Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy won outstanding British film of the year, but the night belonged to Michel Hazanavicius’s ode to the silent film era, which also claimed the awards for best original screenplay, best costume design, best cinematography and original music.
Picking up the award for best screenplay Hazanavicius said: “I’m very surprised, because so many people thought there was no script because there was no dialogue.
“So English people are very clever. Congratulations to you.”
Bookies’ favourite, Meryl Streep, won the best actress award for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, which also landed the award for best makeup and hair.
Picking up the best actor gong, Jean Dujardin paid tribute to the calibre of his fellow nominees, and said: “To receive this award from the country of Sir Laurence Olivier, William Webb Ellis and Benny Hill, it’s incredible.”
BAFTAs veteran Martin Scorsese added two more awards to his sizable collection, with Hugo winning for best sound and production design, while the iconic director himself picked up the BAFTA fellowship award.
Speech of night undoubtedly came from best supporting actress, The Help’s Octavia Spencer: “It’s been said that The Help is an American movie about American problems and American history and I am so grateful to you for seeing past that, because surely oppression and strife knows no gender, no age, no sexual orientation,” she said.
The award for best documentary went to Senna, Asif Kapadia’s moving film about the life of the Formula One legend, while Rango was perhaps the surprise winner of the night trumping Tintin to claim the best animated film.
The Artist’s seven awards equalled the number won by Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech, with only Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and The Killing Fields surpassing it, with nine and eight awards respectively.
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