Argentine actress Bérénice Bejo’s "The Artist" was the talk of the night at Thursday's 17th annual Critics' Choice Awards.
The film walked away with its first win of Hollywood's awards season. "The Artist" took the evening's top prize, best picture, as well honors for best score, costume design and director.
The black-and-white ode to the silent-film era directed by Michel Hazanavicius led winners with four honors at the ceremony, presented by the 250 members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.
"I made a silent movie," French director Hazanavicius joked in English while accepting the award for best picture. "I don't like to speak so much."
"The Help," the adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's best-selling novel about African American maids speaking out about their white employers during the civil-rights movement, inched behind "The Artist" with three wins in the ceremony's acting categories: Viola Davis as best actress, Octavia Spencer as best supporting actress and the film's cast as best acting ensemble.
"I absolutely knew I wanted to be an actor because I wanted to be somebody," an emotional Davis said while accepting her award. "I wanted to dream big and make a mark somehow. That's something absolutely that Aibileen was not afforded. I considered it my honor to pay homage to these women at this time period who were not allowed to dream and not allowed to find their purpose."
Others who accepted trophies at the lavish Hollywood Palladium ceremony included George Clooney for best actor in "The Descendants," Christopher Plummer for best supporting actor in "Beginners" and Thomas Horn for best young actor in "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close."
"Frankly, I didn't even imagine I would get this, but I have," beamed a surprised Horn.
Funnymen Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel hosted the ceremony, which was broadcast live on VH1.
Other winners included "Bridesmaids" as best comedy movie, "Drive" as best action movie, "Rango" as best animated feature, "Midnight in Paris" as best original screenplay, "Moneyball" as best adapted screenplay, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" for best editing and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" for best makeup and best sound.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press