* “King’s Speech” wins four awards, including best film
* Facebook film “Social Network” gets mostly minor awards
* Colin Firth best actor; Natalie Portman best actress
By Bob Tourtellotte
LOS ANGELES, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Hollywood found a new group of kings lording over movies on Monday, the makers of Oscar winner “The King’s Speech,” whose heartwarming tale triumphed over a flashy story of new technology in “The Social Network.”
“King’s Speech” claimed four Oscars — best film, actor for Colin Firth, director and screenplay — with a traditional story of a British monarch defeating personal demons. It featured World War Two-era costumes, sweeping sets and a royal tale that seemed bigger than life itself.
The British movie entered Sunday’s Oscars, the world’s top film honors, in a tight race for best film with “The Social Network,” which chronicled the rise of Facebook from a website dreamed up in a college dormitory to an Internet sensation.
But the contemporary tale of the digital age — and its stable of young actors such as Jesse Eisenberg — failed to capture the fancy of Oscar voters as much as did the old-fashioned, sweeping saga “The King’s Speech.”
“What has struck me is the emotional response to (the movie), which seems to have been very, very personal and quite diverse,” Firth told reporters after the awards show.
The veteran actor, age 50, won best actor over a group of others that included Eisenberg, 27, who portrayed Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. It was Firth’s second nomination and Eisenberg’s first.
Natalie Portman claimed the best actress Academy Award for her portrayal of a young ballerina who grows into womanhood in “Black Swan.”
Portman called it “a dream” backstage to be a winner and despite the fact that she has starred in big-budget flicks such as the “Star Wars” movies, she instantly becomes an even more sought-after star.
Similar to Firth, veterans Melissa Leo and Christian Bale won best supporting actress and actor, respectively, for roles in another straightforward movie, boxing drama “The Fighter.”
Among other key winners were family comedy “Toy Story 3” for best animated feature, Wall Street meltdown movie “Inside Job” for top documentary and Denmark’s “In a Better World” took the prize for foreign language film.
The world’s top film honors from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences came packed with a lot of comedy onstage from show hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco.
Franco, 32, and Hathaway, 28 — the first man and woman to co-host the program — had been expected to bring a youthful edge to the show, but it seemed that some of the better sequences harkened back to the Hollywood of old.
Hathaway sang a beautiful number, after which Franco appeared in a dress and blonde wig, looking like Marilyn Monroe — or, perhaps more closely like her co-stars Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon when they dressed in drag for “Some Like it Hot.”
And even the more subtle fashion of recent years — when women dressed down in a nod to the economic recession — seemed turned on its ear. This year, some razzle and some dazzle returned to Oscar’s red carpet with bright and colorful gowns.
In a year that was supposed to have been all about what was new and hip, it was what was the old that was new again.
Editing by Mary Milliken and Sandra Maler