“The Artist” was named the best film of 2011 at the BAFTAs, the British equivalent of the Academy Awards, bolstering the sense that the silent film is practically destined to win Oscar’s best picture honor in two weeks.
The best film category was just one of seven awards — including best original screenplay, best director for Michel Hazanavicius and best lead actor for star Jean Dujardin — that the French-made film collected at the British Academy of Film Awards.
The winners in other major categories included lead actress Meryl Streep, who apparently won over British voters with her portrayal of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady”; supporting actor Christopher Plummer, also considered an Oscar front-runner for “Beginners”; and Octavia Spencer, the woman who brought the outspoken Minnie to life in “The Help.”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” won the best adapted screenplay award, topping fellow nominees such as “Moneyball” and “The Descendants.” The adaptation of John le Carre’s spy thriller also was named best British film.
The BAFTAs are not always an accurate predictor of which individuals and films will prevail at the Oscars. But during the past three years — when the best film victory went to eventual Academy Award winners “The King’s Speech,” “The Hurt Locker” and “Slumdog Millionaire” — they have been right on the money. At this point, it certainly seems as though best picture is “The Artist’s” to lose.
See the full list of nominees and winners at BAFTA’s Web site.