Hollywood actors honor "King's Speech"

Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:49am EST
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscars front-runner "The King's Speech" won the top prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday, giving the British royals drama yet another boost four weeks ahead of Hollywood's biggest night.

The film took the prize for best ensemble cast, the guild's equivalent of the best picture Oscar.

While SAG's top honor has a spotty record as an Oscar barometer -- with a success rate of about 50 percent -- "The King's Speech" has been on a roll in the past week, winning the top prizes from both Hollywood's directors and producers.

The winners of SAG's individual acting awards mirrored the results at the recent Golden Globes and the Critics' Choice Movie Awards, further reducing the likelihood of much surprise when the Oscars are handed out in Hollywood on February 27.

British actor Colin Firth, who stars in "The King's Speech" as stammering wartime monarch King George VI, was named best actor. Natalie Portman was named best actress for her role as an unhinged ballerina in "Black Swan."

The supporting prizes went to a pair of actors from "The Fighter," a fact-based boxing drama: Christian Bale as a crackhead former boxing hero and Melissa Leo as a feisty, blue-collar matriarch.

"The King's Speech" triumphed over "Black Swan," "The Fighter," the Facebook drama "The Social Network" and the lesbian family comedy "The Kids Are All Right." It picked up a leading 12 Oscar nominations on Tuesday, including best picture, director and actor.

Firth, previously best known for romantic comedies such as "Bridget Jones' Diary," thanked his "dream cast." Australian actor Geoffrey Rush, an Oscar nominee for his role as the reluctant king's unconventional speech therapist, said the movie was a true example of ensemble acting.   Continued...

<p>Actor Colin Firth poses with his two SAG Awards for "The King's Speech" at the 17th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California January 30, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson</p>