BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — The British monarchy saga “The King’s Speech” reigned at the Academy Awards with 12 nominations, including acting honors for Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush, positioning itself to challenge “The Social Network” for best picture.

“The King’s Speech” gained momentum against the Facebook drama, which dominated early Hollywood awards. Along with those two films, other best-picture nominees Tuesday for the Feb. 27 Oscars were a psychosexual thriller (“Black Swan”), a boxing drama (“The Fighter”), a sci-fi blockbuster (“Inception”), a lesbian-family tale (“The Kids Are All Right”), a survival story (“127 Hours”), an animated smash (“Toy Story 3”), a Western (“True Grit”) and an Ozarks crime thriller (“Winter’s Bone”).

“True Grit” ran second with 10 nominations, including acting honors for last year’s best-actor winner Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld.

“The Social Network” won best drama at the Golden Globes and was picked as the year’s best by key critics groups, while “The King’s Speech” pulled an upset last weekend by winning the Producers Guild of America Awards top prize, whose recipient often goes on to claim best picture at the Oscars.

“I’ve been texting people in between interviews, and there’s a lot of excitement going on across the globe from our team. It’s really wonderful. It’s sort of like ‘Ben-Hur’ proportions. It all seems a bit crazy, you know?” said supporting-actor nominee Rush, an Oscar winner for 1996’s “Shine.”

Along with Rush, best-actor favorite Firth and supporting-actress contender Bonham Carter, “The King’s Speech” had nominations for director Tom Hooper and screenwriter David Seidler, plus honors in such categories as cinematography, costume design, art direction and musical score.

Supporting-actor favorite Christian Bale was nominated for “The Fighter.” The best-actress field shapes up as a two-woman race between Annette Bening for “The Kids Are All Right,” who won the Globe for actress in a musical or comedy, and Natalie Portman for “Black Swan,” who received the Globe for dramatic actress.

 

Michael Jackson’s doctor pleads not guilty

 

LOS ANGELES — Michael Jackson’s doctor pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the pop superstar’s death as the case moved rapidly toward a trial that will likely be televised.

“Your honor, I am an innocent man,” Dr. Conrad Murray told Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor in a soft voice. “I definitely plead not guilty.”

Lawyers for Murray, who is accused of giving Jackson a lethal dose of the powerful anesthetic propofol and other sedatives, said they would be ready to go to trial within the 60-day statutory time limit, which would make for an unusually speedy trial. Deputy District Attorney David Walgren said the prosecution would be ready to go as well for the trial he estimated would last six weeks. The judge scheduled the trial to begin March 28 and set a pretrial hearing for Feb. 7.

“Dr. Murray is looking forward to finally telling his side of the story,” defense attorney Ed Chernoff said outside court.

Bill O’Reilly not an Olbermann fan

 

NEW YORK — Bill O’Reilly marked the departure of rival Keith Olbermann from MSNBC, but wouldn’t say his name.

The host of “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News Channel, a frequent target of Olbermann’s barbs, noted on Monday’s broadcast that a “hateful commentator” has been replaced by MSNBC.

Olbermann and MSNBC abruptly announced on Friday that he would be leaving “Countdown,” the network’s most-watched show and the template for which MSNBC remade itself as a network with liberal hosts in prime time. No reason was given for the exit.