I don’t normally tune in to the Academy Awards, but did this year because I had more than a passing interest in The King’s Speech. Besides, nothing else was on.
Like Bridget Jones’s Diary author Helen Fielding (and tons of others), I’d had a thing for British actor Colin Firth since he stole the show in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries. He played arrogant aristocrat Fitzwilliam Darcy to perfection. His smoldering chemistry with defiant commoner Elizabeth Bennet (fiery Jennifer Ehle) went on for weeks until they, well, dropped their pride and prejudice, and professed their love.
I like to think Jane Austen would agree that this BBC version of her novel came closest to hitting the bull’s-eye. It’s sexy and intelligent. And Firth was a babe, plain and simple.
From then on, I made it a point to see just about any movie he was in, including (I’m embarrassed to say) Mamma Mia! And his acclaimed turn in A Single Man. It was nice to see a wider range (more than game to sing and dance in the former; playing a professor despondent over the loss of his gay partner in the latter). And I thought he was fabulous in Single Man, despite its over-the-top direction.
After reading all the glowing reviews, I expected nothing short of greatness from his portrayal of the stuttering, cold British King George VI in The King’s Speech. Though Firth did a good job, his performance didn’t move me as much as it should. It was Australian actor Geoffrey Rush, playing a spirited mensch of a speech therapist, who helped transform the monarch and carried the movie.
As everybody knows by now, both were nominated for Academy Awards; Firth for best actor and Rush for best supporting actor. Firth took home the prize; Rush didn’t.
What’s up with that, Oscar?