Golden Globe for King's Speech crowning glory for Colin Firth

British actor Colin Firth took home the best actor award at the Golden Globes, narrowing the odds of his making a clean sweep during this year's awards season.

Firth was handed the accolade for his portrayal of a stammering King George VI in The King's Speech, solidifying his chances of an Oscar and an inclusion in the Bafta nominations today.

Fellow Briton Christian Bale took home the supporting-actor Golden Globe for his role in The Fighter at the star-studded awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

Accepting his award, Firth, 50, referred to his age and said: "To get to this stage of your life with your dignity and judgment intact can be somewhat precarious. Sometimes all you need is a bit of gentle reassurance to keep you on track but right now this (the award) is all that stands between me and a Harley Davidson."

British hopes had been pinned on The King's Speech, which tells the story of the unlikely relationship between the monarch and an Australian speech therapist who helps him to cope with his stammer.

The monarchy saga was nominated in seven categories but it was only Firth who took the plaudits, coming out top in the category of best actor in a movie drama.

He was not the only Englishman generating headlines at the Golden Globes, though. The award show's host, Ricky Gervais, got a mixed reaction for his sharp-tongued presenting style.

The 49-year-old tackled scientology and gay celebrities pretending to be straight, and introduced Bruce Willis as Ashton Kutcher's father.

"It's going to be a night of partying and heavy drinking," Gervais began, sipping from a glass of beer. Or, as Charlie Sheen calls it, breakfast."

Elsewhere, Natalie Portman scooped best actress for Black Swan, and David Fincher won the directing prize for Facebook drama The Social Network, one of four awards for the film.