Colin Firth in a scene from The Kings Speech. (AP)
Beverly Hills, Jan. 25 (Reuters): Long live the king.
The Kings Speech, a British drama about wartime monarch King George VIs struggle to overcome a crippling stammer, led the Oscar field today with 12 nominations, including best picture.
Awards season favourite Colin Firth was nominated for his lead role in The Kings Speech as the father of the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth.
Currently celebrating with my colleagues three feet above the ground, Firth, 50, said in a statement. Not used to this much joy, or this much champagne at this hour.
His co-stars were also nominated for their supporting roles in the Weinstein Co. release: Helena Bonham Carter, as Georges wife, the future Queen Mother; and Australian actor Geoffrey Rush as the untrained speech therapist who ignores royal protocol by delving into the psyche of his reluctant client.
In 2009, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button received 13 nominations but ended up with just three awards.
True Grit, a Western remake about a young girls brave quest to track down her fathers killer, got 10 nominations. In addition to best picture, it received acting nominations for Jeff Bridges, an Oscar winner last year, and 14-year-old newcomer Hailee Steinfeld.
But the Paramount Pictures project has largely been ignored during awards season, and did not receive any Golden Globe nominations.
Columbia Pictures Facebook drama, The Social Network, which has dominated the various critics awards leading up to the Oscar nominations, received eight nominations, tying with Warner Bros hit sci-fi thriller Inception.
Both will also vie for best picture, a 10-film field rounded out by Black Swan, The Fighter, The Kids Are All Right, 127 Hours, Toy Story 3 and Winters Bone. Black Swan, The Fighter, The Kings Speech, The Social Network and True Grit also picked up directing nominations. Winners of the 83rd annual Academy Awards will be announced at a ceremony in Hollywood on February 27.
As in recent years there was little surprise or controversy among the leading contenders.
The list is remarkably broad and eminently fair, James Lipton, the host of the Bravo cable TV series Inside the Actors Studio, said in an email.
The Social Network has dominated awards ceremonies leading up to the Oscars, including the Critics Choice and Golden Globe awards. The Kings Speech was the surprise winner of the top prize from the Producers Guild on Saturday.
Virtually all the best picture nominees crossed over to mainstream audiences, and those still in theatres will likely receive an Oscar-related boost in business in coming weeks.
For the first time since 2001, no black actors made the cut. The acting field boasts eight first-time nominees, as well as three Britons — Firth, Bonham Carter and Christian Bale (The Fighter); and two Australian-born actors — Rush and Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom).