Explain what's so great about "The Artist"

I saw it last weekend and thought it was a charming if somewhat cliched bit of fluff. I enjoyed it, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out how anyone would think it deserved awards for Best Picture and Best Actor. Is it just Harvey Weinstein’s usual gale force politicking, or does the movie have depths of meaning that were too subtle for most viewers? I don’t know anyone who’s seen it who thought it was the best move of the year, or that Jean Dujardin, who did a credible job, deserved an award for Best Actor. Maybe everyone I know who’s seen it is a lowbrow. Yes, I know that the Academy Awards are bogus, but please enlighten me about this particular movie.

Hey, I don’t like Citizen Kane. There is no reason why you have to like *The Artist. *

It was a movie about movies. Movie people like movies about movies and so they gave it lots of movie awards.

First, there’s a previous thread about the movie, where you can see why some people liked it as well as why some people didn’t.

I think one thing that helped it awards-wise was that it was about how great movies are, which is something that people who make movies and give awards to movies would obviously love. A movie about movies or about moviemakers is more relateable to actors, directors, writers, etc. than a movie about any number of other topics like baseball or maids in the South.

That it was a silent film also helped. Making a silent film is different than making a talkie in many ways, so even if a voter didn’t love the film, they’d probably be impressed and give it some points for that.

That said, I really enjoyed the movie, and have no issue with Dujardin getting best actor, because I thought he did great in a role that not just anyone could have managed. I wouldn’t really have thought of the movie as Best Picture, but I don’t know what I would have picked instead.

A majority of voters liked it that much. Majority rules. It’s quite as simple as that. Weinstein can’t make people vote for a movie they don’t like, so even bringing up his name is silly and the mark of reading too many bloggers or listening to others who read too many bloggers. Oscar bloggers are too often too ridiculously obsessed with Harvey Weinstein. It’d be funny if it weren’t so pathetic and tedious.

+1. Hollywood(people) love movies about Hollywood(themselves).

This canard is constantly brought up again and again.

The Artist is the very first Movie about Movies to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Sunset Boulevard, Singin’ in the Rain, The Player, The Bad and the Beautiful, A Star is Born…none of them won Best Picture.

In fact, it wasn’t until the 1990’s that a movie that takes place predominantly in Los Angeles won Best Picture. Up until them, New York? Yup. England? Plenty. But the city of angels? Nope.

So stop it.

I thought it did deserve to win, simply because of all the films I’ve seen in the last 12 months I found it the most engaging and enjoyable since True Grit. I called it as the Oscar winner as soon as I saw it. Either it will click for you or not. I think a key aspect is how likeable you find Dujardin’s character.

I don’t think it has great depth, but it’s a very well constructed piece of cinema. The scene with the whisky glass was particularly well done. Small things, such as Valentin’s wife blacking out his teeth on the postcard and his reaction, should be held up as a lesson to film-makers. I enjoyed thinking about silent film as a medium while watching it, and the methods directors could use to convey their stories. The pacing gave me the chance to think about such things. You could argue it was cliched and melodramatic, but viewed as a tribute to silent cinema it could be said to make full use of the medium’s tropes. Personally, I found myself laughing at the liberties they took, and that won my approval. It makes me smile to think we now have an Oscar winner where:

The third most important character is a dog, and an inter-title saying “bang!” appears on screen at the pivotal moment.

I’m looking forward to re-watching it when it comes out on DVD. Will be interesting to see how it bears up to repeat viewings.

Edited to add, anyone bringing up tired old lines about voting panels or Hollywood should consider it’s won a ton of other awards as well, and made a lot of critic’s lists. It’s won more awards than any other French film. The simple explanation is, a lot of people liked it.

Jiust curious, which movie was this? I can’t place it. Cheers.

I’m thinking (without looking it up) American Beauty

Actually, I misspoke–it was the 2000’s, with Million Dollar Baby and Crash. No Best Picture winner before that ever had its setting as L.A.

I’m inclined to agree with the OP: The Artist was cute and fun, but not exceptional. I can’t say if it deserved to win or not because the only other nominee I saw was Midnight in Paris. I didn’t think Dujardin was particularly great either.

I thought it was good, not great, but that’s the state of American movies these days, good is deserving of the Oscar. Personally, I thought Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was the best movie of the year.

If the public voted for “Best Picture” it would have gone to The Bridesmaids.
The real question is this …

Tree Of Life ?
Why did that boring, self indulgent tripe deserve a Best picture nomination?
I couldn’t stop laughing AT it.
My husband, who is an actual Academy voter, thought The Artist and Tree of Life were great.

My “best picture” was The Descendants. Without a doubt.

Oh well. The Weinstein does it again.

Because some of us thought it was brilliant and profoundly moving, perhaps? I’m just glad I wasn’t in the theater with you.

Interesting, because neither film you mention was an American movie at all.

I thought The Artist was an absolute masterpiece. Groundbreaking? Of course not; it was 99% pastiche.

But I thought it was masterfully executed, beautifully shot, unique, and entertaining throughout.

I walked out of the theatre immediately thinking it was going to win an Oscar.

When I see some of the replies in threads like this, I tend to think of the theory of cognitive dissonance. People have two conflicting pieces of information, such as “I didn’t like this” and “this is widely acclaimed”, and have a tendency to seek rationalisations. The Artist has a score of 89 on Metacritic, 8.4 on IMDB (based on over 40,000 votes), and is 97% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s the list of awards it’s won. A lot of people, both critics and the public, really liked it. Talk of voting panels and movies about movies simply doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. I find it much more interesting to hear why people didn’t enjoy it on a personal level.

At the end of the day, there are no objective criteria for judging a film. Personal preferences have more bearing on enjoyment than anything else. I understand why some people are describing The Artist as cliched, melodramatic and unoriginal. I don’t entirely disagree with any of those points, but I don’t think it’s the whole story. Ask yourself, how many works you like can be described in those terms? In film-making, the importance of execution shouldn’t be underestimated. There were a few small moments in The Artist that gave me more pleasure than many a spectacular action scene.

More sad than interesting, but yeah, American studios don’t make very good movies anymore

It won because most of the other nominees were crap. Why “Beginners” wasn’t nominated is beyond me.

From comments I’ve had while walking my dog, and on my Facebook page, and people seriously suggesting I get my dog an agent, it seems to be because it featured a very cute dog.