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Will Baftas lead to Oscars glory for Brits?

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 22 February 2010

British actors Colin Firth and Carey Mulligan were the star pair at the Bafta awards in London, but can the duo do it all again at the Oscars? Film critic Mark Kermode has some words of caution.

Baftas v Oscars: can the Brits do it again? (Credit: Reuters)

After years in the spotlight, Colin Firth has finally picked up his first Bafta for his role as a gay academic in fashion designer Tom Ford's debut film A Single Man.

The 49-year-old beat stiff US competition, including Jeff Bridges and George Clooney. As he arrived, clutching his trophy, at the Bafta after-party, he told reporters he was not used to hearing his name read out as the winner.

He said: "It's a hell of a lot nicer having the unfamiliar experience of hearing your own name read out.

"It's been about 25 years of manfully applauding someone else. It's fine, but not as fine as this!"

Carey Mulligan, 24, won best actress for her leading role in coming of age film An Education, despite being almost unknown a year ago and having been rejected by three drama schools.

She said: "I really didn't expect this at all so I didn't think of anything to say. Thank you so much Bafta. I was here a year ago and I didn't imagine in a million years that this would happen."

Like Firth, she could now be set for Oscar success as both are up for best acting gongs at the Academy Awards on 7 March.

(Colin Firth and Carey Mulligan celebrate success at the Baftas)

But film critic Mark Kermode has warned UK film fans not to get too carried away.

He said: "As far as America is concerned, when you get to the Oscars it's going to be Jeff Bridges because it's kind of his year.

"I think Carey Mulligan has got a fight on her hands when it comes to the Oscars, because Sandra Bullock is very much tipped to win.

"So, a very good night at the Baftas, whether that's reproduced in America we'll wait and see."

He did, however, concede that Carey Mulligan is a "star in the making" who may very well take the US by storm in the coming years.

"She pretty much carries An Education a shoulder high - she's talented but she also has star quality," Kermode added.

"Last night when Carey Mulligan walked up the red carpet the flash bulbs went mad - so she is a star in the making."

He believes Colin Firth, who is best known for lighter roles such as Mark D'Arcy in Bidget Jones' Diary, has finally been recognised as a heavyweight actor.

He said: "Colin Firth has done a lot of serious acting which perhaps hasn't been seen as much as it quite could be.

"In the case of A Single Man - a lot of people said it was an eye-opener from him....there are precedents.

"He made a movie called Trauma which was very little seen - but I think had a kind of pyschological similarity. It was a very, internal serious story and showed the depth of acting quality Colin Firth has...

"Of course he also gave the best acceptance speech of the night in which he said in his outbox there was an email that he failed to send to Tom Ford, saying 'I can't possibly do this movie'.

"And he failed to send it because a guy turned up to fix his fridge. So not only is he a great actor, he also does a really good speech."

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