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Colin Firth poses with the prize for best actor backstage during the BAFTA film awards at the Royal Opera House in London on Sunday. Firth won for his portrayal of King George VI in The King's Speech. ((Jonathan Short/Associated Press))

Royal drama The King's Speech was crowned the big winner at Britain's top film awards on Sunday — a sign it may reign again at Hollywood's Academy Awards in two weeks.

The made-in-England story of King George VI and his struggle to overcome a stutter won seven prizes, including best picture and three acting trophies, from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

As expected, Colin Firth won best actor for his portrayal of the reluctant monarch.

"I like coming here," said Firth, who won the same prize last year for A Single Man.

Firth is the first star to win the best actor BAFTA two years in a row since the late Rod Steiger won back-to-back BAFTAs for The Pawnbroker in 1967 and In the Heat of the Night in 1968.

Bonham Carter, who plays Queen Elizabeth opposite Colin Firth's King George, won best supporting actress.

"I think I should thank the Royal Family, frankly, because they've done wonders for my career," she said at the awards presentation in London. Bonham Carter also played the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland.

The King's Speech is about the friendship that develops between the king, who has a stammer, and his unorthodox speech therapist, played by Rush, who also won for his performance.

"It's amazing this little film seems to have spoken to the world and I'm deeply moved by that," said its writer, David Seidler, who won best original screenplay.

"For a stutterer, a stammerer, to be heard is a wonderful thing."

3 BAFTAs for The Social Network

The strong showing for The King's Speech has film-lovers speculating about how well it will do at the Oscars, where it has 12 nominations. Its chief competition for Academy Awards, The Social Network, took three BAFTAs, including best director for David Fincher.

The film about the origins of social network Facebook also won best editing and best adapted screenplay for Aaron Sorkin.

Many of the technical awards went to the mind-bending saga Inception, which took best production design, sound and visual effects.

The British academy dubbed The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo best foreign language film and Toy Story 3 best animated film.

Natalie Portman won the award for best actress for her portrayal of an emotionally unbalanced dancer in Black Swan. The American actress was not at the ceremony.