It's going to be another busy fall and winter for Colin Firth. After campaigning hard last year for his acclaimed work in "A Single Man," Firth is back in Oscar's cross hairs with another great turn in the upcoming drama "The King's Speech."
Speaking to Firth during the Toronto Film Festival was like catching someone after they'd finished the first quarter of a long marathon. The Brit had already received tremendous adulation at the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day weekend and only a few days later was the toast of the Great White North. But, perhaps taking last year's experience to heart, Firth was calm and cool and perhaps just a bit surprised "Speech" was on its way to becoming a major Oscar player.
As King George VI, Firth has the difficult task of conveying the unexpected monarch's speech impediment while not irritating moviegoers over the course of a 2-hour film. It's a credit to his performance that he pulls it off so wonderfully and subtly. In our short conversation we discussed that issue as well as the historical background of a ruler who is not very well known in America, even though he just happens to be the father of the current Queen Elizabeth II. You can watch the interview embedded in this post. For an in-depth rundown of all the other 2010 best actor Oscar contenders, click here.
"The King's Speech" opens in limited release on Nov. 26.
In other news…
- Speaking of "The King's Speech," Tom Hooper's Oscar contending drama won yet another award this week. "Speech" already made news by winning the Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, but now it can ad the Mill Valley Film Festival Audience Favorite World Cinema award to it's trophy case. Is a National Board of Review Best Picture win next?
- At one point, "Shutter Island" was expected to be a player in the 2009 Oscar race, but when Paramount Pictures moved Martin Scorsese's thriller to February of 2010 because of financial considerations at the company, that dream died. Now, after a stellar world wide gross and good, but certainly not great reviews, Paramount is rewarding Scorsese and star Leonardo DiCaprio with a legitimate awards season campaign this go around. First up? A two-day retrospective at the American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theater on Nov. 13 and 14 in Hollywood. The first day of the event will include a double feature of the duo's Oscar-winning "The Departed" and Oscar-nominated "The Aviator." A Q&A with DiCaprio in person and director Martin Scorsese via satellite from London will begin the second day's program which also features screenings of "The Aviator" and, of course, "Shutter Island." After that, expect DiCaprio to turn his attention toward campaigning for "Inception"…For more info on how to get tickets, click here.
- In Contention has an excellent write up on the rapidly disappearing award season run of Helen Mirren this year. After "The Debt" was removed from the release schedule, Mirren's chances rest with Julie Taylor's "The Tempest" and at this point she's facing long odds at landing another nomination. And no, the former best actress winner is not a supporting candidate for "Red" (although she's one of the two best things in that flick).
- Lastly, check out the new trailer for Sony Classics' "Made in Dangenham." Both Sally Hawkins and Miranda Richardson are legitimate players in the lead and supporting actress categories, but this preview lays on the schmaltz a little thick compared to the charm of the actual film. While the picture is certainly a drama, it's nowhere near as heavy or self-important as the trailer suggests. In any event, it's well worth seeing.