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» 'The King's Speech' Crowned Oscar's Best Picture; Natalie Portman and Colin Firth Win Top Acting Honors

published on January 28, 2011

'The King's Speech' was crowned Best Picture of the Year at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards Sunday night in Hollywood, beating out nine other nominees: 'Black Swan,' 'The Fighter,' 'Inception,' 'The Kids Are All Right,' '127 Hours,' 'The Social Network,' 'Toy Story 3,' 'True Grit' and 'Winter's Bone.' That film's king, Colin Firth, was named Best Actor, while 'Black Swan' princess Natalie Portman was named Best Actress.

Shepherding a disjointed "History of Hollywood 101" theme throughout the lengthy show, genial co-hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco kept the proceedings pleasant, light and without bite -- the polar opposite of Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais' acerbic stint (although a Charlie Sheen joke did make it into the proceedings) -- and poked fun at their "young and hip" casting appeal "to a younger demographic."

Get the complete list of winners HERE.

The Best Thespians

Slightly stunned, Firth was named Best Actor for his portrayal of stammering King George VI of Britain in 'The King's Speech,' besting fellow nominees Javier Bardem, Jeff Bridges, Jesse Eisenberg and James Franco. "I have a feeling my career's just peaked," joked Firth, whose thanks extended to his co-stars, "whose virtuosity made it very difficult for me to be as bad as I intended to be," as well as his wife Livia, for enduring his "fleeting delusions of royalty."

A pregnant Portman danced to the stage to cradle her Best Actress statuette for her riveting performance as a dancer on the edge in 'Black Swan,' out-pirouetting Annette Bening, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lawrence and Michelle Williams. "I truly, sincerely wish the prize was to get to work with my fellow nominees," said Natalie. Brought to tears when she thanked her parents for "showing me every day to be a good human being by example," she also singled out her fiance and "beautiful love, Benjamin Millepied, who has now given me my most important role in life."

The Supporting Players

'The Fighter' came out swinging in the Best Supporting Actor categories, with both Christian Bale and Melissa Leo knocking out the competition. Bale bested fellow nominees John Hawkes, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo and Geoffrey Rush. Declaring, "Bloody hell -- what a room full of talented and inspirational people, and what the hell am I doing here?" Bale gave a shout-out to Dicky Ecklund, the real-life pugilist he portrayed, telling the audience, "He's had a wonderful story, and I can't wait to see the next chapter," then went on to promote Dicky as a trainer and even gave out his web address. Before departing the stage, Bale got a bit choked up in thanking his wife, "my mast through our storms of life," and their daughter.

Leo bested her 'Fighter' co-star Amy Adams in addition to Helena Bonham Carter, Hailee Steinfeld and Jacki Weaver for the Best Supporting Actress statuette. Asking legendary presenter Kirk Douglas, "Will you pinch me?" Leo basked in the moment, declared, "I'm shakin' in my boots here," then accidentally dropped the F-bomb before she thanked the real-life 'Fighter' clan matron Alice Ward.

Other Awards of the Night

Underdog contender 'The Social Network' still had some Academy fans, picking up Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing and Best Original Score, while 'The King's Speech' also added Best Director and Best Original Screenplay to its crown. 'Inside Job' was named Best Documentary; Denmark's 'In A Better World' was named Best Foreign Language Film; Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design went to 'Alice in Wonderland'; 'Inception' lived the dream with accolades for Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing; 'The Wolfman' snarled up the Best Makeup statuette; and while 'Toy Story 3' did not win Best Picture of the year, it picked up the Best Animated Feature statuette in addition to Randy Newman's Best Original Song, "We Belong Together."

Show Highlights

Fun and memorable moments of the night included the show-opening 'Inception' spoof, with Franco and Hathaway finding themselves inside the dream of former Oscar co-host Alec Baldwin, highlighted by Hathaway doing the "dance of the brown duck" alongside Franco in a revealing white leotard during their 'Black Swan' moment; Justin Timberlake jokingly outed himself as incognito 'Exit Through the Gift Shop' street artist Banksy; Kevin Spacey sang a few lines from 'Top Hat,' then introduced himself as "George Clooney"; Hathaway did a solo song-and-dance, putting down "Hugh Jackass" for turning down her offer to perform together -- and then Franco came out in drag, dressed as Marilyn Monroe, quipping, "The weird part is I got a text message from Charlie Sheen." Gwyneth Paltrow performed her "Coming Home" tune from 'Country Strong'; and more music and laughs came from edited scenes featuring big movies of the year (from 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' to 'Toy Story 3' and 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse') remixed in "Auto-Tune."

In Memoriam

And stars we lost this past year were remembered in tribute -- including Tony Curtis, Gloria Stewart, Leslie Nielsen, Pete Postlethwaite, Robert Culp, Lynn Redgrave, Anne Francis, Jill Clayburgh, Dennis Hopper, Blake Edwards, Kevin McCarthy and Lena Horne -- as Celine Dion sang an emotional rendition of the song "Smile."

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