As if the fleets of limos and drunken starlets in sequined minis stumbling down Sunset Boulevard’s less seedy corridors weren’t enough, the traffic jams at the closed off corners around The Not-The-Kodak-Anymore Theater have confirmed it — it’s Oscar weekend. All around town fragile egos are ringing like crystal bells of fear, the well-tended faade of breezy self-confidence being chiefly supported by copious amounts of designer alcohol drained at endless soirees. And with Gallic charmer The Artist shockingly poised to sweep the Oscars thanks to Harvey Weinstein’s dark arts, good luck finding a decent bottle of champagne. There haven’t been this many spontaneous exclamations of jubilation in French heard around Los Angeles since D-Day.
I for one will be riding with the Gallic tide when I phone in my picks to the bookie. Like pretty much every other Oscar “expert” out there — i.e. I argue with friends over whiskey about who deserved best picture more, Sunset Blvd. or All About Eve (exciting, I know!) — I fully expect The Artist to take Best Picture, Best Director and Best Editing. (Best Cinematography will go to Emanuel Lubezki for figuring out how to light Creation in Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, working title: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Everything But We’re Too Existentially Overwhelmed to Ask). Hazanavicius certainly deserves the Directing and Editing awards for a film whose excellence was almost fully predicated on the precision and perfection of its execution. The magic of the The Artist is how it manages to capture the marvelous lost beauty of silent films in a modern package that contemporary audiences can embrace. And Jean Dujardin, he of the ridiculously strong jaw (I bet his chin alone can bench 250), stands a chance of claiming best actor. Though, here, I think is where the surprises will lie.
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