Will The Artist be to The Oscars what Adele’s 21 was to The Grammys?
Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company
Both are reminiscent of an earlier time. In the case of The Artist, that influence is a bit more pronounced. The very idea of a silent film in 2011 or 2012 sounds like a joke (and black-and-white films aren’t quite trending these days either). Adele’s record has very little of the hip-hop or dance music production values that are common among 20-something hit-makers. While not quite a throwback, it does harken back to classic music values. Both 21 and The Artist benefited from word of mouth, and they both had wide appeal across different age groups and demographics.
With the world seemingly spinning out of control, there’s something comforting and relatable about Adele singing timeless songs about heartache. And similarly, audiences and critics are responding to The Artist, which has both simplicity and elegance, and pulls off the difficult task of appealing to both film snobs and those of us who simply enjoy a good time at the movies.
The Artist has 10 Oscar nominations, and has already taken home trophies in various categories from The Producers Guild, The Screen Actors Guild, The Directors Guild, The Golden Globes (where it won Best Picture, Comedy Or Musical), the BAFTA Awards and the Critics’ Choice Awards. So look for the silent film to trounce the talkies, particularly in Best Picture, but also (maybe) in some of the acting categories.
George Clooney (L) and Brad Pitt (Photo Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
The Artist’s Jean Dujardin was the centerpiece of the film, and has to be in the running for Best Actor. But you can’t rule out Descendants star George Clooney, who played a heartbroken husband who (spoiler!) finds out his wife was having an affair only after she falls into a coma. The Academy loves big movie stars doing smaller-budget, story-driven films. Oh, and they love George Clooney. Also, don’t count out Brad Pitt from Moneyball. Brad is 0 for 2 at the Oscars, but his role as Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane, who took the budget-challenged team to the postseason, is the type of winning-underdog fare that Oscar voters love.
Best Actress is an Artist-free field. Two-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep has her 17th nomination this year for her role in The Iron Lady playing Margaret Thatcher. Another strong contender in this race is Michelle Williams for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn (Williams has already won a Golden Globe for the role). Rooney Mara’s Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo got raves, but the film hasn’t performed as well as expected, and 2012 doesn’t seem to be the year for dark, edgy, violent fare. It’s notable that Trent Reznor, who won the Oscar for his score to The Social Network last year, wasn’t even nominated for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo this year.
Berenice Bejo (L) and Michelle Williams (Photo Credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)
The Artist’s Berenice Bejo may well charm Oscar voters the way her character Peppy Miller charmed America in the film. Don’t be surprised to see this previously unknown (in the U.S.) actress mugging for the cameras with a shiny new trophy for Best Supporting Actress. Best Supporting Actor (also an Artist-free field) is a tougher category to predict: Nick Nolte may pull a surprise win for the little-seen Warrior.
Have you seen The Artist yet? And what are your Oscar predictions? Sound off in the comments section below.
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Brian Ives is the Classic Rock/Classic Hits Producer for CBS Local Digital Media. Follow him on Twitter at @noexpiration.