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'The Artist' wins big overseas at BAFTAs

February 13, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The silent movie "The Artist" made all the noise at Sunday night's British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards in London.

The black and white film won seven BAFTAs, including best picture, leading actor for Jean Dujardin and Michel Hazanavicius for best director.

Dujardin said it was "incroyable" - incredible - to win a prize in the homeland of acting titan Laurence Olivier, William Webb Ellis - the inventor of rugby - "and Benny Hill."

Hazanavicius thanked presenter Brad Pitt for pronouncing his name correctly - and academy voters for recognizing that his silent film even had a screenplay.

"So many people thought there was no script because there was no dialogue," he said.

Another homage to early cinema, Martin Scorsese's Parisian fantasy "Hugo," took prizes for sound and production design.

Meryl Streep won best actress for her role as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady." The film also won a prize for hair and makeup.

"The ambition of this film was to look at the life of the Iron Lady from the inside out, and to locate something real - maybe hidden but truthful - in the life of someone we've all decided we know everything about already," Streep said.

The BAFTAs are Britain's equivalent of the Academy Awards and are a strong indicator of who may win on Hollywood's biggest night, February 26th.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.