2012 Oscar nominees

Academy Award Winner

So the Oscar nominations are out…

Hugo leads the field with 11 nominations but I am very pleased to see The Artist is not far behind with 10. I am very much hoping when I turn on Breakfast News on Monday 27th February it is all about the Artist winning. I’d be highly surprised if Meryl Streep doesn’t get Best Actress. As for the remainder of the acting awards, there are clearly front runners including George Clooney for Best Actor but none are as predictable as Streep especially given Dujardin’s Golden Globe and critics choice award. Maybe the BAFTAs will give some indication …

The nominations in full are:

Best Picture

War Horse

The Tree of Life

The Artist

Moneyball

The Descendants

Midnight in Paris

The Help

Hugo

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

BEST DIRECTOR

Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist

Alexander Payne – The Descendants

Hugo – Martin Scorsese

Midnight in Paris – Woody Allen

Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life

BEST ACTOR

Jean Dujardin – The Artist

Demian Bichir – A Better Life

Brad Pitt – Moneyball

George Clooney – The Descendants

Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

BEST ACTRESS

Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs

Viola Davis – The Help

Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady

Michelle Williams – My Week With Marilyn

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Kenneth Branagh – My Week With Marilyn

Jonah Hill – Moneyball

Nick Nolte – Warrior

Christopher Plummer – Beginners

Max von Sydow – Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Berenice Bejo – The Artist

Jessica Chastain – The Help

Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids

Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs

Octavia Spencer – The Help

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Bullhead – Belgium

Footnote – Israel

In Darkness – Poland

Monsieur Lazhar – Canada

A Separation – Iran

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius

Bridesmaids – Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig

Margin Call – JC Chandor

Midnight in Paris – Woody Allen

A Separation – Asghar Farhadi

BEST ANIMATION

A Cat in Paris

Chico and Rita

Kung Fu Panda 2

Puss in Boots

Rango

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The Descendants – Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash

Hugo – John Logan

The Ides of March – George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon

Moneyball – Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. Story by Stan Chervin.

Tinker Tailor Solider Spy – Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan

BEST ART DIRECTION

The Artist

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2

Hugo

Midnight in Paris

War Horse

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

The Artist

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Hugo

The Tree of Life

War Horse

BEST SOUND MIXING

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Hugo

Moneyball

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

War Horse

BEST SOUND EDITING

Drive

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Hugo

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

War Horse

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

Man or Muppet from The Muppets – music and lyrics by Bret McKenzie

Real in Rio from Rio – music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown and lyrics by Siedah Garrett

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

The Adventures of Tintin

The Artist

Hugo

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

War Horse

BEST COSTUMES

Anonymous

The Artist

Hugo

Jane Eyre

W.E.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Hell and Back Again

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

Pina

Undefeated

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT

The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement

God is the Bigger Elvis

Incident in New Baghdad

Saving Face

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

BEST FILM EDITING

The Artist

The Descendants

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Hugo

Moneyball

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

Dimanche/Sunday

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore

La Luna

A Morning Stroll

Wild Life

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

Penecost

Raju

The Shore

Time Freak

Tuba Atlantic

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Hugo

Real Steel

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

BEST MAKE-UP

Albert Nobbs

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

The Iron Lady

 

The Artist (2011)


No words can really do justice to this film. It is both a love film and a love letter to film. It is beautiful. We cried, we laughed, we jumped and at the end we clapped.

It is a film about silent, black and white films. It is silent (well almost entirely) and it is black and white. This I fear will put people off but don’t be put off. Get out of your comfort zone and watch it. You will not see a finer film for some time. Director Michel Hazanavicius is a genius.

This is a story that has been told before. The story of a man who is a huge star who meets a woman who wants to be a star. As her star rises, his star falls and it ends with a scene to make you want to watch it all over again.This is a story of gender reversal, ability to adapt to change and romance. All executed with style, humour and tenderness. There is an amazing scene stealing dog (Uggie), a brooding leading man (Jean Dujardin as George Valentin), a funny leading lady (Bérénice Bejo as Peppy Miller) and a full orchestral score by Ludovic Bource that makes you wonder why you need words. The Artist moves you in a way that cgi and speech just don’t. There’s no sex but we know there is passion. There are no loud explosions and yet we jumped out of our seats.

Jean Dujardin seems to have channeled every matinee idol you can name. There are glimpses of Ruldolph Valentino, Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, Cary Grant and later stars such as Gene Kelly. Bérénice Bejo uses the physical comedy of the time to steal scenes and keep the laughs coming. It is wonderful to be reminded of a time before the second world war when women such as Katherine Hepburn and Rosalind Russell were playing comedy roles with aplomb and matching the men for laughs.

For the film lover there are the references to films made in the years when talkies took over. Look out of tributes to Citizen Kane in the breakfast scenes, Singin’ in the Rain and A Star is Born throughout and film noir symbolism (the use of mirrors to show a certain duplicity is straight out of many noir films).

The Artist raises the question: What is film? Is it actually the experience of watching moving images and did we lose something when Al Jolson sang in The Jazz Singer? This is all about the visual. All about experiencing the images. Even the inter-titles are sparsely used. The few words and sounds uttered are not wasted. They remind you of what we’d have missed without the coming of sound. You can’t tap dance if there is no sound.

I don’t want to give away plot points. I want to tell you all to go out and watch it and I hope after watching this nobody will say when recommended a film “oh I don’t want to watch that it is black and white.”

The Artist won’t change your life, some may say it is a whimsical (but that is what the golden age of Hollywood is all about) and it probably has more meaning for some film goers than others but it is (to quote my friend Sam) “ACE as well as being all deep.”

If you need any more convincing here is the trailer: