Colin Firth Oscar acceptance speech: Stuttering's star role

Colin Firth accepts the Oscar for best performance by an actor in a leading role for "The King's Speech" at the 83rd Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Colin Firth accepts best actor Oscar for "The King's Speech" at the 83rd Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011, in Los Angeles.
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill


(CBS) Stuttering took center stage at last night's Academy Awards ceremony, when best actor winner Colin Firth acknowledged the writer "whose own struggles have given so many people the benefit of his very beautiful voice."

Firth was talking about David Seidler, the 73-year-old screenwriter - and former stutterer - who wrote "The King's Speech," about the relationship between King George VI (played by Firth) and the speech coach whose unorthodox methods helped him overcome a debilitating stutter.

As a boy, Seidler had a profound stammer, the Telegraph reported. But listening to George VI's speeches on the radio during and after World War II inspired him to think that if the king could overcome his speaking difficulty, then so could he.

He was right. In addition to the shout-out from Firth, Seidler won his own Oscar last night for best original screenplay for "The King's Speech."

In his own acceptance speech, Seidler, too, acknowledged his struggle with stuttering - a problem that affects more than three million Americans, according to the National Insitute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

And he expressed his solidarity with other stutterers who were watching.

"We have a voice," he said. "We have been heard."

VIDEO: Colin Firth talks "King's Speech" and stutterers with Katie Couric 

  • David W Freeman

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