"The Artist" shines at the French Film Awards - but what will the Americans think?


Better late than never - After making a last minute decision to see The Artist this afternoon, I rushed to the movie theatre and sank into my seat just as the movie started. Slightly annoyed that the woman next to me insisted on humming along with most of the songs, I'm thankful that I resisted the urge to ask her to be quiet because when the movie was over, she turned to me and said enthusiastically in French, "I hope that the Americans like it!" Assuring her that the French film was highly entertaining, she shook her head and said that she was worried that George Clooney would win the Academy Award for best male actor in a leading role. Having found Clooney's portrayal of a grieving husband to be lacking on so many levels in "The Descendants", I told her that I don't think that he'll be going home with an Oscar tomorrow night. She beamed and confided that she hopes that the The Artist will reign supreme in Los Angeles and that Jean Dujardin will be the first French-born actor to win the Oscar for a lead role. It seems that there's a lot more at stake than just a gold statue. It's a question of national pride - no wonder that Dujardin started singing the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, when he as asked what it would mean to him and to his country if he goes on to win the Academy Award after winning "best actor" at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.


While The Artist won a total of six Cesars for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Music at the French Film Awards in Paris last night, the Cesar for Best Actor went to Omar Sy for his performance in the feel-good box office blockbuster Intouchables. According to a recent article in The New York Times, the movie will soon have an American remake produced by Will Smith. As Stephane and I thoroughly enjoyed the heartwarming tale about the friendship that develops between a wealthy quadriplegic and his caretaker, I'll be curious to see how this movie is adapted for American audiences.

Any thoughts about how The Artist or other movies will do tomorrow night? As always, I won't find out the winners until I wake up Monday morning.


Comments

  1. I LOVED The Artist!!! So so much. I did not see it in theatres but on a plane and can only imagine how much better it would be on the big screen. I'm very enthralled with that time period and watching Peppy Miller dance away made me want to be her and be in the movies in Old Hollywood. I know that the movie created a lot of buzz in NYC, so I only hope that it does well at the Oscars! Only Monday will tell!

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    1. I loved it, too! The character of Peppy Miller is a real go-getter - Bérénice Bejo did an impressive job portraying Peppy's "can do" attitude and compassionate nature.

      You should think about being an extra in some of the films that they shoot in Paris. It's something that I've thought about after reading that some directors especially look for Americans to be in the background in some movies because they want authentic looking American tourists.

      Click here for more info. on being an extra.

      Maybe Ella has some more information for us!

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    2. My former roommate did extra work in Paris (he was in The Tourist), he said it was torture and that he'd never do it again.

      Doing it in LA is one thing because the weather is mild, but in NY and Paris, you have to make sure the day is perfect otherwise you're huddling under a tent freezing or burning up with 50 other pissed off extras. You kind of get treated like merde!

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    3. Poof! There go my dreams of being an extra in Paris! Although, I may still have to try it because it would be such a unique thing to do since I've never lived anywhere where they make movies on a regular basis.

      Thanks for the additional information!

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  2. It's so exciting to be here during the Academy Awards! I have my champagne chilling in the fridge. I'll be sure to root for Team Francais! Woo hoo Allez "Jean of the Garden" !!!

    Croisez les doigts!

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    1. Yeah, you're definitely in the right place at the right time for the Academy Awards! With hindsight, I should have gone to the Theatre du Chatelet on Friday night to see if I could get a glimpse of any of the stars walking down the red carpet. I'll have to plan better next year.

      Good to know that we've got you pulling for Team Francais in LA! Have fun tonight!

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    2. Woooooo hooooo!!! The Artist kicked some Hollywood ass tonight!! Too good!

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    3. It was so exciting to wake up on Monday morning and see the list of winners!

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  3. For better or worse, the Oscar winners are rarely chosen on their merit alone. Often it is as much about the person as the performance. That said, while George was the front-runner early on, Jean has completely charmed everyone during Award season, including Mr. Clooney!

    Odds are that "The Artist" and it's Director will win...and Jean will ultimately make France proud ;)

    By the way, IMHO, I also think Woody Allen will win Best Original Screenplay for "Midnight in Paris"...the Academy loves him even if he hates awards. Octavia Spencer (everyone's favorite personal story) and Christopher Plummer (he has the "age" factor) are locks in the Supporting categories. While Viola Davis and Meryl Streep are a toss up for Best Actress, I suspect Viola will be taking home Oscar.

    ...the countdown is on and I'm giddy for tomorrow to come!
    dekage

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    1. It's so true what you say about politics - they decided to take down the particularly provocative movie posters for Jean's new movie because they were worried that they would turn people against him right before the Academy Awards. The posters show him holding a woman's bare legs and are thought to be degrading to women. If you haven't heard about it, here's the link for a BBC article.

      I haven't seen "The Help" yet, although I may have to stay at home and watch it today. Even though we didn't particularly like "The Iron Lady", Stephane and I agreed that Meryl Streep's performance as Margaret Thatcher was amazing...but isn't it always.

      Enjoy the show tonight!

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  4. Funny you (anonymous) said that about charm - I haven't been following the Oscar race (or seen many of the films, including "The Artist") but I remember reading somewhere that Jean spoke extremely poor English and whoever the writer was thought that this would harm his chances of getting an Oscar, since, as you say, politics and personality and so on are big factors.

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    1. It's interesting that you mention his English skills because Jean Dujardin's character only speaks two words in "The Artist" - I won't say more because it would give away the final twist at the end. Anyway, I was surprised to hear him during the interview after the SAG awards because he speaks English much better than I had expected. Maybe he took intensive English lessons after "The Artist" started getting so much attention.

      People have also speculated that the provocative movie posters for his recent film may have an adverse impact on his chances. We'll see.... According to the "Countdown to the Oscars" clock, there are only 13 more hours and 57 minutes to go!

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  5. Ah Gwan, I think it is exactly that he makes the effort (along with a charming little smile and shrug) that has worked in his favor...much as many tourist to Paris like me attempt, no?
    dekage

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  6. In my building Oscar pool and online at NYTimes. I have The Artist to win Best Picture and Best Director but not Best Actor, although i wish it would. I just think Mr Clooney is going to get it, and I didn't even see the movie.

    The Artist was a delight, but was slightly too long, with a dull mid-section that needed editing. I was enchanted with the stars though. She was magical on camera and who wouldn't fall for his debonair grace.

    So, we'll see.


    I would have asked the woman to stop humming, or I would have moved; but you have to do it immediately upon the noise starting, or it's too late later. I can't tolerate noise like that, especially if I don't know you. I just say, "Are you going to hum (or text or whatever) throughout the movie?" That usually does it, and they're quiet from then on out.

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    1. I've got to admit that I really hope that George Clooney doesn't win - his performance was almost painful to watch. Since I haven't seen the other contenders for best male lead, I'm pulling for Dujardin. I'll be curious to know how your picks line up with the winners.

      I thought about asking the woman to stop humming and may have if I would have been in the United States, although I hate confrontation. It's always a more complicated decision here because I don't want to come off as the ugly American by telling someone what to do in their country. I already had a run-in with a French woman in Mark & Spencers when I said that I was next in line when she tried to cut in front of me. She replied that she didn't know how it was done in London (she assumed that I was English), but said that in Paris there are normally two lines, etc., etc. Anyway, everything turned out alright with the hummer because we had a good discussion after the movie. It made up for the distraction.

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  7. I haven't seen The Artist yet, but I think Jean Dujardin has this in the bag. I hope so, because it's good to have new talent in the Hollywood gene pool, instead of seeing George Clooney and Brad Pitt all the time (not that I have anything against them). I liked that clip you posted of him, he seems endearing and charming.

    My predictions are:

    Best Picture- The Artist
    Best Director- Michel Hazanavicius
    Best Actor- Jean Dujardin
    Best Actress- Viola Davis (I hope; she was wonderful, and she needs the accolades more than Streep does)
    Best Supporting Actor- Christopher Plummer
    Best Supporting Actress- Octavia Spencer
    Best Foreign Film- A Separation (Iran)
    Best Original Screenplay- Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
    Best Adapted Screenplay- Alexander Payne, et al, "The Descendants"

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    1. Well done - you did a great job picking the winners! Next question - who's going to win the presidential elections in the USA?

      I watched "The Help" on Sunday afternoon and thought that Viola Davis had a very good chance of taking home an Oscar.

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  8. Ah! Just saw the conclusion to the Academy Awards. Congratulations to The Artist!

    Wish I could be in Paris this evening!!!

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    1. I don't know about Sunday night, but there were lots of happy people on Monday morning! The Twitter feed was full of excited Tweets about The Artist's big evening.

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  9. Well, as you know by now, I was right about everything except Viola Davis. Oh well, Meryl Streep is a freakishly good actress and she gave a funny, humble, and wonderfully heartfelt speech. I just hope Davis gets another chance to win soon.

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    1. Did you use a crystal ball to make your predictions or are you just really in tune with the movie industry? ;) I agree that Meryl Streep's performances are always freakishly good - she even did a wonderful job in Mamma Mia where I thought that she was miscast. And as you said, her acceptance speech really did hit just the right note.

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  10. I keep track of the pre-Oscar award shows like a big dork. That makes it a lot easier to predict than the presidential race. :)

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  11. Mary Kay,

    I'm in Paris and found your blog because I want to see the Artist while I'm here. Did you see it in French or English? Is there anywhere I can see it in English today or tomorrow?

    Thanks!
    Robyn
    (I also tweeted you this question - I'm pretty desperate!)

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  12. Sorry, Robyn - I can't find your tweet to answer you on Twitter. Check out the following link for the showtimes. It really doesn't matter that much if the movie is shown in English or not because it's a silent film. There are just a few subtitles that aren't that important.

    Showtimes for The Artist

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