Silent movie The Artist dominates 65th Baftas


Meryl Streep lost a shoe as she went to accept her award for best actress. Footage courtesy of BAFTA/BBC 2012

Silent movie The Artist has dominated the 65th Baftas, taking seven prizes including best film, best director and best actor for its star Jean Dujardin.

As well as his director prize, film-maker Michel Hazanavicius picked up the best original screenplay prize.

"Some people thought there was no script because there was no dialogue so the English are very clever," he said.

Meryl Streep won best actress for The Iron Lady, while Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy won outstanding British film.

The Artist's Dujardin, picking up best actor, said he was "thrilled to be in the company of such illustrious, talented actors" as fellow nominees Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman, George Clooney and Michael Fassbender.

"To receive this award from the country of Laurence Oliver, William Webb Ellis and Benny Hill is an honour," the Frenchman added.

Accepting his best director Bafta, Hazanavicius, who gave a series of colourful speeches, said he was thrilled that award presenter Pitt "said my name correctly".

"I know that I will have some bad days because I'm a director but I will remember this day, today, as a good day," he added.

Colin Firth and Meryl Streep Colin Firth presented best actress to his Mamma Mia! co-star Meryl Streep

The Artist is the story of silent movie actor George Valentin whose career is surpassed by his love interest Peppy Miller - played by Hazanavicius's wife Berenice Bejo - who becomes a star of the "talkies".

The film, the favourite for best picture at the Oscars on 26 February, also won prizes for best original score, cinematography and best costume design.

Bejo, together with My Week with Marilyn's Michelle Williams, We Need to Talk About Kevin's Tilda Swinton and The Help's Viola Davis, was beaten by Streep for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher.

The 62-year-old actress, who has not won a Bafta since receiving one for The French Lieutenant's Woman in 1982, lost her shoe as she made her way to the stage of London's Royal Opera House.

"That couldn't have gone worse," she said.

"Somebody once said the fate of the well-known is to be misunderstood and the ambition of this film, The Iron Lady, was to look at the life of the Iron Lady from the inside out," she continued.

Start Quote

She wrote all the good bits and I made the coffee so Bridget I love you, I miss you, this is for you”

End Quote Peter Straughan pays tribute to late wife and Tinker Tailor co-writer Bridget O'Connor

The aim, she went on, was "to locate something real, maybe hidden, but truthful in the life of someone we've all decided we know everything about already."

The Iron Lady, which follows Margaret Thatcher over a number of years, also won the award for best make-up and hair.

Octavia Spencer beat Jessica Chastain, her co-star in civil rights drama The Help, to the best supporting actress prize, saying her victory was "a surprise".

Speaking on the red carpet earlier, Chastain insisted there was no competition between the pair.

"Every time she wins, I'm so happy for her," said the US actress. "She's been working for so long and I have zero rivalry with her."

Christopher Plummer was named best supporting actor, for his role as an elderly father who comes out as gay in Beginners, but was unable to pick up his award.

In a message read out by presenter Helena Bonham Carter, the Canadian actor said: "Good old Londres has always been my second home but, now that Bafta has spoken, I feel more at home than ever."

Spy thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, starring Oldman as John le Carre's George Smiley, went into the awards with 11 nominations - one less than The Artist.

As he collected the award for best British film, its Swedish director Tomas Alfredson said it was "easy to be outstanding when you're surrounded by talented people".

Michel Hazanavicius and Berenice Bejo on "special Bafta recognition"

Picking up the best adapted screenplay honour, the film's co-writer Peter Straughan thanked The Artist "for not being adapted from a book".

He then paid tribute to his co-writer and wife, Bridget O'Connor, who died before Tinker Tailor was made.

"She wrote all the good bits and I made the coffee, so Bridget I love you, I miss you, this is for you," he said.

Senna, about the life of the late racing driver Ayrton Senna, won best documentary, beating Martin Scorsese's George Harrison: Living in the Material World and Project Nim, about a chimpanzee raised as a child in the 1970s.

Scorsese's Hugo - a 3D adaptation of Brian Selznick's novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret - won prizes for production design and sound.

At the end of the awards, veteran director Scorsese was made a Bafta fellow.

The 69-year-old director, known for such films as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas, praised British films as "a bit of a mystery and great marvel".

"The rich tradition of British cinema also embraces, for me, the peerless craftsmanship of the British crew who helped me with direction and extraordinary imagination with the making of Hugo here at Shepperton."

Earlier, actor John Hurt picked up the outstanding contribution to British cinema award.

The 72-year-old thanked the directors "who have allowed me to play those wonderful parts that I would never in a million of years have thought of for myself".

George Clooney "thrilled" with Bafta nominations

"The reason I'm standing here is because I am the addition, basically, of their imaginations."

Paddy Considine - best known as an actor in such films as Dead Man's Shoes and Hot Fuzz - was honoured for directing Tyrannosaur.

He and producer Diarmid Scrimshaw picked up the outstanding British debut award for their hard-hitting drama.

And Adam Deacon, star of films including Adulthood and Anuvahood, beat competition from Chris Hemsworth, Chris O'Dowd, Eddie Redmayne and Tom Hiddleston to win the audience-voted rising star prize at the awards, hosted by Stephen Fry.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    @ 69. George Stokes

    George, may I ask if you have actually seen the film you are criticizing - viz. Silent Movie?

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    @ 68. Mdebx

    If you read the House rules you will see that posts may be removed if they are not written in English. A nice idea, though, writing a comment in French for a French film - but if you had written in support of Silent Movie, would you have left the comment blank? :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    Silent Movie dominates the Oscars?

    Oh, come on, next year we will be having re-runs of the "Key Stone Cops" if the avante garde and the "luvvies" have their way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    I would appreciate the BBC explaining, on my posts, the reason for my posts numbered 58 and 64, which have been removed for "breaking house rules" The first comment I wrote in French;the second I repeated the French with an English translation. I was simply complementing a wonderful French film, and I would like it verified that it contained nothing sinister,threatening or vulgar.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    These mutual backslapping awards seem to go on all year round. It's so boring and so are most of the films.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    Not a mention yet of Stephen Fry's performance - nothing short of Brilliant.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    46. MH
    "(Whining about Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and British cinema in general) All those great guys, and not one could act his way out of the WEIGHTY. MEANINGFUL. SILENCE. that substituted for plot and dialogue."

    Obviously you've never heard of the phrase "show don't tell". There's such a thing as 'subtlety' and 'facial expressions'. Clearly you just want everything spelled out for you. Sad.

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.


    It's a pity that War Horse faired so poorly, but it's hard to give awards to a film so vastly overshadowed by the theatrical version of itself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    The Artist was superb. It kept my attention from the minute it started until the minute it ended. The lighting, the mono backing music, the reduced frame size made it so authentic. It deserved it's BAFTA honours. I also thought that Meryl Streep deserved her award as she was excellent as the Iron Lady. Just when I thought she couldn't impress me more, she pulls the Iron Lady out of the bag.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    Luke Cusick

    Massive shame that Drive didn't recieve any awards. Absolutely amazing film."

    I have to agree. It's not exactly mainstream though so I wasn't expecting it to win anything. Ryan Gosling is definitely from the 'mumbling' school of acting as well - I needed subtitles.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    Very happy to see Harry Potter pick up the Special Effects award finally!

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    The Artist dominates 65th Baftas
    Yeah yeah, but the US has 2M+ homeless children and only half of them have any access to health-treatment.
    My story's better.

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    I haven't seen The Artist, but I'm very familiar with so-called silent films, and indeed I would put King Vidor's The Crowd as one of my top five favourite movies. Is it possible that those who laud The Artist as original are not quite so familiar with them? Similarly I suspect the wild overrating of the film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy comes from people not generally comfortable with the spy genre.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Absolutely spine-tinglingly marvellous! These seemingly incessant award ceremonies, in which multi-millionaires give each other prizes for earning large sums of money for themselves certainly diverts minds from somebody else's beastly wars, gut-wrenching famine and abject social disasters! Meryl Streep wanted to portray the real Margaret Thatcher? What's not to like?

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    Gratifying to see John Hurt getting some recognition at long last, a consummate professional who has never displayed his personal life for all to pick over and pronounce upon. Well done that man!

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    Although Meryl Streep is long overdue a BAFTA/Oscar (30 years since Sophies Choice), so many awards seem to go to people who impersonate -biopics of Ray Charles, Idi Amin, Johnny Cash's wife, Maggie Thatcher, The Queen, to name 5. This year we had Marilyn Monroe and Lawrence Olivier nominated. Surely the skill is creating a whole character from scratch, not copying a famous real person?

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    Time after time, one film sweeps the board but is it likely every performance in it was the best? Years ago, the awards at eg the Oscars were (with exceptions) more evenly spread. Nowadays I think the herd instinct is stronger - or do the voters not actually watch the films at all? As for best music, did they not use Bernard Herrman's Vertigo score? Perhaps he should have won.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    A very enjoyable awards occasion.
    We're looking forward to watching The Artist, and from the look of the trailer this promises to be a satisfactory night out.


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