The Artist has its first wins of the awards season.
The black-and-white silent film directed by Michel Hazanavicius led winners with four honours at the 17th annual Critics' Choice Awards.
The Artist waltzed away with trophies for best picture, score, costume design and director.
The winners in the acting categories included George Clooney as best actor for The Descendants, Viola Davis as best actress for The Help, Christopher Plummer as best supporting actor for Beginners, Octavia Spencer for best supporting actress for The Help, 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 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 for best make-up and best sound.
"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 black maids speaking out about their white employers during the civil-rights movement, followed 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 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 honour to pay homage to these women at this time period who were not allowed to dream and not allowed to find their purpose."
SLIDESHOW: Critics' Choice red carpet photos