a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

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Oscar, a palpable presence at “The Artist” junket NYC!

Yes, I felt Oscar IN THE ROOM! There was a presence that I could really, really feel today at “The Artist”s press junket in NYC and I’ve come to the conclusion that I felt Oscar him/itself there. Everyone was sooo happy! I’ve never seen this before! EVAH! And for a comedy???

Well, Woody Allen never does press things like this. Or not much.

He did subject himself to a print media only press conference last year for “You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger” and I did meet him there. He’s wonderful. What can you say? He’s Woody. And I’ve just seen “Midnight in Paris” EIGHT TIMES!

Well, it’s gonna be a very French year at the Oscars, I predict. Between “Midnight…” and “The Artist”s charming French stars and director…I really do think it’s between the two of these light-as-air Gallic breezes of up-beat comedies for Best Picture this year.

The biggest difference? Well, let’s say DIALOGUE. “The Artist” is a silent film. And also color. “The Artist” is in Black and White. No I’m not kidding. It really IS.

What was one of Alice’s tasks in “Through the Looking Glass”? Trying to imagine eight impossible things before breakfast?

Well, you can count the improbable, but very palpable rise of “The Artist” as at least two or maybe three or maybe FOUR of those impossible things.

1) It’s in Black and White

2) It’s Silent

3) It’s French. And a French film, made by French people has never won the Oscar

4) It’s a comedy

5) It’s star Jean DuJardin as very likely a Best Actor nominee(and he may WIN. See below..)

6)It’s comely leading lady, French actress Berenice Bejos will probably be nominated for Best Supporting Actress

Oh, well, that’s SIX impossible things right there.

That this small, short(100 mins.) black and white silent film just continues like Alice herself to just rise and rise and rise ~ all the way to the Oscars…probably. Well, it’s “most improbable” is most probably what Alice would say.

There was something in the air this morning. An elan. A delightful sparkle. Something had happened to alllll those present. And I do think it was that Oscar had announced himself to all and sundry that yes, they were all going to go to the Kodak Pavillion come February.

And they ALL knew it. And all were smiling, smiling, smiling…

When I said something to this effect to Berenice Bejos, the winsome Peppy Miller, the ingenue who charlestons her way into our hearts AND the heart of “The Artist” himself, Jean Valentin, (DuJardin) this morning she said “That’s what everyone keeps telling us.” And I really did believe that everyone, and not just me, was saying this to Mlle. Bejos.

And this time it wasn’t just me (or someone like Hollywood-Elsewhere’s Jeff Wells, at www.hollywood-elsewhere.com who went off on a supportive spree for this low-budget indie “Tyrannosaur” hosting three screenings in L.A. There were only TWO in NYC, and I couldn’t make either of them.) it wasn’t just me, or Jeff, going off and on about falling in love with a movie. This time “The Artist” was a movie EVERYONE had already fallen in love with. HARD .There wasn’t a cynical smirk in the room.

And I, Oscarologist that I am, really DO feel it’s going to win something. And win something BIG like “Best Picture” or Best Actor for Jean DuJardin or maybe BOTH!

It will certainly get nominated for everything under the sun, the Hollywood sun, because yes, this satire and loving tribute to silent films, was actually made and shot in Hollywood employing many below the line technical people in L.A. where the verisimilitude of making Old Hollywood movies, really never has gone far from where it all started.

And authentic “The Artist” certainly seems to be. Except that it’s made by French people. The director the almost unpronounceable Michel(pronounced like “Michelle” as in “Michelle Williams”) wait for it. Hazanavicius. Which is pronounced like the words “Hosannah!” as it “Yippee!” andvis-e-use, as only the French can pronounce that last syllable like is “ooze.” Or “Yoose”

And it’s two out-of-ballpark charming French stars Jean DuJardin and the aforementioned Mlle. Bejos( pronounced like Bay-Jo, with a hard “j”) who is the director, M. Hazanavicius’ wife IRL.

And of course, the unseen star, Harvey Weinstein,  the canny producer who bought this French bon-bon (Tom O’Neil’s descriptive word for “The Artist” and he’s right. Read his classic Oscar site www.goldderby.com for MORE on The Race) at Cannes, mais oui, in all its’ black and white gorgeousness and Harvey, the Oscar Whisperer (as Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone calls him at www.awardsdaily.com ) is VERY effective at these improbable Oscar feats. Like perhaps grabbing an Oscar win in Best Picture for a BLACK AND WHITE film with NO DIALOGUE at all, and perhaps more likely, an Oscar for Best Actor for Jean Dujardin.

Hey, I know it sounds crazy, but he’s done this before with a foreign film actor, the Italian comedian Roberto Benigni. Yes, he DID win Best Actor. For “Life Is Beautiful” I know it sounds impossible, but this is absolutely TRUE!

So Harvey and the Academy have been down this road before. But yet, have they? I mean, this is a film that yes, is made by and stars French actors, but it’s SILENT!

Harvey is going to argue in the coming months that Jean DuJardin has had the hardest (read “degree of difficulty) role in that he has to make everyone enjoy themselves WITHOUT SAYING A WORD! Now, that’s hard!

And Best Actor is shaping up to be a smack-down(Tom O’Neil’s word again) between three very successful actors, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. All incredible handsome, RICH, and very well established stars. Knocking each other out of competition, or it seems to me, this morning, cancelling each other out….Nothing the Academy hates more than rewarding RICH, GOOD LOOKING guys. OK, GREAT looking guys.  Yeah, it’s true. Just as they LOVE rewarding beautiful young girls, like this year’s Michelle Williams. Who is beyond-belief sexy and fetching as hell, as Marilyn Monroe….The Academy is nothing if not predictable.

And I thought earlier last week(which now seems like LAST YEAR in Oscar-time) that it was going to be Leo as “J.Edgar”, but I was not prepared for the critical drubbing the film got. Homophobia pure and simple, if you ask me, but still there it was landing a low-ball and way-out-side on Rotten Tomatoes. www.rottentomatoes.com And although Leo was praised for his performance…

I think that unexpectedly harsh reception (unexpected by me, I must emphasize) has knocked him down a few pegs and you can see this reflected in Stu Van Airsdale’s Oscar Index where now Jean Dujardin sits right below George Clooney on Stu’s Oscar Index this week. www.movieline.com.

And the Gurus o’ Gold, as I said, have ONLY ONE VOTE separating “The Descendants” and “The Artist.”  ONE VOTE.

And watch what happens next week when BOTH “My Week with Marilyn”‘ AND “The Artist” open ON THE SAME DAY!

Methinks Harvey W. has done it AGAIN!

And you can see my interviews with allllll these wonderful, talented people coming soon to my YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

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