'THE Artist' waltzed away with its first wins of Hollywood's awards season.
The black and white ode to the silent-film era, directed by Michel Hazanavicius, picked up four honours at the annual Critics' Choice Awards, presented by the 250 members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.
It won the top prize -- best picture -- as well as honours for the best score, costume design and director.
"I made a silent movie," Mr Hazanavicius joked while accepting the award for best picture. The Frenchman added: "I don't like to speak so much."
'The Help', the adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's best-selling novel about black maids speaking out about their white employers during the civil-rights movement had 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 Ms Davis said as she accepted 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 honour to pay homage to these women who were not allowed to dream and not allowed to find their purpose."
Others who accepted trophies at the Hollywood Palladium included George Clooney as best actor for 'The Descendants'; Christopher Plummer as best supporting actor for 'Beginners' and Thomas Horn as best young actor for 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close'.
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 make-up and best sound.