herald

Friday 17 August 2018

Colin's in seventh heaven at Baftas

REGAL: Firth is firm favourite for Oscars after film sweeps awards

The King's Speech swept the boards at Britain's Oscars -- and now star Colin Firth admitted there was "immense excitement" about winning at the real Oscars later this month.

Firth, who is favourite to pick up the Best Actor award at the Hollywood ceremony, collected the Leading Actor Bafta for his portrayal of King George VI and the film scooped seven awards in all.

Speaking backstage, he joked he had "plenty of shelf space" for the awards he has won for the role, and said he was looking forward to the Oscars.

He said: "There is immense excitement, there is no lack of excitement but it is very hard to talk about something that hasn't happened."

Asked about reports the film had been given royal approval by Queen Elizabeth, he said: "It would mean an enormous amount if that were to be the case. Even if the person you were playing had a living daughter who wasn't the Queen it would be important."

He had paid tribute to his family as he accepted the award. Referring to his role in the Abba-inspired Mamma Mia!, he said they remained "so steady whether they are dealing with a dancing queen or a sometime king".

He also paid tribute to his co-stars, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter, who won awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively.

In her acceptance speech, Bonham Carter told Firth: "King Colin, you're deserving everything you're getting."

The film also picked up awards for Best Film, Original Music, Outstanding British Film and Original Screenplay for its writer David Seidler.

Seidler, who was born in London but later moved to the United States, said: "This is a nice way to come home."

The writer, who overcame a speech impediment in his childhood, said: "For a stutterer, for a stammerer, to be heard is a wonderful thing."

There was disappointment for the film's director, Tom Hooper, who lost out to David Fincher for the Facebook film The Social Network.



Dancer

Natalie Portman won the Leading Actress award for her role as a ballet dancer in Black Swan.

The film's director, Darren Aronofsky, accepted the award on her behalf, saying: "She is by far the most committed, dedicated, focused actor I have ever worked with."

The event ended with a standing ovation for veteran actor Christopher Lee. He accepted the Bafta Fellowship from Tim Burton, who described the 88-year-old as an "electrifying screen presence".

Lee, famous for his roles in dozens of horror films and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, thanked his "fellow thespians" and the Bafta committee.

He said: "This is a truly great honour, a great, great honour. Two things really make it so, the fact that this was voted to me by my peers and secondly that I received it from one of the great directors of our age."

hnews@herald.ie

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