LONDON (Reuters) - “The King’s Speech,” in which Colin Firth plays the stammering King George VI, won 14 BAFTA nominations on Tuesday, ahead of ballet drama “Black Swan” which garnered 12.
“Inception,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was the next most popular movie at Britain’s top film honours with nine nominations, ahead of climbing story “127 Hours” and Western remake “True Grit” with eight apiece.
“The Social Network,” which tells the tale of the founding of the Facebook website and one of the films widely tipped for Oscars glory this year, won six nominations.
The BAFTAs are followed closely as the awards season gets into full swing, although they have only a patchy record in identifying future Oscar winners.
Firth, who recently won a Golden Globe and is considered one of the frontrunners for an Academy Award, was shortlisted for a BAFTA best actor prize.
He is up against Spain’s Javier Bardem (Biutiful), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) and James Franco (127 Hours).
Firth’s co-stars in The King’s Speech — Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush — were nominated for best supporting actress and actor, respectively.
Natalie Portman is contesting the best actress award, with both Annette Bening and Julianne Moore nominated for lesbian family drama “The Kids Are All Right.”
Rounding out the category are Sweden’s Noomi Rapace (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) and teenaged star Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit).
Pete Postlethwaite, the Oscar-nominated actor who died earlier this month, received a posthumous supporting actor nomination for his performance in “The Town.”
British urban artist Banksy, who has kept his identity a secret, received a British debut BAFTA nomination for directing “Exit Through the Gift Shop.”
Also contesting the award was Chris Morris, who wrote and directed suicide bomber comedy “Four Lions” which is also nominated for the best British film prize.
Italian movie “I Am Love,” “Of Gods and Men” from France and “The Secret in Their Eyes” (Argentina) were nominated for best foreign language film alongside Spain’s “Biutiful” and Sweden’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”
And the animated feature award shortlist comprised “Despicable Me,” “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Toy Story 3.”
The Orange British Academy Film Awards winners are announced on February 13.
Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato