Berenice Bejo’s “The Artist” Leads BAFTA Nominations

Argentine actress Bérénice Bejo’s "The Artist" is on a roll!

The ode to silent films, which received multiple Critics Choice and Golden Globes wins last week, was nominated in multiple categories at the British Academy Film Award (BAFTA’s) nominations announced on Tuesday in London.

Along with "The Artist" the moody thriller "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" lead the race for the BAFTAs, Britain's equivalent of the Oscars.

"The Artist" received 12 nominations and "Tinker Tailor" 11, with each film up for best picture and director, and best actor nominations for leading men Jean Dujardin and Gary Oldman.
The other best-film nominees announced Tuesday were "The Descendants," ''Drive" and "The Help."

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In a diverse field not dominated by any single film, there are also multiple nominations for "Hugo," ''My Week With Marilyn," ''The Iron Lady" and "The Help."

The nominations are another feather in the cap of "The Artist," a black and white French film about a silent film actor's fall with the rise of talkies.

And they are a boost for "Tinker Tailor," an atmospheric adaptation of John le Carre's espionage classic that has received rave reviews but has so far been snubbed during the U.S. awards season.

The best actor contest pits Oldman and Dujardin against Brad Pitt for "Moneyball," George Clooney for "The Descendants" and Michael Fassbender for "Shame." 

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The best actress category includes two performers playing real-life icons — Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe in "My Week With Marilyn" and Meryl Streep as former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady."

The other nominees are Bérénice Bejo for "The Artist," Tilda Swinton for "We Need to Talk About Kevin" and Viola Davis for "The Help."

The prizes will be awarded at a ceremony at London's Royal Opera House on Feb. 12. They are considered an important indicator of prospects at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles two weeks later.

In recent years, the awards, known as BAFTAs, have helped small British films gain momentum for Hollywood success.

In 2010, Danny Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire" won seven BAFTAs, including best film; it went on to take eight Oscars. Last year "The King's Speech" won seven BAFTAs and four Oscars, including best picture.

"My Week With Marilyn," the story of the movie legend's time shooting an ill-starred comedy in England, received six BAFTA nominations, including a supporting-actor nod for Kenneth Branagh, who plays Laurence Olivier.

He is up against Christopher Plummer for "Beginners," Jim Broadbent for "The Iron Lady," Jonah Hill for "Moneyball" and Philip Seymour Hoffman for "The Ides of March."

The supporting actress category features Carey Mulligan for "Drive," Jessica Chastain for "The Help," Judi Dench for "My Week With Marilyn," Melissa McCarthy for "Bridesmaids" and Olivia Spencer for "The Help."

The multinational best-director contest pits Denmark's Nicholas Winding Refn, for the turbocharged "Drive," against France's Michel Hazanavicius for "The Artist," Sweden's Tomas Alfredson for "Tinker Tailor," Britain's Lynne Ramsay for "We Need to Talk About Kevin" and Martin Scorsese of the United States for "Hugo."

The best British film category contains "My Week With Marilyn," racing documentary "Senna," sex-addiction drama "Shame," family tragedy "We Need to Talk About Kevin" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy."

Steven Spielberg's equine adventure "War Horse" was overlooked in the major categories but gained five nominations including cinematography, visual effects and music.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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