The chances of a Colin Firth Oscar acceptance speech were high. In fact, if there was no Colin Firth Oscar acceptance speech, it would be among the greatest upsets of all time. Although some may have preferred Javier Bardem, Jesse Eisenberg or James Franco to win, the whole world knew they wouldn’t. Since The King’s Speech was clearly on its way to a Best Picture triumph by this point, having its heavily favored lead actor snubbed was impossible. So even though his victory was inevitable, Firth still showed he was excited and nervous enough to dance it out.
Right after Tom Hooper upset David Fincher for Best Director, it was clear that The King’s Speech was set to be the big winner. Even before it emerged as the Best Picture favorite, however, its lead had been steamrolling through the season.
As such, the acceptance speech was the last of dozens that he had given for months. But with this final one, he immediately joked that his career had probably peaked. He may indeed never have this kind of overwhelming success again, although he has been nominated twice in a row now.
Although everyone likely told him that he would win this award for months, it appeared to make him no less overwhelmed. In fact, he confessed that “stirrings” in his upper abdominals were threatening to turn into “dance moves.”
Ultimately, Firth didn’t dance during his acceptance speech, since he knew the stirrings would be “extremely problematic.” As such, Cuba Gooding Jr’s dancing in 1997 and Jack Palance’s one-armed pushups in 1992 would not have company.
Yet if anyone had earned the right to cut loose, it was the preordained Best Actor winner. He had been hailed since September for playing King George VI, in all his stammers, and ultimately propelled The King’s Speech to its Best Picture win. Even before he came up, screenwriter David Seidler and director Tom Hooper were honored themselves.
While the acceptance speech was considered inevitable, Seidler, Hooper and the movie took harder routes to get there. But even though The King’s Speech was counted out at a few points, no one doubted that the king himself would be crowned. Many critics thought Firth should have beaten Jeff Bridges last year for A Single Man,yet he got Bridges back this time around.
In addition, Firth’s acceptance speech was also honored as one of the night’s best displays. It went alongside Melissa Leo’s f-bomb, Hooper thanking his mother for bringing The King’s Speech to his attention, and Inside Job director Charles Ferguson criticizing a lack of jail time for financial executives. They all resisted the urge to dance their excitement out, but it was a bit harder for the Best Actor.
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