Jeff Bridges, it seemed to me, was sure to win the Academy Award for best actor this year for his performance as Rooster Cogburn in “True Grit.” But that was before I saw “The King’s Speech” with Colin Firth as King George VI.
I saw “The King’s Speech” last night, and Firth is a worthy contender. Geoffrey Rush also is compelling as Lionel Logue, the king’s speech therapist. Meanwhile, the Golden Globe award for best actor last night went to Firth.
“The King’s Speech” is not only a well-told story. For people like me, it is the first good look at the king who led Britain through World War II but for some reason is omitted from many history books. (I remember just one sickly picture of him, looking like a dying smoker.)
The 1939 speech. King George VI was monarch from 1936, when his more famous brother King Edward VIII abdicated to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson, until George VI’s death of lung cancer in 1952, when his daughter Elizabeth became the queen.
The movie lets us see how difficult it was for him to speak publicly, and in particular, how difficult it was for him to speak on live radio, Sept. 3, 1939, just as Britain entered the war with Germany.
One Oscar already has been awarded for the Rooster Cogburn part. For that reason and for a solid performance in “The King’s Speech,” this year’s best actor Oscar is likely to go to Colin Firth.