It may have surprised many people that a silent French movie took home all the big trophies at this year’s Academy Awards (including Best Picture, Director and Actor), but the “trophy seeds” were sewn long ago – beginning with a Palme d’Or nomination at Cannes 12 months prior and a terrific reception last September at the Toronto International Film Festival. Just like movies of the silent era, The Artist was filmed entirely in black and white and without a single word of dialogue. It’s the tale of a silent- era film actor (Best Actor winner Jean Dujardin) whose star is quickly fading with the invention of the talkie. As spoken dialogue begins to replace title cards and the exaggerated acting style, our hero, George, finds his career at a crossroads. At the same time, a young ingenue, Peppy (Oscar nominee Be¥re¥nice Bejo), who had been mentored by George, quickly rises to become one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Dujardin bested Brad Pitt and George Clooney at the Academy Awards and became the first Frenchman to win a Best Actor Oscar. The Artist received 10 Oscar nominations, won five, was showered with critical praise and totally charmed the box office. Nicely done.
Watch it now on TMN!