The Critics Choice Awards, a reliable Oscar-indicator, was a big night for "The Help," and silent film, "The Artist."
The cast of "The Help," an adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's best-selling novel about black maids in the 1960s, won best acting ensemble, Voila Davis won best actress and Octavia Spencer, best supporting actress.
"I absolutely knew I wanted to be an actor because I wanted to be somebody," an emotional Davis said accepting her award. "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."
"The Artist," a black-and-white silent film took home the most awards claiming trophies for best picture, score, costume, design and director.
"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."
Others who accepted trophies at the lavish Hollywood Palladium ceremony 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."
"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.