Published: 14:24 02/02/2012
The 84th Academy Awards ceremony promises to be an intriguing affair with, we hope, a major upset to the money-making Hollywood machine. In terms of numbers of nominations, Martin Scorsese’s 3-D blockbuster Hugo wins outright with 11 but the (largely) silent movie, The Artist is in the chase with 10. Although Hugo will undoubtedly perform well in the awards for technical prowess, The Artist is a true original and its unique format, together with terrific acting (including that of little Jack Russell, Uggie!) and its tribute to Hollywood itself, make it the front runner for Best Picture.
The Artist is a French comedic drama, directed by Michel Hazanavicius, and starring Jean Dujardin as George Valentin, a silent film star in decline, and Berenice Bejo as Peppy Miller, a rising actress in the talkies. The film was destined for the art house market until it was snapped up by movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein, and released to wider acclaim. It performed well at the Golden Globes with 6 nominations and 3 wins – for Best Motions Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Original Score and Best Actor – Musical or Comedy.
And the odds are that it will perform well again at the 2012 Oscars also. The bookies are increasingly bullish about its chances to win the Best Picture award. Just a couple of weeks ago bookmaker Ladbrokes was offering betting odds of 4/11 for a win. Hugo was offered at odds of 10/1, again from Ladbrokes, with The Descendents at 4/1 from Bet365. Steven Spielberg’s Warhorse was offered at odds of 10/1 from Paddy Power.
How things have changed! Now, at the beginning of February, The Artist still leads the field but its odds have shortened considerably to 1/5 with The Descendent moving out slightly to odds of 13/2, Hugo now languishing at 18/1 (with bookie Bet365) and the Warhorse slumped to betting odds of 40/1(Bet365 and Skybet).
Is The Artist a shoo-in? The bookmakers think so but in the past 45 years only 3 winners of the Golden Globes musical/comedy category have gone on to win the Best Picture award at the Oscars. There is a terrific buzz surrounding The Artist, bolstered by the Weinstein marketing machine, so its intrinsic value may prove these statistics wrong. Wait and see...
The 84th Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday 26 February, which gives you plenty of time to see The Artist at the cinema and perhaps have a flutter on the result of the Best Picture category.