"King's Speech" and tradition triumph at Oscars

Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:04am EST
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood found a new group of kings lording over movies on Monday, the makers of Oscar winner "The King's Speech," whose heartwarming tale triumphed over a flashy story of new technology in "The Social Network."

"King's Speech" claimed four Oscars -- best film, actor for Colin Firth, director and screenplay -- with a traditional story of a British monarch defeating personal demons. It featured World War Two-era costumes, sweeping sets and a royal tale that seemed bigger than life itself.

The British movie entered Sunday's Oscars, the world's top film honors, in a tight race for best film with "The Social Network," which chronicled the rise of Facebook from a website dreamed up in a college dormitory to an Internet sensation.

But the contemporary tale of the digital age -- and its stable of young actors such as Jesse Eisenberg -- failed to capture the fancy of Oscar voters as much as did the old-fashioned, sweeping saga "The King's Speech."

"What has struck me is the emotional response to (the movie), which seems to have been very, very personal and quite diverse," Firth told reporters after the awards show.

The veteran actor, age 50, won best actor over a group of others that included Eisenberg, 27, who portrayed Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. It was Firth's second nomination and Eisenberg's first.

Natalie Portman claimed the best actress Academy Award for her portrayal of a young ballerina who grows into womanhood in "Black Swan."

Portman called it "a dream" backstage to be a winner and despite the fact that she has starred in big-budget flicks such as the "Star Wars" movies, she instantly becomes an even more sought-after star.   Continued...