Monday, February 18, 2013

Best Picture Project 13, The Artist

Best Picture Project is back with the most recent winner:

The Artist, 2011

Hobo Dan: I watched The Artist after it won best picture. I had a lot of perceived notions about why it won and what made it appeal to the Oscar selection committee. They were mostly right, a silent film set in Hollywood. The film industry loves to romance about itself in film by making movies about movies. But as the film went on, I began to see something else.

I began to realize that without saying a single word, I felt true emotion for the characters. I laughed at the delivery of comedic lines I could not hear. I felt genuine sympathy for the plight of the central character. And that dog! Where was his supporting actor nod? Because they did not use title cards for most of the speech in the film, I found myself actively trying to read lips to get as must as possible. I was forced to watch the actors closely. Which lead me to realize that Jean Dujardin, the lead actor, deserves every bit of that Best Actor Oscar. He earned it.

I have honestly never watched a silent film before The Artist. I was not sure I’d be able to handle the quiet. It was refreshing. You had to pay real attention to the actor’s faces and movements. It was wonderfully done. I initially thought this was the artsy choice that Academy made because they like to snooty, but I must agree, out of all the nominees for 2011, The Artist is the best one. It may not be my favorite film from 2011, but it is the best.

The Wife: Thanks to the beauty that is Netflix, I was FINALLY able to watch last year’s Best Picture winner, The Artist. As soon as I caught wind of this movie (before it won so many Oscars), I was intrigued and wanted to see it. When I saw last year’s Best Picture nominees, without having seen The Artist, I called it as the winner. My reasoning was that well, let’s face it, the film premise appeals to the Academy. A silent picture made in 2011? Check! Not to mention it is a movie about making movies and Hollywood loves to pat itself on the back. These factors combined with the fact that it was so different from the other nominees, like The Help, Moneyball and The Descendants, to name a few, really made The Artist stand out as the clear winner.

While I did want to see The Artist, I admit I was a tad skeptical of it. I wasn’t sure if I’d really like it and consider it my Best Picture winner. Fortunately for me, I ended up absolutely loving The Artist. I enjoyed it so much that it has definitely made my list of all-time favorite movies. Prior to watching The Artist, I was concerned if I would really be able to focus and grasp the story of a silent picture. When actually the silent aspect of the film ended up enabling me to understand and be captured by the story even more so than a standard modern movie with dialogue. I really felt the emotions the actors projected. I found myself laughing hysterically at times as well as nearly tearing up during certain scenes. I both sympathized and rooted for the protagonist, played by Jean Dujardin. Dujardin’s best actor win for The Artist was certainly well deserved! Seriously though why did no one think to give the dog a supporting actor nod? The dog was pretty much my favorite character!

Not only did I enjoy the story of The Artist, but I loved the way it was executed on screen. It was a beautiful movie with fantastic acting that really made you feel with each scene. The Artist has inspired me to check out some older silent pictures. So now to answer the question: is The Artist worth its Best Picture win and the hype? Absolutely! I encourage everyone to watch this movie. Don’t be afraid of the quiet, embrace it!

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