The royal drama, about stuttering British monarch George VI, led the competition with 12 nominations going into this year's (11) Oscars, and edged out the likes of Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception and The Social Network to claim the most coveted title of the night.
Firth was crowned Best Actor in a Leading Role, emerging triumphant over Javier Bardem (Biutiful), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) and James Franco (127 Hours).
Filmmaker Tom Hooper also basked in Oscar glory as he was hailed Best Director, beating Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), David O. Russell (The Fighter), David Fincher (The Social Network) and Joel and Ethan Coen (True Grit).
Pregnant Natalie Portman fought back tears as she walked away with Best Actress in a Leading Role for her portrayal of a tormented ballet dancer in Black Swan, ahead of Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right), Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone) and Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine).
She gave special thanks to her Black Swan choreographer and fiance Benjamin Millepied, telling the audience, "So many people helped me prepare for this role... my beautiful love, Benjamin Millepied who choreographed the film and has now given me the most important role of my life."
It was also a golden night for The Fighter, about tough Boston, Massachusetts boxing legends Mickey Ward and Dickie Eklund, as Christian Bale and Melissa Leo dominated the Best Supporting categories.
Meanwhile, moviemaker Francis Ford Coppola, actor Eli Wallach and historian Kevin Brownlow were given a standing ovation in recognition of the lifetime achievement honours they received at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Governors Awards in November (10). Fellow honouree Jean-Luc Godard did not attend the ceremony.
Oscars co-hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco opened the 2011 Academy Awards with a hilarious spoof poking fun at the Best Picture nominees, while 2010 presenter Alec Baldwin and Morgan Freeman also made surprise appearances in the skit.
Gwyneth Paltrow, Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi, Randy Newman, and Florence Welch and A.R. Rahman provided the music for the night as they performed the tracks nominated for Best Original Song.
And Celine Dion took to the Kodak Theatre stage in Los Angeles to sing Smile during the ceremony's annual In Memorium segment, remembering the stars lost in the past 12 months, including Tony Curtis, Leslie Nielsen, Dennis Hopper, Pete Postlethwaite and Gloria Stuart.
The complete list of winners at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards is as follows:
The King's Speech
Best Actor in a Leading Role:
Colin Firth, The King's Speech
Best Actress in a Leading Role:
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Actor in a Supporting Role:
Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Actress in a Supporting Role:
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
Best Screenplay - Adapted:
Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Best Screenplay - Original:
David Seidler, The King's Speech
Best Foreign Language Film:
In a Better World (Denmark)
Best Animated Feature:
Toy Story 3
Best Documentary (Feature):
Best Art Direction:
Robert Stromberg and Karen O'Hara, Alice In Wonderland
Wally Pfister, Inception
Best Sound Mixing:
Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick, Inception
Best Sound Editing:
Richard King, Inception
Best Original Score:
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network
Best Original Song:
We Belong Together from Toy Story 3, Randy Newman
Colleen Atwood, Alice in Wonderland
Best Documentary (Short Subject):
Strangers No More
Best Film Editing:
The Social Network
Best Animated Short Film:
The Lost Thing
Best Live Action Short Film:
God of Love
Best Visual Effects:
Here's a complete list of winners for this year's SAG Awards...
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Winner!
The Station Agent
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl - Winner!
Peter Dinklage, The Station Agent
Ben Kingsley, House of Sand and Fog
Bill Murray, Lost In Translation
Sean Penn, Mystic River
Film: Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Patricia Clarkson, The Station Agent
Diane Keaton, Something's Gotta Give
Charlize Theron, Monster - Winner!
Naomi Watts, 21 Grams
Evan Rachel Wood, Thirteen
TV: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Al Pacino, Angels in America - Winner!
Justin Kirk, Angels in America
Paul Newman, Our Town
Forest Whitaker, Deacons for Defense
Jeffrey Wright, Angels in America
TV: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Sex and the City, HBO - Winner!
Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS
Will & Grace, NBC
TV: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Tony Shalhoub, Monk - Winner!
Peter Boyle, Everybody Loves Raymond
Brad Garrett, Everybody Loves Raymond
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace
Ray Romano, Everybody Loves Raymond
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Megan Mullally, Will & Grace - Winner!
Patricia Heaton, Everybody Loves Raymond
Lisa Kudrow, Friends
Debra Messing, Will & Grace
Doris Roberts, Everybody Loves Raymond
TV: Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Meryl Streep, Angels in America - Winner!
Anne Bancroft, Tennessee Williams' The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone
Helen Mirren, Tennessee Williams' The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone
Mary-Louise Parker, Angels in America
Emma Thompson, Angels in America
TV: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Six Feet Under, HBO - Winner!
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS
Law & Order, NBC
The West Wing, NBC
Without a Trace, CBS
TV: Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Frances Conroy, Six Feet Under - Winner!
Stockard Channing, The West Wing
Tyne Daly, Judging Amy
Jennifer Garner, Alias
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
Allison Janney, The West Wing
TV: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Kiefer Sutherland, 24 - Winner!
Peter Krause, Six Feet Under
Anthony LaPaglia, Without a Trace
Martin Sheen, The West Wing
Treat Williams, Everwood
Film: Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain - Winner!
Maria Bello, The Cooler
Keisha Castle-Hughes, Whale Rider
Patricia Clarkson, Pieces of April
Holly Hunter, Thirteen
Film: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Tim Robbins, Mystic River - Winner!
Alec Baldwin, The Cooler
Chris Cooper, Seabiscuit
Benicio Del Toro, 21 Grams
Ken Watanabe, The Last Samurai
Screen Actors Guild Awards 40th Annual Life Achievement Award
Tune in to Hollywood.com next Sunday, Feb. 29, 2004, for complete Academy Awards coverage.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone raked in a record breaking $5 million in limited Sunday previews, Variety reports. Warner Bros. claims the Sunday sneaks were the highest single-day grosses in U.K history. The movie opens in the U.K. and North America Nov.16. Meanwhile, a special screening of Harry Potter on Sunday in Washington was greeted by protesters from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The group opposes Coca-Cola's $150 million partnership with Warner Bros., accusing the soft drink giant of peddling junk food to children. The deal, signed in February, makes Coca-Cola the sole global marketing partner for Harry Potter.
R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck is set to appear in court Monday for an alleged air rage incident on a British Airways flight from Seattle to London in April, Reuters reports. Buck has been charged with common assault on cabin crew, criminal damage, being drunk on an aircraft and disobeying an aircraft captain. The trial is expected to last five days.
Fleetwood Mac is back in the studio to record its first album since its 1997 reunion. The group, however, will be one member short. Singer/keyboardist Christine McVie has reportedly retired from rock 'n' roll and is living in an English castle. The four-piece band will include drummer Fleetwood, bass player John McVie, and songwriters Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Fleetwood has denied rumors that Sheryl Crow will help out, Reuters reports.
Brian Dennehy will portray former Indiana Hoosiers coach Bob Knight in a made-for-TV movie, The Associated Press reports. The movie, based on John Feinstein's A Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers, will air on ESPN March 10.
Jay Leno led the 18th annual charity Love Ride on Sunday in Glendale, Calif. The 50-mile ride, followed by a barbecue and a concert, is expected to have raised $1 million for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and other charities. According to AP, riders included X-Files star Robert Patrick, Ian Ziering of Beverly Hills 90210 and daredevil Robbie Knievel.
Clive Barker (Hellraiser) and Todd McFarlane (Spawn) have signed a deal with Universal Pictures to produce a picture based on Barker's action figures. McFarlane Toys marketed the six action figures, Clive Barker's Tortured Souls-Animae Damnatae, in limited numbers last July and promptly sold out, Variety reports.
Forest Whitaker is in talks with Twentieth Century Fox to direct aFat Albert live-action picture, Variety reports. The feature film is based on Bill Cosby's cartoon Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids that ran on CBS for more than a decade. The film is slated for a 2003 summer release.
Paul Newman will reprise his role as Battler in the teleplay The World of Nick Adams, based on Ernest Hemmingway's collection of short stories. According to Variety, the teleplay will also feature Alec Baldwin, Matt Damon, Brian Dennehy, Morgan Freeman, Julia Roberts and Gwyneth Paltrow and will be presented at Avey Fisher Hall in New York on Nov. 19.
Sylvester Stallone is working on a new script for a fourth Rambo movie, PageSix.com reports. The story would pit Rambo against leaders of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Rambo IV could be ready by next year.
A set of old teeth belonging to Jack Nicholson will be auctioned off on the British TV show Auction World on Dec. 10, the BBC reports. Nicholson is reportedly upset that his teeth are to be sold this way and plans on buying the back. The set consists of a mix of small baby teeth and adult molars.