"King's Speech" tipped for glory at BAFTA awards

Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:31pm EST
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - "The King's Speech," in which Colin Firth plays stammering King George VI, is the bookmakers' favorite to be crowned best film at Britain's top movie accolades the BAFTA awards on Sunday.

Firth is also tipped by betting firm William Hill to scoop the best actor category and Tom Hooper the best director prize.

"Colin Firth has equaled the shortest ever BAFTA price which had been held by Helen Mirren. It has been one way traffic for The King's Speech and we fully expect to be paying out a record sum," said Hill's spokesman Rupert Adams.

The royal biopic leads the field with 14 BAFTA nominations, ahead of ballet drama "Black Swan" which garnered 12 and "Inception," starring Leonardo DiCaprio, with nine.

Climbing story "127 Hours" and Western remake "True Grit" earned eight apiece, while "The Social Network," which tells the tale of the founding of the Facebook website, won six nominations.

The outcome of the BAFTAs will be followed closely, with the awards season in full swing, but they have only a patchy record in identifying future Oscar winners.

BAFTA voters have tended to favor home-made productions, as have British gamblers, partly explaining the overwhelming betting odds in favor of The King's Speech.

Firth is up against Spain's Javier Bardem (Biutiful), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) and James Franco (127 Hours) for best actor.

His co-stars in The King's Speech -- Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush -- were nominated for best supporting actress and actor, respectively.   Continued...

<p>British actor Colin Firth, star of the film 'The King's Speech', arrives at the 16th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards in Hollywood, California January 14, 2011. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>