London– “The Artist” charmed its way to seven prizes at the British Academy Film Awards on Sunday night, including best film, director and original screenplay for Michel Hazanavicius, and best actor for Jean Dujardin.
The French silent, black and white pic also took awards for cinematography, costume design and original music.
Hazanavicius, accepting the original screenplay prize at London’s Royal Opera House, confessed his surprise, noting that “so many people thought there was no script, because there was no dialog.”
Meryl Streep won best actress for “The Iron Lady.” She lost a shoe on the stairs up to the stage, giving presenter Colin Firth the chance to play Prince Charming and kneel before her to replace it.
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” took the nod for outstanding British film and for adapted screenplay. In the night’s most emotional moment, writer Peter Straughan accepted the adapted screenplay award for himself and his late wife and co-writer Bridget O’Connor, who died on the day “Tinker Tailor” started shooting.
“She wrote all the good bits; I made the coffee,” he said.
Christopher Plummer won the supporting actor prize for his turn as a septuagenarian gay dad in “Beginners.”
A clearly surprised Octavia Spencer took supporting actress for “The Help,” cementing her status as the Oscar frontrunner. In her speech, she noted that the prize proved “The Help” is not merely an American story, but a universal one.
“Senna,” about Formula 1 racing driver Ayrton Senna, picked up BAFTA’s first documentary feature award, and also took the editing prize.
Director-scribe Paddy Considine and producer Diarmid Scrimshaw won the outstanding British debut award for “Tyrannosaur.”
The Orange Rising Star Award, voted on by the public, went to “Adulthood” and “Anuvahood” actor Adam Deacon, proving the loyalty of his cult youth fanbase by beating better known international stars Tom Hiddleston, Chris O’Dowd, Chris Hemsworth and Eddie Redmayne.
“For me it means acceptance. It’s a win for the underdog,” Deacon said.
Pedro Almodovar’s “The Skin I Live In” was the surprise winner for best film not in the English language, beating Iranian helmer Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar foreign language favorite, “A Separation,” which clearly paid the price for not sending out a DVD to voters.
On a night when Martin Scorsese was honored with a BAFTA Fellowship, his “Hugo” won for best sound and production design.
Scorsese, the most nominated director in BAFTA history, got a standing ovation for his Fellowship, which he described as “the highest and most profound honor.” He paid tribute to the influence on his work of British cinema, which he described as “a bit of a mystery and a great marvel.”
“The Iron Lady” also won for hair and make-up.
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” finally won a BAFTA, for special effects, at the eighth time of asking, an overdue reward for the Potter franchise that has pretty much created London’s world-class vfx industry.
As previously announced, John Hurt was honored for his outstanding contribution to British cinema, and earned a standing ovation.
Complete list of BAFTA winners
Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Octavia Spencer, “The Help”
Outstanding British picture
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
Paddy Considine and Diarmid Scrimshaw for “Tyrannosaur”
“The Artist,” Michel Hazanavicius
“The Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” Bridget O’Connor
Film Not in the English Language
“The Skin I Live In”
“The Artist,” Guillaume Schiffman
Makeup & Hair
“The Iron Lady”
Special Visual Effects
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”
“A Morning Stroll”
“Pitch Black Heist”
Orange Rising Star (Audience Award)