Entertainment & Arts

Colin Firth leads British charge at Academy Awards

Colin Firth with Oscar statuette
Firth was nominated last year for A Single Man

British hopes of Oscar glory have been boosted by Colin Firth's widely-tipped inclusion in the best actor category.

Actress Helena Bonham Carter is also shortlisted for her supporting role in period drama The King's Speech, while Tom Hooper gets a best director nod.

Welsh-born actor Christian Bale is also in contention, having secured a best supporting actor nod for The Fighter.

Elsewhere Mike Leigh gets a surprise nomination in the original screenplay category for Another Year.

The UK's Christopher Nolan is also nominated in this category for Inception, as is David Seidler - the British-American writer of The King's Speech.

Tanya Seghatchian, of the UK Film Council, which part-funded The King's Speech, said it was the organisation's highest- grossing film at the British box office.

She added that it had "captured the imagination of British audiences and further strengthened the global reputation of our home-grown film talent".

Boyle and writer Simon Beaufoy get an adapted screenplay nod for 127 Hours, while The Illusionist - a UK-French co-production - is up for best animated feature.

Mike Leigh
Leigh's nomination for best original screenplay is his seventh Oscar nod

British cinematographer Roger Deakins gets his ninth Oscar nomination for True Grit. The Devon-born veteran has yet to win the award.

His compatriot Danny Cohen is also up for best cinematography for his atmospheric work on The King's Speech.

The best costume design category sees Britain's Colleen Atwood, Jenny Beaven and Sandy Powell all in contention, for Alice in Wonderland, The King's Speech and The Tempest respectively.

The King's Speech also gets a best editing citation for Tariq Anwar, the Indian-born British editor who worked for the BBC before moving into films.

The best documentary prize sees UK graffiti artist Banksy nominated for his anarchic film Exit Through the Gift Shop.

Also shortlisted in this category is Waste Land, Lucy Walker's film about a Brazilian artist making works from discarded materials in Rio.

British singer Dido and her brother, Rollo Armstrong, get a best song nod for If I Rise, a track featured in 127 Hours.

Elsewhere The Gruffalo, a BBC co-production based on Julia Donaldson's popular children's book, gets a nomination for best animated short.

Dido
Dido is featured in the best song category for her 127 Hours track

Bonham Carter narrated the half-hour cartoon, which also featured vocal contributions from her Harry Potter co-stars John Hurt and Robbie Coltrane.

Stuart Craig, production designer on the most recent Potter film, gets a nomination himself in the art direction category.

Two of the candidates in the best live-action short category - The Confession and Wish 143 - hail from the UK, while a third - The Crush - comes from Ireland.

Wish 143, directed by Ian Barnes, was produced as part of BBC Film Network's BBC Drama Shorts 2009 commission.

And the British technical team who devised Inception's startling imagery are shortlisted for the visual effects award.

Less fortunate are Andrew Garfield, the Anglo-American Social Network star who misses out on a nomination for best supporting actor, and Another Year's Lesley Manville.

Miranda Richardson can also consider herself unlucky to be left out of the best supporting actress hopefuls for her role as Barbara Castle in Made in Dagenham.

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