The American Institute for Stuttering would like to congratulate The King’s Speech on winning its four Academy Awards – Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Picture!
David Seidler, the film’s screenwriter and a person who stutters, conceived the film after being inspired by the story of George VI of England and his unorthodox speech therapist, Lionel Logue.
“My father always said to me, I would be a late bloomer,” the 73-year-old Seidler joked in his acceptance speech. “I believe I am the oldest person to win this particular award.”
In closing, he encouraged people who stutter. “I accept this on behalf of all the stutterers throughout the world,” Seidler said. “We have a voice, we have been heard, thanks to you, the Academy.”
Director Tom Hooper explained that he was moved by Seidler’s “extraordinary journey from childhood stammerer to the stage of the Kodak (Theatre, site of the awards show).”
He especially thanked his mother, who tipped him off to the project after she attended a play reading of The King’s Speech by pure chance.
Hooper explained, “Now she’s never been invited to a play reading in her entire life before, she almost didn’t go because it didn’t sound exactly promising, but thank God she did because she came home, rang me up and said, ‘Tom, I think I found your next film.'”
The film’s star, Colin Firth, accepted his Best Actor nod with wit and grace, saying, “I have the feeling my career has just peaked.”
He thanked his fellow award-winners, noting Seidler, for his struggles that “have given so many people the benefit of his own very beautiful voice,” and Hooper, for “immense courage and clear sightedness” in interpreting those struggles.
We celebrate the success of The King’s Speech and the unprecedented attention that it’s drawn to stuttering. The film has managed to shift the public perception of the speech disorder. There is still much work to be done, but we rejoice that change has begun in how stuttering is viewed.
Finally, we are deeply encouraged by the inspiration the film has provided to people who stutter and their loved ones.
Awards season may be over, but we look forward to the lasting impact that this film will have. Thank you to all who had a part in sharing it with the world!