London: “The King’s Speech”, in which Colin Firth plays stammering King George VI, is the bookmakers’ favourite to be crowned best film at Britain’s top movie accolades the BAFTA awards on Sunday.
Firth is also tipped by betting firm William Hill to scoop the best actor category and Tom Hooper the best director prize.
“Colin Firth has equalled the shortest ever BAFTA price which had been held by Helen Mirren. It has been one way traffic for The King’s Speech and we fully expect to be paying out a record sum,” said Hill’s spokesman Rupert Adams.
The royal biopic leads the field with 14 BAFTA nominations, ahead of ballet drama “Black Swan” which garnered 12 and “Inception”, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, with nine.
Climbing story “127 Hours” and Western remake “True Grit” earned eight apiece, while “The Social Network,” which tells the tale of the founding of the Facebook website, won six nominations.
The outcome of the BAFTAs will be followed closely, with the awards season in full swing, but they have only a patchy record in identifying future Oscar winners.
BAFTA voters have tended to favour home-made productions, as have British gamblers, partly explaining the overwhelming betting odds in favour of The King’s Speech.
Firth is up against Spain’s Javier Bardem (Biutiful), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) and James Franco (127 Hours) for best actor.
His co-stars in The King’s Speech—Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush—were nominated for best supporting actress and actor, respectively.
Natalie Portman is contesting the best actress award, with both Annette Bening and Julianne Moore nominated for lesbian family drama “The Kids Are All Right”.
Pete Postlethwaite, the Oscar-nominated actor who died earlier this year, received a posthumous supporting actor nomination for his performance in “The Town”.
Following are the nominees in the main categories:
Best film: Black Swan; Inception; The King’s Speech; The Social Network; True Grit
Best director: Danny Boyle/127 Hours; Darren Aronofsky/Black Swan; Christopher Nolan/Inception; Tom Hooper/The King’s Speech; David Fincher/The Social Network
Foreign language film: Biutiful; The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo; I Am Love; Of Gods and Men; The Secret in their Eyes
Leading actor: Javier Bardem/Biutiful; Jeff Bridges/True Grit; Jesse Eisenberg/The Social Network; Colin Firth/The King’s Speech; James Franco/127 Hours
Leading actress: Annette Bening/The Kids Are All Right; Julianne Moore/The Kids Are All Right; Natalie Portman/Black Swan; Noomi Rapace/The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Hailee Steinfeld/True Grit.