And the Oscar goes to…nothing you watchFebruary 28th, 2012 | News | No Comments »
Story and photo by Kyle Sharp
And the Oscar goes to…
The 84th Academy Awards took place February 26th and Hollywood was abuzz with Oscar festivities from the fashion to the parties, all leading up to the biggest reveal of the night, the film named Best Picture of 2011.
The nominees were a mixed bag of crowd-pleasing mainstream blockbusters and critically-acclaimed independent features but at the end of the night, when Tom Cruise pulled out the final envelope, the show’s biggest winner was…The Artist?
That’s right, in a year filled with post 9/11 dramas, a time traveling screenwriter and maids who fight for civil rights (and publicly defecate) cinema’s finest work was a dancing actor from the 1920s and a whimsical barking dog named Uggie.
If you’re reading this thinking “what’s The Artist?,” you’re not alone. The Artist is a silent film from France starring French film stars such as Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo (Dujardin won the Best Actor Oscar for his work while his co-star, Bejo was nominated for Best Supporting Actress but lost to The Help’s Octavia Spencer). As well, there are American actors, like John Goodman (TV’s Roseanne) and Missi Pyle (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Perfect Oscar-bait for an academy of film critics but not such a popular choice amongst the general movie-going public.
In retrospect, the win wasn’t such an unexpected choice as the film has won every major guild award before it including the Golden Globe in January but is it really the best film of the year? Most Durham College students would disagree. Despite The Artist being available at Durham’s Whitby AMC theatre since November, it seems most students are more attracted to sparkling vampires and amnesia love stories as no discussions I’ve had on campus have been favourable about the first silent film to be nominated since the thirties. One journalism student even went as far as to say that she didn’t know the film existed until the day of the Oscars.
Some have made the argument that the academy is out-of-touch with audiences (an article from the Los Angeles Times last week revealed 94 per cent of voters are white men over 50 years-old) and that’s not entirely true as popular movies like The Help, Bridesmaids and Harry Potter were all recognized. But with an obscure movie like The Artist picking up three major awards and receiving such a strong push from voters, it’s puzzling that an award show so keen on attracting that golden 18-25 demographic, wouldn’t recognize more films that are well received by both critics and fans.