THEY are keeping their fingers crossed for Colin Firth!

The Hampshire-born actor’s former drama teacher and her film studies students at Barton Peveril College in Eastleigh are hoping he picks up an Oscar at tonight’s 82nd Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood.

Penny Edwards and the teenagers have even created a shrine to the college’s most famous son in a bid to inspire future students.

Newspaper cuttings and photos of his triumphs and awards are pulled from a massive back catalogue and pinned to the wall and they are hoping the most prestigious clipping is just around the corner.

The former Barton Peveril student, best known for emerging dripping wet from a pond in the small screen adaptation of the classic Pride and Prejudice, is a contender for the Best Actor gong for his latest starring role in Tom Ford’s movie A Single Man.

Firth, 49, who grew up in Winchester, plays a gay academic mourning the death of his partner in the film, which costars Julianne Moore.

Penny Edwards, head of faculty for the arts, said: “Barton Peveril is absolutely delighted that Colin has achieved so much already. This year is the crowning achievement. Two awards already won in Venice and the BAFTA for A Single Man. Now there is a real possibility of a hat-trick with the Oscars.

“His film is absolutely excellent and he carries the whole film.

“It is an excellent example of how the less you do the more effective it is, because it is all about the body language and facial expressions that really conveys the emotion of his character.

“What has impressed me most about Colin’s career is the range of films he has done and the brave choices he has made.

“We have always followed his career with great interest and what is interesting is that the stage here, where he first performed, has now become a cinema.

He has gone from stage to cinema and so have we.

“I just hope his example gives our student aspirations of what they can achieve.”

Colin will not be the only former student involved in the big night, ex-student Nick Horton will be working with Sky on the production of their Oscars programme.