Leading article: Continental shift

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A long time ago, the Chariots Of Fire screenwriter Colin Welland warned Hollywood that "the British are coming". But, quite unfairly, no one gave Tinseltown a heads up about the imminent European invasion. By the time the Los Angeles-based film community knew it was under attack at the Oscars two nights ago, it was too late. The French actress Marion Cotillard had captured the best actress award for portraying Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose. Javier Bardem, from Spain, had taken the best supporting actor trophy for his psychopathic performance in No Country For Old Men.

Then there was the successful charge of the Anglo-Irish Daniel Day-Lewis for the best actor award, thanks to his dirty work in There Will Be Blood, followed by Tilda Swinton's triumphant campaign to take the best supporting actress Oscar for Britain for her role in Michael Clayton. There was a victory, too, for the Italian-born composer Dario Marianelli for his work on Atonement.

Never has there been a European night at the Oscars quite like it. As if to make the new order yet more obvious, Senor Bardem even delivered some of his speech in Spanish. So why, in the wake of this victory for Old Europe, does life seem a little emptier this morning on this side of the Atlantic?

European triumphs are all very well and indeed a credit to the good taste of the US movie industry, but if all of our top acting talent scarpers for the Hollywood Hills, who is going to star in our esoteric, stubbornly uncommercial art-house films? Maybe America should send us Hilary Swank and George Clooney in exchange. Consider it a celluloid job swap.

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