2011 Academy Awards | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

2011 Academy Awards

Best Picture – The King’s Speech Best Director – Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) Best Actor – Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) Best Actress – Natalie Portma...

Colin Firth

Best PictureThe King's Speech

Best Director – Tom Hooper (The King's Speech)

Best Actor – Colin Firth (The King's Speech)

Best Actress – Natalie Portman (Black Swan)

Best Supporting Actor – Christian Bale (The Fighter)

Best Supporting Actress – Melissa Leo (The Fighter)


The Big Shocks

•The King's Speech 4 – 3 The Social Network

It was expected that these two films would dominate the top awards in a closely fought competition, but with The Social Network emerging victorious. Everyone was talking about a 'BAFTA backlash' – the Americans getting their own back after a British-dominated BAFTAs. But the Academy awarded 3 top of the top prizes to King's with Social only achieving Best Editing, Adapted Screenplay and Original Score.

•Melissa Leo's F***ing Speech!

Not only did Leo win Best Supporting Actress, but also the honour of being the first person to say the F-word in an acceptance speech: 'When I watch Kate two years ago it looked so f*ing easy.' She also gains the dubious accolade of out-swearing Christian Bale.

•Tom Hooper

Not even BAFTA thought he did better than David Fincher (The Social Network), but bizarrely, The Academy did. One can only presume they were looking for a more polished film, one with some beautifully artistic shots, but without the dark palette of Social.

The Big Trends


This was the year of the adaptation. Half of the nominees for Best Picture were adapted from books or based on true stories. This year there were also more franchises and sequels than any other year. On balance, though, perhaps adapting a true story is a more honourable way to make a film than a sequel. If cinema-goers want to see something they already know, then an adapted story is the best way to make a good, but successful, film.

•Challenging Convention

This year's Oscar pack tended to challenge their characters and audiences in refreshing ways. From a man overcoming a debilitating impediment (The King's Speech)or a ballerina dealing with personal demons (Black Swan), to challenging prejudices with a lesbian couple (The Kids Are Alright) or building an entire film around a character cutting his own arm off (127 Hours), audiences have been made to think and feel this year, arguably more so than in 2010.

Written By Kate Ferris


4th March 2011 at 2:23 pm

Last Updated

3rd March 2011 at 2:47 pm