The King’s Speech Leads BAFTA Award Nominations

Although the Golden Globes came and went last Sunday, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts is just getting started, announcing Monday its nominations for the 2010 film season.

The King’s Speech, which garnered a sole Golden Globe in the Best Actor-Drama category for Colin Firth, leads the BAFTAs with 14 nominations.

Darren Aronfsky’s psychotic-ballerina thriller Black Swan was nominated in 12 categories, with Christopher Nolan’s dream-epic, Inception, close behind with 9 nominations. The surprise box office hit True Grit and British filmmaker Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours each received eight nominations, while award show favorite The Social Network trails in the race, boasting only six nominations.

In addition to the arguably lackluster performance of The Social Network, the BAFTAs — hailed as the most prestigious film awards across the pond — offered a pleasant change-up in the acting categories.

Julianne Moore, seen as a dark horse when in the increasingly golden light of co-star Annette Bening, was nominated alongside Bening in the Leading Actress category for her tender turn in The Kids Are All Right.

The BAFTA awards. Creative Commons

Another fresh face in the Leading Actress race is Noomi Rapace, the sleek, enigmatic star of the unexpected Swedish film sensation, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, based on the crime novel by the late Stieg Larsson.

True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld was bumped up from Supporting to Leading Actress, while Mila “Sweet Lips” Kunis was left out of Supporting Actress contention, being replaced by Black Swan co-star Barbara Hershey for her horrific turn as a perfection-seeking mother.

Critic favorite Lesley Manville also received a Supporting Actress nomination for Another Year, the latest film from acclaimed British writer-director Mike Leigh who, surprisingly, was overlooked by the BAFTAs.

Although heavyweights Jeff Bridges, Jesse Eisenberg, Colin Firth and James Franco were acknowledge in the Leading Actor category, BAFTA also added Javier Bardem to the already impressive shortlist for his performance in Biutiful. Kids co-star Mark Ruffalo—whose portrayal as a scruffy rouge-turned-wannabe-dad has been largely overlooked—makes an appearance in the Supporting Actor category, along with the late Pete Postlethwaite for The Town.

It looks like BAFTA wasn’t too impressed with The Fighter, a major contender that has been going head-to-head with The Social Network since awards season commenced. The true-to-life boxing drama scored only three nominations: Best Original Screenplay, Supporting Actor (Christian Bale) and Supporting Actress (Amy Adams).  Recent Golden Globe winner Melissa Leo was snubbed in the Supporting Actress category.

The 2011 BAFTA Awards will take place Sunday, Feb. 13 in London.