“The Artist”: Well-deserving of Its Oscars

Not only is “The Artist” in black and white, but it’s mostly silent, too.

Back in 1983 (pre-the Mister), I couldn’t believe that “Gandhi” had beaten out “Tootsie” and “E.T.” for the Academy Award for best picture.

Then I saw it. Yep, it was totally deserving, as was Ben Kingsley as best actor.

I wasn’t about to make another Gandhian (well, it’s in MY dictionary) mistake this year. Which is why I made sure the Mister and I saw “The Artist” just hours before last night’s 84th annual Academy Awards telecast.

After we walked out of the theater (along with the rest of the early-matinee, senior-citizen crowd), three thoughts came to mind:

1) What an amazing movie! So glad we saw it.

2) “The Artist” definitely would win best picture, along with Jean Dujardin in the best-actor category.

3) Too bad the dog, Uggy, wasn’t eligible to win. He was wonderful!

Peppy Miller sticks by George Valentin.

When I explained to the Mister that “The Artist” was a silent movie, he, of course, didn’t want to see it. Perhaps he was afraid that there wouldn’t be enough noise to mask his snoring when he fell asleep during it. But he became just as big a fan of the movie as I did. As he said, it takes a lot of skill to make this kind of film so interesting. Not only was there virtually no talking, but it also was in black and white.

Fortunately, the story about a silent film star (Dujardin as George Valentin) who sees his stock plunge with the advent of talkies in the late 1920s and early ’30s kept our interest from start to finish. You couldn’t help but cheer for George and the perky starlet who not only becomes a megahit but always looks out for George, Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo).

The music, which won a well-deserved Oscar for original score, was inspiring. And Uggy, a Jack Russell terrier, was awfully cute.

“The Artist” won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it’s one of the best movies I’ve every seen. Maybe as good as “Gandhi.”

The Oscars

Octavia Spencer poses with Oscar.

There weren’t too many surprises during last night’s Oscar show . . . including that Billy Crystal can’t sing anymore. Remember that 1983 “Gandhi” win? That was the last time that the magnificent Meryl Streep won the golden statuette (“Sophie’s Choice”).

I was torn between Streep and Viola Davis (“The Help”) for best actress. I felt that Davis carried her movie, but Streep was hers (“The Iron Lady”). They were equally deserving; I wish it had been a tie vote. There was no question in my mind, of course, that Dujardin earned his best-acting award. And “The Artist” as best picture? Slam dunk!

I loved that Octavia Spencer (“The Help”) won as best supporting actress. Minny was a tough character, and Spencer played her perfectly. I’m going to Netflix “Beginners” to see if Capt. Von Trapp (aka, Christopher Plummer) deserved to be picked as best supporting actor.

Bret McKenzie (left) and Jemaine Clements during their Flight of the Conchords days.

My younger son, who pretty much ignored the telecast, was thrilled when Bret McKenzie nabbed the Oscar for best original song, “Man or Muppet?” (great tune!). My sons love “Flight of the Conchords,” McKenzie’s short-lived TV show. We just wish Bret had mentioned Jemaine (Clement) in his acceptance speech!

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