LONDON, England (AP) — It's spry versus spy as frothy silent movie The Artist and moody thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy lead the race for the British Academy Film Awards, 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 at a ceremony Tuesday by actors Daniel Radcliffe and Holliday Grainger, were The Descendants, Drive and The Help.
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 screen star's fall with the rise of talkies that has become an unlikely hit. On Sunday it won three Golden Globes, including best musical or comedy film.
Director Michael Hazanavicius said yesterday he and his crew had been "a bit mad to make a black-and-white silent film in 2011".
"We certainly hoped to find an audience, but the support we have received from so many people in so many different countries was unexpected, overwhelming and quite wonderful," he said.