Black-and-white silent movie “The Artist” scooped up six Cesar awards including best film and best actress on Friday in France’s annual version of the Academy Awards, further raising French hopes it could do well at the Oscars. A misty-eyed flashback to late 1920s Hollywood, the French-made film has proved an unexpected international success, bagging seven British BAFTA awards earlier this month, including best film, and a Golden Globe before that. It won best director for Michel Hazanavicius at the 37th Cesar ceremony and best actress for Berenice Bejo. Highly acclaimed Iranian family drama “A Separation” was awarded the Cesar for best foreign film and “Le Cochon de Gaza” was awarded the same prize for the best film. The Artist” also won the best movie at the Independent Spirit Awards 2012 that took place on Saturday in Santa Monica, California.The silent movie is thus a clear favourite to take the coveted best picture prize at the Oscars. The Artist has 10 nominations in total, while Martin Scorsese’s 3D family film Hugo leads the race with 11, including best film and director. The 84th Academy Awards, hosted by Billy Crystal, was due to take place on Sunday. Alongside The Artist and Hugo, those in the running include War Horse, Moneyball, The Tree Of Life, Midnight In Paris, The Help, The Descendants, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. George Clooney and Brad Pitt are both up for best actor, and Meryl Streep has her 17th Oscar nomination for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. Oscar pundits predict a close race between Streep and Viola Davies, for her performance as maid Aibileen Clark in civil rights drama The Help.