January 3rd, 2012

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The Artist

There was a lotta pressure riding on this movie. I've seen pretty much all the other Best Picture frontrunners and haven't been particularly impressed. Yes, some were enjoyable, but none really screamed out "this should win" like some past ones have. I needed a movie that would get me excited to root for this awards season, and The Artist was my last hope. I was a bit worried because I've strongly disliked most silents I've seen, and I was also worried that this would be too artsy (no pun intended). So it was with bated breath that I hauled ass from a slightly later than usual evening at work to the Kendall. And might I add, this is the first time I've seen everything that's playing at that theater. There's usually at least one that's too indie or obscure or foreign for even me to be interested in. Have I dragged out the suspense enough? Do we (and by we I really mean me and my faithful readership of 2? 3?) want a verdict on The Artist? Ladies and gentlemen (all 2 or 3 of you), we have my early pick for Best Picture!

I'm not saying it was my favorite film of the past year, although the way I do things, it technically counts towards 2012 not 2011 since I go by the date I saw a film not its release date. So then in that case, since it's one of two movies I've seen this year, and it was the one I enjoyed more, then yes, we have my favorite film of THIS year. But I digress. As far as what I think makes a "Best Picture" and how the Academy should and likely would vote, this is where I'm throwing my support (of course, subject to change once the official nominations are out, and I'm always allowed to change my mind). From the first words thrown on the first dialogue card, I was sold.

In short, the film was just absolutely beautiful on so many levels. You take for granted how expressive someone can be without words, but Jean Dujardin displayed a whole plethora of emotion without making a sound. Truly one of the best performances of the past year at least, and stunning in its simplicity. He's pretty much set for an Oscar nod, and part of me wants to see him win. Although I mostly just wanna see that because he's promised to give a silent acceptance speech if he does take home the gold. I think a big part of why I didnt like some of the other silents I've seen were that they relied too much on physical comedy and visual humor. While there was some of that here, it really was the emotions that drove it, not cheap sight gags. But even then, there were some really clever bits that I found funny. Oh and there was tap dancing!!

I cannot over emphasize how important the score is for a silent. That's what killed Nosferatu (the movie, not my cat, he's still alive) for me when I tried watching it. There was a full orchestra score that was just bad and didnt fit or an organ only one that fit better, but really, just organ for 90 min? The music for The Artist was fantastic. Very much the cherry on top for the pretty picture painted by the film.

Another big reason why I think it's a solid contender is that this is a once in a generation type of film. A huge factor in why it works is that it is unique. If someone else tried to put together a silent movie about the silent movie industries any time in the near future, it just would not work. It's like the stars aligned for this one ode to classic cinema, and they have shown favor on it. Okay, now I'm overly gushing, but I think I've made my point, yeah?

The Artist - \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/