The silent film era lives again in The Artist, a loving (and entirely silent) homage to the grand Hollywood productions of the '20s. Written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius, the film follows the changing fortunes of two white-hot movie stars, silent screen legend George Valentin (Jean Dujardin, who deservedly won the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival) and rising starlet Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo). While Peppy's career takes off with the arrival of sound, George finds his prospects drying up. The movie blends dozens of silent film genres -- Chaplinesque comedy, grand melodrama and even a Rin Tin Tin rescue sequence -- into a totally enjoyable whole. No wonder The Artist has emerged as a leading Oscar contender: It's an unabashed, but entirely genuine celebration of old-school movie magic. Writer/director Michel Hazanavicius talked to us about the process of making his passion project and why he chose to shoot a black-and-white movie on color film.
Television Without Pity is a voting member of the New York Film Critics Online, an organization of New York-based online critics, which convened yesterday to hand out their annual awards honoring the best in film for 2011. The silent-film homage The Artist proved to be the big winner, going home with three awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. (We weren't alone in giving that film top honors -- The Artist has also been named Best Picture by the New York Film Critics Circle, Boston Society of Film Critics and the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics. It's also currently the closest to what resembles a frontrunner for the Best Picture Oscar.) NYFCO departed from the mainstream consensus with two less expected picks -- Michael Shannon was named Best Actor for his searing work in Take Shelter, while Joe Cornish picked up Debut Director honors for his terrific alien invasion movie, Attack the Block. For a full list of winners, along with links to our original coverage of those films, click below.
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