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Thursday, July 24, 2014         

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'King's Speech' challenging 'Social Network' for throne

By David Germain / Associated Press

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. » The British monarchy saga "The King's Speech" reigned at the Academy Awards with 12 nominations, including acting honors for Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush, positioning itself to challenge "The Social Network" for best picture.

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"The King's Speech" gained momentum against the Facebook drama "The Social Network," which dominated early Hollywood awards. Along with those two films, other best-picture nominees yesterday for the Feb. 27 Oscars were the psychosexual thriller "Black Swan"; the boxing drama "The Fighter"; the sci-fi blockbuster "Inception"; the lesbian-family tale "The Kids Are All Right"; the survival story "127 Hours"; the animated smash "Toy Story 3"; the Western "True Grit"; and the Ozarks crime thriller "Winter's Bone."

"True Grit" ran second with 10 nominations, including acting honors for last year's best-actor winner Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld.

"The Social Network" won best drama at the Golden Globes and was picked as the year's best by key critics groups, while "The King's Speech" pulled an upset last weekend by winning the Producers Guild of America Awards top prize, whose recipient often goes on to claim best picture at the Oscars.

Along with Rush, best-actor favorite Firth and supporting-actress contender Bonham Carter, "The King's Speech" had nominations for director Tom Hooper and screenwriter David Seidler, plus honors in such categories as cinematography, costume design, art direction and musical score.

David Fincher is the best-directing favorite for "The Social Network" after winning that prize at the Globes. Joining Fincher and Hooper among best-director picks are Darren Aronofsky for "Black Swan"; Joel and Ethan Coen for "True Grit"; and David O. Russell for "The Fighter."

One notable omission was director Christopher Nolan for "Inception," though he got a nomination for original screenplay.

"Toy Story 3," the top-grossing film released in 2010, also is nominated for animated feature and is expected to become the fourth-straight winner in that category from Disney's Pixar Animation, following "Up," "WALL-E" and "Ratatouille." Pixar has won five of the nine animation Oscars since the category was added.

The other animation nominees are "How to Train Your Dragon" and "The Illusionist."

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