Feb. 27, 2011— -- "The King's Speech" continued its winning momentum going into the 83rd annual Academy Awards, taking home the big prize of best picture, while its star Colin Firth received the Oscar for best actor; "Black Swan" star Natalie Portman received the award for best actress.
Tom Hooper, the director of "The King's Speech," pulled off a surprising win over "The Social Network" director David Fincher. "Speech," which led the number of nominations with 12, received a total of four Oscars, including best original screenplay.
"The Fighter" co-stars Melissa Leo and Christian Bale were among the early winners, receiving Oscars for best supporting actress and best supporting actor.
In a self-deprecating and emotional speech, Firth joked, "I have a feeling my career has just peaked." With his typical British reserve, he said he was "experiencing stirrings" that were "threatening to turn into dance moves."
Firth thanked his wife, Livia, for the award and "everything good in my life," while the pregnant Portman thanked "my love," her fiancee and "Black Swan" choreographer Benjamin Millipied for giving "me my most important role of my life."
Leo got the night off to a raucous beginning, when she dropped the F-bomb during her speech.
When Bale accepted his award, he told the audience, "I'm not going to drop the F-bomb, like she did. I've done that plenty before."
Both were expected to win after taking home the same award at the Golden Globes. But some doubt had been cast on Leo, after the ads she took out in the Hollywood trades promoting herself backfired.
The race was opened up to competitors Hailee Steinfeld ("True Grit"), Helena Bonham Carter ("The King's Speech"), her fighter co-star Amy Adams and Jacki Weaver ("Animal Kingdom").
Still, Leo pulled off the win in the end.
Kirk Douglas, who walked on stage with a cane, dragged out the announcement of the Leo's name. On stage, Leo bowed to Douglas and asked him to pinch her as the two flirted.
"I'm shaking in my boots here," Leo said, taking a deep breath. As she waved to the audience sitting in the rafters, she dropped the F-bomb, prompting co-host Anne Hathaway to exclaim later, "It's the young and hip Oscars."
Recovering, Leo thanked the Academy.
"This has been an extraordinary journey," she said about the award season. "It's about selling motion pictures and respecting the work."
A humbled Bale took the stage saying, "What the hell am I doing here?" Among those he thanked was Dicky Ecklund, the washed-up fighter he played in "The Fighter."
President Barack Obama made a surprise appearance at the Oscars. During an introduction for best song, he cited "As Time Goes By" from "Casablanca" as his favorite movie theme song.
Later in the telecast, Randy Newman, who has been nominated 20 times and won once previously, received the Oscar for "We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3."
Tom Hanks gave out the first awards of the night for cinematography and art direction.
Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" took home the first Oscar for art direction.
Cinematographer Wally Pfister won his first Oscar for "Inception," and gave credit to Christopher Nolan, who was snubbed for a best director nomination. "Inception" took home several technical awards, for sound mixing, sound editing and visual effects.
Pfister beat out perpetual nominee Roger Deakins, the cinematographer on "True Grit." Deakins has yet to win an Oscar.