By JESSICA SATHERLEY and LIZ THOMAS
Bafta winner: Helena Bonham Carter wins Best Supporting Actress and declared that she's so used to losing that it felt strange to win
The script was rejected by the BBC and Channel 4 but last night The King’s Speech stole the show at the Orange British Academy Film Awards.
It won best film and star Colin Firth took the accolade for best actor. There were cheers as he collected his award, which he dedicated to his wife Livia and their children.
Helena Bonham Carter also received a string of plaudits for her portrayal of the late Queen Mother. On accepting her best supporting actress accolade, she said: ‘I am thrilled. I think I should thank the Royal Family as they have done wonders for my career.’
She dedicated the award to her husband, American film director Tim Burton, hailing him as a ‘genius’, and also all ‘supporting wives all over the world’.
It is understood she and producers received a note from the Queen telling them she was ‘moved’ by the film and the 44-year-old’s portrayal of her mother.
Best actress went to Natalie Portman for her portrayal of the harrowing descent of a prima ballerina into psychosis in Black Swan, but the heavily pregnant star was unable to collect her award.
The King’s Speech, which cost £8million to make, was nominated for a record 14 Baftas but won seven, including outstanding British film and best supporting actor for Geoffrey Rush.
Gracious winner: Helena also gave her co-star Firth her praise, saying: 'King Colin you're deserving everything you're getting.'
Best Actor: Colin Firth picked up Best Actor for his role in The King's Speech, the film won seven awards and was nominated in 14 categories
This makes it the joint second most successful film in the history of the film awards, behind Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid and joint with Slumdog Millionaire.
The film has been an unexpected international hit, while Firth has received critical acclaim for his portrayal of King George VI in the run-up to the abdication crisis and his struggle to master a speech impediment.
He plays a man thrust into power and desperately trying to cope with a crippling stammer by working with speech therapist Lionel Logue, played by Rush.
Firth, 50, who was also named Bafta’s best actor last year for A Single Man, is the first star to achieve the feat since Rod Steiger won back-to-back Baftas for The Pawnbroker in 1967 and In The Heat Of The Night in 1968.
The film’s writer David Seidel, who had a stutter when he was a child, won the award for best original screenplay.
He told the star-packed audience at the Royal Opera House in London: ‘It is amazing that this little film with two men in a room has spoken to the world. Let me tell you that as a little boy who stuttered and stammered – to be heard is a wonderful thing.’
The film has already made £150million worldwide and is expected to become the most successful independent UK film yet.
But there was no award for its director, Tom Hooper. Instead the best directing honour went to David Fincher for The Social Network, about the creation of Facebook.
Emma Watson, looking stylish in a cream chiffon gown by Valentino, was among those with something to celebrate when the Harry Potter film franchise was honoured for its outstanding contribution to British cinema.
Stephen Fry, who presented the accolade, said: ‘The Harry Potter series has shown British film making in its best light.’
British director Christopher Nolan’s film Inception, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio, picked up awards for best sound, best production design and best special visual effects.
Actor Tom Hardy won the rising star award, beating Gemma Arterton and Andrew Garfield, while Sir Christopher Lee was awarded the prestigious Bafta fellowship.
Miss Bonham Carter admitted her surprise during her Bafta acceptance speech tonight, saying: 'I'm so used to losing it feels quite strange to win.
She went on to warn her children: 'It's not about the winning', and added, 'I think I should thank the Royal family frankly because they've done wonders for my career.'
Helena also gave her co-star Firth her praise, saying: 'King Colin you're deserving everything you're getting.'
Royal progress: Colin Firth arrives at the Orange British Academy Film Awards 2011 with his wife Livia Giuggioli, who he thanked while accepting his award for Best Actor
Mr Firth also thanked his voice coach Neil Swain and Tom Hooper, saying: 'He has everything to do with me standing here. Also my majestic mum and dad and Livia who deals with everything from kings to dancing queens. Thanks you very much.'
The King's Speech had been nominated for a whopping 14 awards and Helena looked every bit the star as she picked up her gong in a black Vivienne Westwood gown.
After making headlines at the Golden Globes when she arrived in miss-matched shoes, the star made sure to not make the worst dressed list again during the Baftas.
She admitted that she had behaved like 'an ostrich' the day after the Golden Globes in Los Angeles because she was so embarrassed, and said she hoped the rumours the Queen approved of the film were true.
The 44-year-old told E! Entertainment: 'I met her for three seconds, the Queen Mum, years ago when I was 18 and an embryonic actress on a Room with a View.
'I just hope I did her justice according to her daughter.'
The King's Speech also won awards for Original Screenplay by David Seidler, Outstanding British Film and Best Score for French film composer Alexandre Desplat, which was presented by Sir Paul McCartney.
Spot the difference: Sir Paul McCartney with daughter Mary and girlfriend Nancy Shevell arriving for the bash at London's Royal Opera House
The former Beatle was there was with 41-year-old daughter Mary and girlfriend Nancy Shevell, 50. And for fans watching the stars stroll up the Bafta red carpet, it was a case of spot the difference.
With their flowing dark hair, green eyes and flawless pale skin, Mary and Nancy could be confused for twins.
Christopher Nolan's Inception also made a big impression at the Baftas though, and picked up awards for Best Sound and Special Visual Effects.
Meanwhile The Social Network won Best Editing, David Fincher won Best Director and writer Aaron Sorkin won Adapted Screenplay.
Harry Potter winners: Emma Watson, JK Rowling and Rupert stood with their crew as they picked up the award for Best Contribution of British Cinema for the Harry Potter Films
British actress Gemma Arterton looked stunning in a black velvet gown, but she didn't manage to nab the Rising Star Award, instead that award went to Tom Hardy.
Meanwhile, Emma Watson, JK Rowling and Rupert stood with their crew as they picked up the award for Best Contribution of British Cinema for the Harry Potter Films, which they've created over the past decade.
Earlier in the night JK Rowling admitted that Emma Watson is 'like my daughter' and said that 'being involved in these films has been one of the best experiences of my life.'
Natalie Portman wasn't able to pick up her award for Best Actress in Black Swan as she is heavily pregnant, but director Darren Aronofsky kindly accepted it for her.
British actor Sir Christopher Lee, 88, was also awarded a Bafta Fellowship award tonight.
BAFTA Awards 2011 13th February Part 1
BAFTA Awards 2011 13th February Part 2
BAFTA Awards 2011 13th February Part 3
BAFTA Awards 2011 13th February Part 4
BAFTA Awards 2011 13th February Part 5
BAFTA Awards 2011 13th February Part 6
BAFTA Awards 2011 13th February Part 7
BAFTA Awards 2011 13th February Part 8
BAFTA Awards 2011 13th February Part 9
BAFTA Awards 2011 13th February Part 10
BAFTA Awards 2011 13th February Part 11
BAFTA Awards 2011 13th February Part 12
BAFTA Awards 2011 13th February Part 14
source: dailymail [endtext]