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The King’s Speech may speak loud and clear with some film critics who have lauded the true tale as a frontrunner in this year’s Oscars race for top film, but its chances may be silenced by 83 years of Academy Awards history. The taste-making organization has yet to list a film centering on a British ruler as a best picture winner.
There have been instances in which films featuring actors in supporting roles as British royalty have nabbed Oscars for best picture (most recently 1998’s Shakespeare in Love), and other times when thespians starring as British monarchs have taken home coveted golden statues for best actor or actress (such as Helen Mirren in 2006’s The Queen), the Associated Press points out. But a best picture nod still remains out of reach — unless The King’s Speech breaks the arcane record on Sunday.
Regardless of whether or not that happens, the biographical picture about King George VI is expected to at least take top honors for best actor for Colin Firth. That in itself would be a major feat considering that throughout Oscar’s history, only four performers out of a total of 17 nominees have earned a best actor or actress award for playing British royalty.
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