King's Speech leads Oscar field with 12 nominations

  • @guyadams

After a confusing year, marked by uncertainty about both the financial and creative futures of their industry, Hollywood’s great and good must choose between the forces of tradition and modernity when they sit down to cast their votes for next month’s Academy Awards.

The Oscar nominations, announced today, set up an intriguing three-horse race. It pits two old-fashioned, well-made films – a costume drama, The King’s Speech, and a western called True Grit – against The Social Network, the biopic about the creation of Facebook.

Despite the important role of 3D movies in preventing box-office returns from falling into serious decline, they failed to make a significant impact on the shortlists. And although the independent film sector continues to struggle comercially, small and medium budget dramas dominated most of the key categories.

Leading the nominations for February 27th’s big night was The King’s Speech, the historical drama about King George VI and his speech therapist, Lionel Logue which opened in the UK last week. It was shortlisted for twelve gongs including Best Picture, a record for any British title.

The film’s star, Colin Firth, is now firm favourite for the Best Actor award, having picked up a raft of silverware so far this awards season. His colleagues Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush were picked in supporting categories, while a fourth home-grown talent, Tom Hooper, is in the running for Best Director.

A close second to The King’s Speech was the Cohen Brothers movie True Grit, based on the novel by Charles Portis. It picked-up ten nominations, including one in the Best Supporting Actress category for its young star Hailee Steinfeld, a previously unknown 14-year-old who plays Mattie Ross, a girl seeking revenge for the murder of her father.

Steinfeld hopes to become the third youngest winner of the Oscar, after Tatum O’Neal and Anna Paquin, who were 10 and 11 respectively when they won for Paper Moon and The Piano. Her personal fairytale began when she was cast in the challenging role days before filming was due to commence.

“She came along at the last possible minute,” True Grit’s producer, Scott Rudin, told The Independent yesterday. “We were two weeks from shutting down the movie, because we didn’t have the right girl to star in it. And then we met Hailee. She was brilliant from the day she set foot on set. I’m so thrilled for her.”

Mr Rudin is also behind the third big contender of this awards season: the Facebook film The Social Network. It dominated the Golden Globes, and got eight nominations yesterday, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, for writer Aaron Sorkin, and Best Director, for David Fincher.

“We now have a very open Oscar race, in which a lot of very good films have multiple nominations. So to me, the big ‘take away’ from today's nominations is that this has been a great year for intelligent drama; it’s been a really, really strong year for adult sophisticated movies.”

Other films with strong showings include The Fighter, about the boxer Micky Ward, which got seven nods including one for Christian Bale, who is odds-on favourite to win Best Supporting Actor, and Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky’s drama set in the world of ballet, which got five.

British director Danny Boyle’s 147 Hours, about Aaron Ralston, the hiker who cut off his own arm to escape from a climbing accident, meanwhile got six nods, Toy Story 3 got five (and will almost certainly win Best Animated Film), while The Kids Are All Right, a lesbian drama, is a contender in four categories.

Though the list was short on surprises, many observers were stunned by the decision to ignore Christopher Nolan, another Briton, in the Best Director category. His Inception, which has made more than $800m at the box office, got most of its eight nominations in technical categories.

A final point of interest, for fans of British film, involved the financing of The King’s Speech: it would never have been made had the producers not been able to secure a grant from the UK Film Council, the funding body which has just been controversially scrapped by the government.


Best motion picture of the year:

Black Swan (Fox Searchlight)

The Fighter (Paramount)

Inception (Warner Bros.)

The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features)

The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company)

127 Hours (Fox Searchlight)

The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing)

Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney)

True Grit (Paramount)

Winter's Bone (Roadside Attractions)

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Javier Bardem in "Biutiful" (Roadside Attractions)

Jeff Bridges in "True Grit" (Paramount)

Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network" (Sony Pictures Releasing)

Colin Firth in "The King's Speech" (The Weinstein Company)

James Franco in "127 Hours" (Fox Searchlight)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Christian Bale in "The Fighter" (Paramount)

John Hawkes in "Winter's Bone" (Roadside Attractions)

Jeremy Renner in "The Town" (Warner Bros.)

Mark Ruffalo in "The Kids Are All Right" (Focus Features)

Geoffrey Rush in "The King's Speech" (The Weinstein Company)

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Annette Bening in "The Kids Are All Right" (Focus Features)

Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole" (Lionsgate)

Jennifer Lawrence in "Winter's Bone" (Roadside Attractions)

Natalie Portman in "Black Swan" (Fox Searchlight)

Michelle Williams in "Blue Valentine" (The Weinstein Company)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Amy Adams in "The Fighter" (Paramount)

Helena Bonham Carter in "The King's Speech" (The Weinstein Company)

Melissa Leo in "The Fighter" (Paramount)

Hailee Steinfeld in "True Grit" (Paramount)

Jacki Weaver in "Animal Kingdom" (Sony Pictures Classics)

Best animated feature film of the year

How to Train Your Dragon (Paramount) Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois

The Illusionist (Sony Pictures Classics) Sylvain Chomet

Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) Lee Unkrich

Art Direction

Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney), Robert Stromberg (Production Design), Karen O'Hara (Set Decoration)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Warner Bros.), Stuart Craig (Production Design), Stephenie McMillan (Set Decoration)

Inception (Warner Bros.), Guy Hendrix Dyas (Production Design), Larry Dias and Doug Mowat (Set Decoration)

The King's Speech (Paramount), Eve Stewart (Production Design), Judy Farr (Set Decoration)

True Grit (Paramount), Jess Gonchor (Production Design), Nancy Haigh (Set Decoration)

Achievement in Cinematography

Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Matthew Libatique

Inception (Warner Bros.) Wally Pfister

The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company) Danny Cohen

The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Jeff Cronenweth

True Grit (Paramount) Roger Deakins

Achievement in costume design

Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) Colleen Atwood

I Am Love (Magnolia Pictures) Antonella Cannarozzi

The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company) Jenny Beavan

The Tempest (Miramax) Sandy Powell

True Grit (Paramount) Mary Zophres

Achievement in directing

Black Swan (Fox Searchlight), Darren Aronofsky

The Fighter (Paramount), David O. Russell

The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company), Tom Hooper

The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing), David Fincher

True Grit (Paramount), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Best Documentary Feature

Exit through the Gift Shop (Producers Distribution Agency) Banksy and Jaimie D'Cruz A Paranoid Pictures Production

Gasland Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic A Gasland Production

Inside Job (Sony Pictures Classics) Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs A Representational Pictures Production

Restrepo (National Geographic Entertainment) Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger An Outpost Films Production

Waste Land Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley (Arthouse Films) An Almega Projects Production

Best documentary short subject

Killing in the Name Nominees to be determined A Moxie Firecracker Films Production

Poster Girl Nominees to be determined A Portrayal Films Production

Strangers No More Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon A Simon & Goodman Picture Company Production

Sun Come Up Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger A Sun Come Up Production

The Warriors of Qiugang Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon A Thomas Lennon Films Production

Achievement in film editing

Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Andrew Weisblum

The Fighter Paramount Pamela Martin

The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company) Tariq Anwar

127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) Jon Harris

The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

Best foreign language film of the year

Biutiful Mexico

Dogtooth Greece

In a Better World Denmark

Incendies Canada

Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi) Algeria

Achievement in makeup

Barney's Version (Sony Pictures Classics) Adrien Morot

The Way Back (Newmarket Films in association with Wrekin Hill Entertainment and Image Entertainment) Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng

The Wolfman (Universal) Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

How to Train Your Dragon (Paramount) John Powell

Inception (Warner Bros.) Hans Zimmer

The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company) Alexandre Desplat

127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) A.R. Rahman

The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

Coming Home from Country Strong (Sony Pictures Releasing (Screen Gems)) Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey

I See the Light from Tangled (Walt Disney) Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater

If I Rise from 127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong

We Belong Together from Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

Best animated short film

Day & Night (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production Teddy Newton

The Gruffalo A Magic Light Pictures Production Jakob Schuh and Max Lang

Let's Pollute A Geefwee Boedoe Production Geefwee Boedoe

The Lost Thing (Nick Batzias for Madman Entertainment) A Passion Pictures Australia Production Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann

Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary) A Sacrebleu Production Bastien Dubois

Best live action short film

The Confession (National Film and Television School) A National Film and Television School Production Tanel Toom

The Crush (Network Ireland Television) A Purdy Pictures Production Michael Creagh

God of Love A Luke Matheny Production Luke Matheny

Na Wewe (Premium Films) A CUT! Production Ivan Goldschmidt

Wish 143 A Swing and Shift Films/Union Pictures Production Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite

Achievement in sound editing

Inception (Warner Bros.) Richard King

Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) Tom Myers and Michael Silvers

Tron: Legacy (Walt Disney) Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague

True Grit (Paramount) Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey

Unstoppable (20th Century Fox) Mark P. Stoeckinger

Achievement in sound mixing

Inception (Warner Bros.) Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick

The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company) Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley

Salt (Sony Pictures Releasing) Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin

The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten

True Grit (Paramount) Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland

Achievement in visual effects

Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Warner Bros.) Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi

Hereafter (Warner Bros.) Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojanski and Joe Farrell

Inception (Warner Bros.) Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb

Iron Man 2 (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment, Distributed by Paramount) Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick

Adapted screenplay

127 Hours (Fox Searchlight), Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy

The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing), Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin

Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Michael Arndt. Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich

True Grit (Paramount), Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Winter's Bone (Roadside Attractions), Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

Original screenplay

Another Year (Sony Pictures Classics), Written by Mike Leigh

The Fighter (Paramount), Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson. Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson

Inception (Warner Bros.), Written by Christopher Nolan

The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features), Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg

The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company), Screenplay by David Seidler