BAFTAs give Meryl Streep a chance to bare her sole

The British Academy Film Awards tend to make U.S. fetes like the Golden Globes look like a bar brawl. But decorum in public ceremony is, after all, one reason we are in awe of our British friends much of the time. And since the BAFTAs provide another hint of things to come at our own Academy Awards, we take note of who goes home with the unique masque-shaped trophies.

This year’s awards celebrated the sounds of silence — The Artist won seven awards, including best film, best director, best original screenplay, best original music, best costume design and best cinematography, and best actor (Jean Dujardin).

I guess the fact that a relatively low budget comedy won is good news, since I’ve always thought great comedy is a lot harder do pull off than great drama. But I’m not as enamored with The Artist as the rest of the world seems to be. Then again, none of the films I saw in 2011 made me leave the theater thinking “Oscar.”

Leave it to marvelous Meryl Streep to bring some spontaneity to the festivities as she took the stage to accept the Best Actress award for The Iron Lady. In her usual flustered fashion, Streep lost a shoe on the way up the stairs to the podium, giving Colin Firth the chance to play Prince Charming.

Could those two be any cuter? For the record, this was Meryl’s first BAFTA since she won for The French Lieutenant’s Woman — 30 years ago.

Octavia Spencer continued her awards sweep by taking best supporting actress in The Help and Christopher Plummer earned best supporting actor for playing a gay widower in Beginners, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy won outstanding British film.

Last year, the BAFTA winners for best picture, best actor, and best actress all won Oscars as well. What do you think — is The Artist the picture to beat at the Academy Awards? Is Meryl a shoe-in (sorry) for best actress? Do you want to marry Colin Firth as much as I do?