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The Oscars: Crowning glory for The King's Speech

The King's Speech picked up four Oscars with its star Colin Firth admitting he felt his career had "just peaked" as he collected the award for Best Actor.

Firth told the audience at the 83rd Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles he wanted to leave the stage before he embarrassed himself by dancing with joy.

He said: "I have a feeling my career has just peaked. My deepest thanks to the academy.

"I'm afraid I have to warn you that I'm experiencing stirrings somewhere in the upper abdominals which are threatening to form themselves into dance moves which joyous as they may be for me, it would be extremely problematic if they make it to my legs before I get off stage."

The story of King George VI's battle with his stutter also won Best Picture, Best Director for Tom Hooper and Best Original Screenplay for David Seidler.

Firth thanked his British fans, paying tribute to "all the people who have been rooting for me back home" and thanked his wife whom he said had put up with his "fleeting delusions of royalty". Firth, whose wife is Italian, also has a son from an earlier relationship with actress Meg Tilly and he thanked the "Anglo-Italian, American, Canadian axis which makes up my family".

London-born Seidler dedicated his win to "all the stutterers throughout the world". He said: "My father always said to me I would be a late bloomer. I believe I'm the oldest person to win this award."

He went on to thank the Queen for "not putting me in the Tower of London" for the film's use of swearing. He added: "All the stutterers throughout the world, we have a voice, we have been been heard, thanks to you the academy."

Hooper thanked his mother who first told him about the play that formed the basis of the film. Addressing her, he said: "With this tonight I honour you and the moral of the story is 'listen to your mother'."

Last year's Best Actor winner Jeff Bridges presented the award for Best Actress to Natalie Portman for her role in the dark thriller Black Swan. The tearful star paid tribute to the other actresses that were up for the award. She also spoke about the father of her unborn child, Benjamin Millepied, who she said had given her the "most important role of my life".

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