Hugh Grant, Colin Firth Both Turn 50

Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, two of our greatest British romancers, have both turned 50 within a day of each other. (Grant hit the half-century mark yesterday, while Firth’s birthday is today.) I asked my followers on Twitter what their favorite Grant and Firth roles were. The votes for Grant were more varied. There was a pretty even split between 1994′s Four Weddings and a Funeral, 1999′s Notting Hill, 2002′s About a Boy, and 2003′s Love Actually.

But for Firth, it was, in the words of Twitter user TerriblyTwisted: “Darcy! Darcy! Darcy! Darcy! Darcy! Darcy! Darcy! Darcy! Darcy! Darcy! Darcy! Darcy! Darcy! Darcy! Darcy! Darcy!”

There were a few single-vote exceptions: dave2702 prefers Colin in Mamma Mia, aussiemarknyc liked him best in Nanny McPhee, and daveconrey dug him in Love Actually, but he thinks it’s “because of the cute Italian girl in the scenes with him.” Awww.

Well, Colin was superb as Mr. Darcy in BBC’s definitive adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and if it casts a shadow over his latter career, well, most actors should be so lucky.

It’s interesting to see how different Grant and Firth’s careers are these days. Grant was Hollywood’s go-to rom-com dude during the ’90s, but his last two major releases – 2007′s Music and Lyrics and 2009′s Did You Hear About the Morgans? – were resounding flops, and he has no roles in the works according to IMDB.

As a young star, Colin never flashed quite as brightly as Hugh, but these days he is in incredible demand. His role as a bereaved gay professor in Tom Ford‘s A Single Man gave him his first Best Actor Oscar nomination, and he could nab his second straight nod for the much-buzzed-about film The King’s Speech, in which he plays George VI (a.k.a. Queen Elizabeth II‘s father). He’s also been cast in the adaptation of John Le Carr&eacute‘s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and in Michael Winterbottom‘s upcoming thriller The Promised Land.

What are your favorite Hugh Grant and Colin Firth roles? Plus: who has had the better career?

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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