HOLLYWOOD — British historical drama "The King's Speech" was crowned with the best film Oscar, at the climax of the movie industry's 83rd Academy Awards show.

"The King's Speech" tells the story of how King George VI overcame a stammer helped by an Australian voicecoach.

The film took other top awards, with Colin Firth receiving the best actor Oscar for his role as King George VI and British filmmaker Tom Hooper winning the best director Oscar.

Firth, who had been frontrunner for the prize, thanked his fellow actors and filmmakers -- and joked that he had an impulse to dance, after winning the top prize at the Oscars, the climax of Hollywood's awards season.

"I have a feeling my career's just peaked," he said in a self-deprecating style which he has honed at numerous ceremony triumphs over the last two months, including the Golden Globes and Britain's BAFTAs.

"I'm afraid I have to warn you that I'm experiencing stirrings, somewhere in the upper abdominals, what are threatening to form themselves into dance moves, which -- joyous as they may be for me, it would be extremely problematic if they make it to my legs before I get off stage," he added, to laughter.

After thanking everyone -- including his wife for "putting up with my fleeting delusions of royalty," he added: "Now, if you'll all excuse me, I have some impulses I have to tend to backstage."

Hooper, for whom it had been his first Oscar nomination, was an award-winning TV program maker before a big-screen career including 2009's with the soccer movie "The Damned United", starring Michael Sheen.

Natalie Portman won the best actress Oscar for her role in the disturbing ballet-themed thriller "Black Swan".

Portman had been frontrunner for her sexually-charged portrayal of a ballet dancer whose drive for perfection pushes her to the edge of madness. Her performance had already earned her prizes at the Golden Globes and Britain's BAFTAs.

In other prizes, "Toy Story 3," the third instalment of the family-friendly franchise starring Woody, Buzz Lightyear and co. won best animated feature Oscar as expected.

And the best foreign film prize went to "In a Better World" by Denmark's star director Susanne Bier, who vanquished movies from Algeria, Canada, Greece and Mexico.

The Oscars is the culmination of the multi-billion movie industry's awards season and has been preceded by months or frantic campaigning for the coveted gold statuettes waiting to be handed out Sunday night.

Co-hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway started the show with a filmed skit in which they were transplanted into the main films nominated for best picture, with amusing results.