Sunday, February 26, 2012

"The Artist" - Best Picture.... Really?

[caption id="attachment_1387" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The Artist (2011) Poster"][/caption]"The Artist" takes place in Hollywood in 1927 right at the beginning of the "Talkies". As silent movie star George Valentin ( Jean Dujardin ) wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, he sparks with Peppy Miller ( Bérénice Bejo ), a young dancer set for a big break.

Does "The Artist" deserve Best Picture of the year? The actors Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman, did and excellent job. Uggie, the Jack Russell, was superb and deserves notoriety however did not receive any. Michel Hazanavicius did a tremendous directorial of this film. Cinematography by Guillaume Schiffman was right on the money with subtle camera tricks. However, "The Artist" does NOT deserve Best Picture from The 84th Academy Awards. NOPE... Here is why. I found myself bored and force fed throughout the picture. "The Artist" lacked an engaging story that holds the viewers attention.

For instance in "Speedy" the plot revolves around Harold 'Speedy' Swift's attempts to save the last horse-drawn trolley bus in New York. The film contrasts the speed of life of the contemporary city with the pace of yesteryear, represented by this non-motorized mode of transport. It was a very smart move for the story to be about a current day topic of the time engaging the viewer through a constant choreography of witty occurrences within the main story. "Speedy" was brilliantly done and more importantly it was the story that made it so captivating. This was the last silent film to be released in theaters. In the clip provided you'll see what I'm talking about. Please disregard the cheesy computer dialog, this was the doing of the person who posted the clip on YouTube. You'll find in "Speedy" the story delights the viewer to the level that they don't even want to blink because they will miss something poignant and funny.

"Speedy" is a 1928 silent film that was one of the films to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director of a Comedy. It starred famous comedian Harold Lloyd in the eponymous leading role. The film was written by Albert DeMond (titles), John Grey (story), J.A. Howe (story), Lex Neal (story), and Howard Emmett Rogers (story) with uncredited assistance from Al Boasberg and Paul Girard Smith. It was directed by Ted Wilde (the last silent film to be directed by him). It was shot on location in New York City. Incredible to see NYC at that time.

Here is an example of a short silent film I shot for a client. Interesting how the male character looks similar to Jean Dujardin of "The Artist"! I also used a dancer.... that's a coincidence. If you'd like to see the stop animation version go to my blog Magic - Stop Animation & Silent Film Video by Spencer Gordon

Do you have a film or photography project to be shot?
Contact Spencer Gordon today!

Related articles:

Oscar Nominations: The Artist, a big score for a very French Film.

The Oscars and Movie Awards Season - Carpetbagger Blog -

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