Silent movie The Artist secured the most nominations for Britain's BAFTAs Tuesday, just pipping Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in a key indicator ahead of the Oscars next month. US actress Meryl Streep's portrayal of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady also goes up against Michelle Williams's role as Marilyn Monroe at Britain's biggest film awards.
The haul of 12 nominations for the French-directed The Artist comes just two days after it topped the winners at the Golden Globes awards in the United States. Billed as a tribute to the silent movie era, the film tells the story of silent star George Valentin (played by French actor Jean Dujardin) whose career is torpedoed by the arrival of the "talkies."
Cold War thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, based on John le Carre's bestselling novel and directed by Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson, follows with 11. Hugo, Martin Scorsese's first children's film, has nine nominations including best director, My Week With Marilyn has six while The Help and Steven Spielberg's War Horse both have five.
Best actor nominees include Hollywood stars Brad Pitt, for baseball movie Moneyball, and George Clooney for The Descendants, a Hawaii-based family drama. Clooney won best actor and The Descendants won best film at the Golden Globes, where Streep also won for best actress.
The other best actor nominees at the BAFTAs are Dujardin for The Artist, British actor Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Irish-German star Michael Fassbender for sex-addiction movie Shame.
In the best actress category at the BAFTAS, Britain's Tilda Swinton wins a nod for her part in We Need To Talk About Kevin, about a teenage killer, while Berenice Bejo is nominated for The Artist.