Colin Firth set to be crowned king of the Baftas

British movie The King's Speech is expected to reign supreme at the Baftas after topping the nominations list for the film awards.

The story of King George VI's attempt to overcome his stutter is in the running for the most coveted prizes, including nominations for best film and director as well as actor for Colin Firth, at next month's ceremony.

Firth's co-stars, Geoffrey Rush, who plays the monarch's speech therapist, and Helena Bonham Carter, as Queen Elizabeth, are nominated in the supporting actor and actress categories.

News of the film's 14 nominations follows disappointment at the Golden Globes, where the royal drama, directed by Briton Tom Hooper, took only one – Firth won best actor – of the seven awards it had been nominated for.

The Bafta nominations come as figures show The King's Speech has taken more than 10.7m at the box office in the UK and Ireland.

Other nominations see Pete Postlethwaite, who died last month at the age of 64 after a battle with cancer, posthumously nominated for supporting actor. The late star is nominated for what was one of his last roles, as an Irish florist in Ben Affleck gangster film The Town.

Black Swan, a psychological thriller set in the world of ballet, is just behind The King's Speech with 12 nominations, including best film, best director for Darren Aronofsky and best actress for Natalie Portman.

One of Portman's rivals is 14-year-old former unknown Hailee Steinfeld – the US teenager won the part in the Coen brothers Western, True Grit, following an open casting call.

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore (The Kids Are All Right), and Swedish actress Noomi Rapace (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) are also up for best actress.

In the best director category, Black Swan and The King's Speech are up against Slumdog Millionaire filmmaker Danny Boyle for rock-climbing drama 127 Hours, Christopher Nolan for his thriller Inception, and David Fincher for The Social Network, about the founding of Facebook.

Firth's rivals in the best actor category are US star Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Javier Bardem (Biutiful) and James Franco (127 Hours).

Deputy Bafta Chairman David Parfitt said of the nominations: "It's a very good year for the Brits. Even some of the American films that are nominated have British directors."

He added: "British film has always punched above its weight in the film world. British film is always quite well represented in the Oscars as well as the Baftas.

"It's not that we have a particular bias. British film in general plays well around the world because it's very good."

Last year, the best director and film Bafta awards went to Kathryn Bigelow and her movie The Hurt Locker and they took the same titles at the Oscars, suggesting that the Baftas may now provide a better pointer than the Golden Globes to Oscar success.

The King's Speech is up against 127 Hours, Mike Leigh film Another Year, Four Lions and Made In Dagenham, a dramatisation of the 1968 strike at the Ford factory, in the British film category. Big hit Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part One has two nominations in the minor categories, including special visual effects.

The ceremony, hosted on February 13 for the fifth year by Jonathan Ross and broadcast on BBC1, is the biggest movie event in the UK.

Director Danny Boyle said: "The response of the public to the release of 127 Hours has been really wonderful and we are delighted that Bafta has now so generously recognised the work of some of the many people who made the film, and especially James Franco's extraordinary performance."

American actor Franco, who plays death-defying rock climber Aron Ralston in the film, said: "It is tremendously exciting to see 127 Hours recognised by Bafta."

He added he was "flattered and humbled by this best actor nomination – especially among such an incredible group of talent".

Tanya Seghatchian, head of the Film Fund of the UK Film Council, which is soon to be axed, said: "This year's Bafta nominations underline the breadth and creative excellence of British filmmaking talent.

"With a staggering 10.7m at the UK box office in 10 days, 14 Bafta nominations and a Golden Globe, The King's Speech is a great British success story.

"Further nominations for Made In Dagenham, Another Year, The Arbor and the short film Rite highlights the crucial role that the UK Film Council has played in championing British independent filmmakers."

ANJD THE WINNER COULD BE.....

Bafta nominations include:

BEST FILM

Black Swan

Inception

The King's Speech

The Social Network

True Grit

BEST DIRECTOR

127 Hours, Danny Boyle

Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky

Inception, Christopher Nolan

The King's Speech, Tom Hooper

The Social Network, David Fincher

LEADING ACTOR

Javier Bardem, Biutiful

Jeff Bridges, True Grit

Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network

Colin Firth, The King's Speech

James Franco, 127 Hours