Oscar and The Artist: We’ll Always Have Paris

OK. I saw The Artist. And frankly, it didn’t leave me speechless. I enjoyed the flick and the acting. And the fact that it forced me to pay attention to the actors and story without assaulting my nervous system from beginning to end had great appeal. Still, I’m somewhat surprised that The Artist is the favorite to capture the Oscar for best picture Sunday night.

Of course, as with most matters, what do I know?

So here’s an interesting preview for the Hollywood awards show from the NYT, “Tap, Tap, Tapping on Oscar’s Door“:

All season long Michel Hazanavicius and Bérénice Bejo, the husband-and-wife writer-director and star of “The Artist,” have been recording their adventures on the awards circuit, whipping out their smartphone or digicorder at each ceremony and red carpet. It’s a memento for their kids, to show what mom and dad have been up to for the last few months. Well, the family is going to have a whopper of a home movie after Sunday if, as expected, “The Artist” wins best picture, and Mr. Hazanavicius, best director, at the Oscars.


There are other firsts about “The Artist.” It would be the first (nearly) silent film to win an Oscar in more than 80 years, and among the first with a French pedigree, though it was shot on location in Los Angeles (which Mr. Weinstein made sure to highlight around Hollywood). But its widespread support among Academy voters — the best picture winner is built on consensus, after all — has not contributed to a sense of excitement about Oscar night.

“I don’t think it’s a strong best pic field this year,” a voting member of the Academy said this week. A longtime industry insider added that, if “The Artist” were not the heavy favorite, “there would probably be a write-in candidate” for the top prize, because the other contenders are too flawed. It was, according to the insider’s e-mail, Oscar’s “worst year EVER.”

Wow. Sounds a lot like the critique of the race for the GOP presidential nod. Doesn’t appear to be much love for the front runner — or anyone else.

And if Billy Crystal flops early as the host, I just might cue up Casablanca. Hey, they aren’t making films like that any more — and during this endless campaign season, as we are bombarded with factoids about our national decline, it’s also kinda fun to return to the golden years of yesterday when America could still control its own destiny. Oops. I digress.


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