Firth grabs best actor BAFTA to fuel Oscar hopes
British actor Colin Firth Sunday won the Best Actor BAFTA for his role as the stammering monarch in the "The King's Speech", paving the way for possible Oscar success at the end of this month.
Hollywood A-listers Samuel L. Jackson and Mickey Rourke watched on as Firth beat off competition from Javier Bardem, Jeff Bridges, Jesse Eisenberg and James Franco to land the coveted award.
Firth has now claimed the impressive double of BAFTA and Golden Globe for his portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II's father, but will have to wait two weeks to find out if he can complete the set with the biggest prize in showbusiness.
The 50-year-old actor used his speech to reveal the circumstances of his first meeting with director Tom Hooper.
"I had to postpone a routine but somewhat uncomfortable medical examination," Firth recalled.
"I am happy to report that the meeting was rather less uncomfortable than the exam, but as time went on it became clear that Tom's working methods were just as thorough and invasive as my doctor's.
"But when you see the results you're grateful, so I am thankful as I am to my doctor," the "Bridget Jones's Diary" actor added.
Helena Bonham Carter earlier won best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of the Queen's mother and Geoffrey Rush claimed the best Supporting Actor gong for his role as the King's speech therapist.
The dramatisation of the true-life relationship between king George VI and his voice coach is among the favourites to collect the Best Picture award at the Oscars on February 27.
The queen was reported to have given the film a royal seal approval, an endorsement which Firth admitted meant "a very great deal."
US actress Natalie Portman was earlier named Best Actress for her role in "Black Swan".
© 2011 AFP