We’re about five to six hours away from the bi-annual spectacle of Hollywood lavishing an embarassing amount of praise onto a Harvey Weinstein pickup that nobody will care about within a month. I’m thinking I’ll live-tweet the Oscars this year (unless circumstances don’t permit it) so if you’re not already following my Twitter @the_moviebob now would probably be a good time…
I think what annoys me so much about the impending coronation of “The Artist” isn’t the film itself – as I’ve said elsewhere, it’s just an inoffensive little ball of feel-good nothing – but that it’s not even the best of the nominees at the things it does do: It’s not the best paean to Silents, that’s “Hugo” (flawed but ambitious beats well-executed mediocrity.) It’s not the best harmlessly-silly romantic comedy about The Good Old Days, that’s “Midnight in Paris” (which unlike “Artist” also manages to be ABOUT SOMETHING.)
“Moneyball” and “Descendants” are better “Older Gentleman Evaluating Life Choices” movies, “Tree of Life” wrings waaaaay more out of recreating the mid-50s than “Artist” gets out of the 20s… hell, I’d go so far as to say that “War Horse” does a better job channeling John Ford and Walt Disney than “Artist” does channeling it’s grab-bag of Silent influences (it also has a more likable Silent Protagonist than
Benigni Dujardin, though to be fair that horse wouldn’t have been as funny in the OSS movies…) Honestly, the only nominees I can say it’s definitively superior to are “The Help” and “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close;” and at least both of those had a touch more ambition to them, conceptually.