Moviegoers in New York and Los Angeles are going to get a late Thanksgiving treat on Friday as Tom Hooper's "The King's Speech" is finally coming to theaters.  Ever since it debuted at Telluride in September, "Speech" has been the buzz of awards pundits and the industry.  Not only is the historical drama a prime contender for a number of key Academy Awards categories including best picture, best actor (Colin Firth), best supporting actor (Geoffrey Rush) and best director (Hooper), but it's also The Weinstein Company's biggest potential hit since "Inglourious Basterds" in the summer of 2009.

What's gone unrecognized over the past few months is that beyond its critical kudos, "Speech" won the audience award at both the Toronto and Mill Valley Film Festivals.  It's a good sign the picture will play in theaters for some time and not just because it's going to be a consistent player in the critic's groups and awards programs over the next few months.  "Speech" is a crowd pleaser and should be one of those films moviegoers who only go to their local theater two-three times a year trot out to see.  At least, that's what the Weinsteins are keeping their fingers crossed for.

One of the performances in "Speech" that has grown in notoriety since the film's debut is the subtle and moving work of Helena Bonham Carter as the late Queen Mother.  The wife of Firth's King George VI, Carter's character is in the difficult position of trying to support her husband's battle with his speech impediment but also secretly look for a legitimate way to correct it.  In this exclusive photo below, Carter's character is reacting to George's arduous attempt to give the closing ceremony address at a sporting event live on the radio.  You can easily see the sympathy and encouragement she's trying to give him at this moment.  For Carter, "Speech" is her best shot for an Oscar nomination since she 1998 when she was recognized for "Wings of the Dove" and many believe she's the frontrunner to win this time around.  Considering her wide range of impressive performances over the decade plus since, she certainly deserves it.

To watch an interview with Colin Firth about his latest acclaimed turn, click here.

"The King's Speech" opens in select theaters on Friday. 

Helena Bonham Carter in Tom Hopper's THE KING'S SPEECH

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