Film, TV and the Arts

Film, TV and the Arts

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Can anything stop The Artist?

Michel Hazanvicius continues The Artist's winning streak at DGAs

The Artist’s seemingly inexorable march toward numerous Oscar gongs continued last night when Michel Hazanavicius was named as “Director of the Year” by the Director’s Guild of America, a reliable indicator of Oscar success. This goes with its victory at the Producer’s Guild Awards last week, all of which seem to indicate that the French, black-and-white silent film is going to do extremely well when the Academy hands out its awards in just under a month.

Can anything stop it? Well, it seems highly unlikely. The electorate of the Academy has a very big overlap with the respective guilds and, though some are inclined to vote differently when they’re handing out twenty-odd awards rather than just one or two, it is very rare that they deviate too much from how they voted for their guilds.

It has happened though, but usually when the three major guilds (Producers, Directors and Actors) fail to concur with one another. The most notable recent such occurrence was when Brokeback Mountain swept the board at the Producer’s and Director’s guilds, but lost out at the Screen Actors’ Guild, who went for Crash. That film pulled off a shock by beating Brokeback to the Best Picture Oscar.

The Screen Actors’ Guild awards are held tonight, and they’re results will almost complete the sketch of how we will expect the Oscars to go. If The Artist wins the Best Ensemble award, then it will be unstoppable in its assault on the Best Picture prize. It would take something extraordinary to prevent it from winning. However, tonight it will face stiff competition from The Help, whose civil rights theme holds awards appeal and whose large ensemble makes it more appealing to SAG voters.

As for Hazanavicius, he must now be the favourite for the Best Director prize, but I have a suspicion that Martin Scorsese may sneak it. There is a lot of affection for Marty and even more guilt that he hasn’t won the Oscars he deserved. The Academy also seem to really like Hugo, so they may decide to give Scorsese the conciliation of a Best Director gong. Other than that, the Oscar race is looking increasingly predictable.

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