by Howard Burns, published on February 27, 2011|
The Kings Speech, Tom Hoopers period piece about Britains King George VI and the unflinching speech therapist who helps him overcome a debilitating stammer, was loud and clear the big winner at the 83rd Academy Awards, taking home four statuettes on Sunday night, including honors for Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, Direction and Screenplay (Original).
With 12 nominations overall, The Kings Speech entered the evening as the favorite to take best picture after overcoming the early awards-season momentum enjoyed by David Finchers The Social Network.
Colin Firth received the top acting nod, his first, after having been nominated last year for A Single Man. Firth led a field that included Jeff Bridges, last years best-actor winner for Crazy Heart and a nominee for a second consecutive year as well for True Grit.
Also winning for the first time was Hooper in the hotly contested directing category. The Kings Speechs run on Oscar gold began when David Seidler won in the writing category for original screenplay. It was the first Oscar for the 73-year-old Seidler, the oldest writer to ever win the award.
Natalie Portman was chosen as the top actress in a lead role for her performance in Black Swan as a ballerina whose sanity is put to the test in Darren Aronofskys psychological thriller.
A celebration not just of 2010′s top films but of the history of the Oscars, the award for Actress in a Supporting Role was presented by arguably the greatest living actor, 94-year-old Kirk Douglas, to Melissa Leo for her role as Alice Ward, the no-nonsense mother of fighter Micky Ward and his half-brother/trainer Dicky Ecklund in The Fighter.
Christian Bale helped The Fighter sweep the supporting acting categories by being honored for his portrayal of Ecklund, who was in attendance at Sundays ceremony. It was Bales first Oscar win.
The winner of four Emmy Awards for his work on televisions The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin was awarded his first Oscar for The Social Network and his adaptation of Ben Mezrichs book The Accidental Billionaires.
Susanne Biers In a Better World became the third film from Denmark to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. It received the same honor at last months Golden Globe Awards.
Toy Story 3, also a nominee for Best Picture, won the Academy Award as Best Animated Feature Film for director Lee Unkrich. Meanwhile, Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann won their first Oscars for the animated short The Lost Thing.
While falling short in the Best Picture race, Christopher Nolans Inception nevertheless enjoyed a successful Oscar night. After four nominations, cinematographer Wally Pfister won his first Academy Award for his work on the thriller, which also was honored in the Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects categories.
Inside Job, Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs cutting examination of the financial meltdown of 2008, was the winner of Oscar in the Documentary (Feature) category. Ferguson noted in his acceptance speech that not one of the bank officials involved in the horrific crisis has gone to jail more than two years after the crash of the stock market.
Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross were feted for their original score for The Social Network, while 20-time nominee Randy Newman won just his second Oscar for We Belong Together, his original song from Toy Story 3.
Alice in Wonderland started off the evenings procession of winners by taking the Oscar for art direction. Honored were production designer Robert Stromberg and set decorator Karen OHara. Colleen Atwood, the films costume designer, also took home an award.
The 83rd Academy Awards were hosted by actors Anne Hathaway and James Franco from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.
A complete list of winners follows.
Actor in a Leading Role
Colin Firth in The Kings Speech
Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale in The Fighter
Actress in a Leading Role
Natalie Portman in Black Swan
Actress in a Supporting Role
Melissa Leo in The Fighter
Animated Feature Film
Toy Story 3 Lee Unkrich
Alice in Wonderland
Production Design: Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Karen OHara
Inception Wally Pfister
Alice in Wonderland Colleen Atwood
The Kings Speech Tom Hooper
Inside Job Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
Documentary (Short Subject)
Strangers No More Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
The Social Network Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter
Foreign Language Film
In a Better World Denmark
The Wolfman Rick Baker and Dave Elsey
Music (Original Score)
The Social Network Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
Music (Original Song)
We Belong Together from Toy Story 3″ Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
The Kings Speech Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
Short Film (Animated)
The Lost Thing Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
Short Film (Live Action)
God of Love Luke Matheny
Inception Richard King
Inception Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick
Inception Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
The Social Network Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
Writing (Original Screenplay)
The Kings Speech Screenplay by David Seidler