Oscars Betting: Why The Artist won't win Best Picture

Oscars RSS / / 24 February 2012 / Leave a Comment

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The Contrarian believes The Artist won't win Best Picture

The Contrarian believes The Artist won't win Best Picture

"The Artist is all about the relationship between silent movie star George Valentin and sound film up-and-comer Peppy Miller, and as a consequence may be judged too lovey-dovey for the Academy’s tastes."

The Artist is a staggering [1.09] favourite to earn the Best Picture award at this weekend's Oscars. While the Contrarian is hugely sympathetic towards movies about troubled gentlemen in smoking jackets, he has four good reasons for opposing the clear market leader...

There's no consensus with the Golden Globes

One of the reasons that The Artist is so widely fancied to be named Best Picture is that it was given the prize for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes. However, recent history indicates that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who decide the fate of the Oscars, rarely find themselves in agreement with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who stage the Globes. In just one of the last seven years has the winner of one of the two Golden Globes Best Motion Picture awards won the equivalent gong at the Oscars - Slumdog Millionaire three years ago. In that period, eight Globes winners made it onto the Oscars shortlist before being overlooked.

Contemporary appeal is considerable

It is rare for films focussing on a distant era to scoop the Best Picture honour at the Oscars, with three of the last five winners set in the 21st century and another (No Country For Old Men) set only a few decades prior. The one genuine exception of the last seven years was The King's Speech. The Artist is based on an even earlier period, the late 1920s and early 1930s, and themes of the era, primarily the demise of silent cinema, are key to the plot. You have to go back nine years to find the last time a film staged so far back triumphed - Chicago - and that was one of the few Globes and Oscars double winners. Admittedly, there are several old-school contenders this time around, but few of those are set as far back as The Artist, with the silent movie mimicry making it stand out even more, potentially to the extent that it is too niche to prevail.

Romance isn't rewarded

It seems hard to believe, given the love for love in the late 1990s as the likes of The English Patient, Titanic and American Beauty cleaned up, but romances don't fare too well at the Academy Awards these days, as this year's shortlist helps illustrate. It is arguable that Slumdog Millionaire is the sole romantic flick this century to have been chosen as Best Picture and even then that featured far more than just the love element. The Artist is all about the relationship between silent movie star George Valentin and sound film up-and-comer Peppy Miller, and as a consequence may be judged too lovey-dovey for the Academy's tastes.

Ce n'est pas possible

You'd have thought that given the high regard in which French cinema is held, The Artist would be the latest in a long line of films francais nominated for the big prize, but that isn't the case at all. Movies made by directors from five different countries have won Best Picture in the last 23 years, though it begins to look like a bit more of a closed shop when you realise that those nations were USA, Canada, England, New Zealand and Australia. Even the last winning director from a non-English speaking country, Italy's Bernardo Bertolucci, was recognised for The Last Emperor, which had a British producer and a cast packed with Chinese-Americans. The Artist is pretty much all French, from director Michel Hazanvicius to producer Thomas Langmann and lead actor Jean Dujardin. The one major exception is lead actress Berenice Bejo, and she was born in Argentina!

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