Tom Hardy said of his win: “Thank you very much. This is very kind of you and much appreciated. I genuinely am grateful just to be working at all. I’d like to thank everyone who voted, everyone who loves a good story and every artist in the house tonight for the work they do.”
JK Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise received the award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema which was presented to the author by Stephen Fry.
The highlight of the ceremony was the awarding of the Fellowship of the Academy to legendary British actor Sir Christopher Lee who received a standing ovation from attendees.