With nine nominees for Best Picture this year (including Moneyball, Midnight in Paris and The Tree of Life), the race is between Michel Hazanavicius’ black-and-white silent film The Artist and Martin Scorsese’s 3D masterpiece Hugo. Both movies are wonderful tributes to the early days of cinema and terrific films to see with the entire family. But, in my opinion, only one of these pictures is deserving of the Best Picture Oscar. The Artist, while a perfectly executed and very charming film, is not nearly as innovative, ambitious, moving or complex as Scorsese’s film. Hugo is the work of a master filmmaker at the height of his cinematic powers. With Hugo, Scorsese discovers the art in 3D technology and takes it to an entirely new level, using 3D as a storytelling device – and not only that, but doing it with his most passionate cause, film preservation, as his subject material. It will be unfortunate if the Academy chooses the hyped movie of the moment, The Artist, over a masterpiece that will live on forever. Hugo is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Best Animated Feature
With Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin surprisingly shut out from this category, it looks like Gore Verbinski’s Rango has a very good chance of winning the Best Animated Feature Oscar – and deservedly so. Rango was a brilliantly clever and gorgeously animated movie, proving that Pixar does not have a monopoly on sophisticated and masterful animated storytelling.
Best Original Song
Curiously, there are only two nominees for Best Original Song this year – “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets and “Real in Rio” from Rio. The Muppets will likely walk away with the Oscar, which seems appropriate – particularly since the entire category of song nominees could have been comprised of original music from The Muppets.