Shhhhh…..! It’s The BAFTAs!

Silence was golden at tonight’s BAFTA Film Awards, with bookies’ – and box office – favourite, The Artist, tap dancing its way to no less than seven awards.

There was simply no stopping the French charm offensive, as it took three of the big awards – Best Film, Best Director (Michel Hazanavicius) and Best Actor (Jean Dujardin, beating favourite George Clooney) – as well as scooping Best Original Music, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design.  Only Meryl Streep’s performance in The Iron Lady stood in the way of it taking the Best Actress gong as well.

The other two acting awards followed the form book, with Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer winning Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively.  They must be sure-fire winners for the Academy Awards at the end of the month.

Although none of the British films in contention took a top award, there was plenty to Smiley about, with Tinker Tailor winning the Outstanding British Film and Best Adapted Screenplay.  Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur picked up the Outstanding Debut Award, while Senna won both Best Documentary and Best Editing.  And the Orange Rising Star Award went to Adam Deacon.

The big surprise, apart from Jean Dujardin’s win, came in the Best Film Not In The English Language category.  Expected to go to the Iranian film A Separation, it went to Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In.

While it was a great night for The Artist, it was sad to see films of the quality of We Need To Talk About Kevin and The Descendants come away totally empty-handed, with Moneyball and Drive also left out in the cold.

If, by any remote chance, you were using my recent predictions as a check-list while watching the ceremony, I reckon I scored five out of nine – not bad for somebody with no record whatsoever as a tipster.

The next question, of course, is what this means for the Oscars.  The Artist has to be the sizzling hot favourite for Best Film and Best Director, assuming the Academy can pronounce Hazanavicius!  Best Actress, as well as Best Supporting Actor and Actress, all look like a done deal.  But the Best Actor category has opened up again, with Dujardin suddenly back in the frame.  It remains to be seen what damage a recent dodgy poster for his next film will have done to his chances – or not.

Disappointingly, it could be all too predictable come 26th February.  We’ll really need an appearance from Uggie to liven things up, otherwise the ceremony could be one, extended yawn – and that won’t be because it’s screened in the wee small hours of the morning in the UK.

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