"No one is talking about the possibility, the serious possibility, that 'The Artist' could not only be nominated for Best Picture but could WIN," writes Sasha Stone at Awards Daily. "The strange thing about 'The Artist' is that it has everything a stealthy Best Picture winner needs — it’s the movie everybody loves and the movie nobody thinks can win. Sounds a lot like 'Slumdog Millionaire.'"
Stone is right. A lot of top pundits not only believe it will be nominated for best picture but that it will take the big prize: Dave Karger (Entertainment Weekly) and Guy Lodge (In Contention). Over at Gold Derby, most Oscarologists rank it very high up even if they don't predict it will win.
Stone's comparison to "Slumdog Millionaire" is apt. Both films feature lovebirds battling poverty and catastrophic hardship and both have extremely clever, upbeat finales that send moviegoers soaring out of the theater. "The Artist" may have extra appeal to film-industry voters because it's about Hollywood -- that is, the town's transition in the 1920s from silent movies to talkies.
"The Artist" is a black-and-white silent film -- normally two detriments. However, in this case, those factors make the film so different nowadays that it's cool. In olden days, back when talkies were first appearing to muzzle silent flicks forever, a silent film actually won best picture at the Oscars, at the very first ceremony: "Wings." Could it turn out that it may not be the last?
-- Tom O'Neil
Photo: Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo in "The Artist." Credit: The Weinstein Co.