The Kings Speech is a front runner for all sorts of awards.
Shakespeare in Love won Best Picture.
Every year all sorts of British people are nominated for Academy awards. Sure, it is a big old Hollywood fluff fest, but I've never thought it ignored the British. Definitely the rest of the world, though. This being said, Never Let Me Go is a small movie, so I'm really not surprised.
Do other countries nominate American movies for their awards? Shouldn't British movies really fall under the "foreign" category? Just because they speak English, they can be on the same level as American made movies? It's all a big old cluster, and makes little sense.
Like I said, very few are nominated, even from England. Forgot about Shakespeare in Love though and Slumdog Millionaire, so a few did slip through the cracks. But it is mostly British movies (as far as foreign film goes). And I know British people are awarded and nominated for Academy Awards, but more often than not it's for a Hollywood film. And I know a few years back a French Film was nominated for Best Picture.
And even though the Academy is American, the Academy Award is not solely for American movies. It's a general film award and as such there is no category for Foreign Film, only a category for Foreign Language Film. Other countries have national awards, but they have categories for Foreign Film that American movies have won (and more often than not tend to overwhelm as well).
That said, major film awards from other countries (that is the ones that tend to get looked at with international prestige) tend to be from the big film festivals (Cannes, Berlin, Venice, etc.) which don't affiliate with any country and any movie can win so long as they meet entry requirements. It is a big clusterfuck, but that's what it is really.