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The King’s Speech Crowned Big Winner at 2011 BAFTAs

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The British royalty drama The King’s Speech was crowned the big winner at Sunday’s prestigious BAFTA film awards — a surefire sign that it may dominate at the Academy Awards come Feb. 27. The story of King George VI and his struggle to overcome a stutter picked up seven awards, including best picture and acting prizes for Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter (supporting actress) and Geoffrey Rush (supporting actor).

It had to share the honours, however, as The Social Network took three highly coveted prizes, including best director for David Fincher. Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending epic Inception also won three trophies.

The King’s Speech went into the awards as the easy favourite with 14 nominations, and beat The Social Network, Black Swan, Inception and True Grit to the best picture honours. The film also took awards for best British film, original screenplay and original music.

As expected, Oscar favourite Firth won best actor for his portrayal of the stuttering monarch. He who won the same prize last year for A Single Man. Natalie Portman, also the Academy Award frontrunner, won the best actress prize for the emotionally rich dance thriller Black Swan, its only win from 12 nominations.

Writer-director Chris Morris won best British debut for Four Lions, his comedy about a group of would-be suicide bombers. The Swedish thriller The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was named best foreign language film. Actor Tom Hardy won the Rising Star Award (decided by public vote), and Christopher Lee, the enduring 88-year-old screen legend, received a lifetime achievement award.

The BAFTAs are considered a strong indicator of possible Oscar triumph, and were voted on this year by most of their 6000 eligible members.

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