Silent film leads awards race

2011-12-19 00:00

FRENCH-DIRECTED black-and-white silent film The Artist, a tribute to the pre-talkie era films, has been nominated for six Golden Globe awards, leading the field as Hollywood gears up for its annual awards season in 2012.

The film is nominated for best comedy or music film, best comedy or music actor for Jean Dujardin, best director for Michel Hazanavicius, best supporting actress for Berenice Bejo, best screenplay for Hazanavicius and best original score.

The Artist tells the story of silent film star George Valentin (Dujardin), whose career is torpedoed by the arrival of speech. It is generating a lot of Oscar buzz after winning the best film and best director at the New York Film Critics Circle two weeks ago. It has also been nominated for a Screen Actors’ Guild Award for best ensemble cast, best actor for Dujardin and best actress for Bejo.

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, after hearing the news, Hazanavicius said: “I feel like I have a big, stupid smile on my face. I made this movie out of desire, and never expected this sort of response.”

The Artist will be competing against 50/50, Midnight In Paris, My Week With Marilyn and Bridesmaids for the best picture, musical or comedy award.

Should The Artist go on to win an Academy Award for best picture it will be the first silent film to do so since William A. Wellman’s Wings won the award in 1929.

The Help, a film about black servants in the pre-civil rights era American south, and The Descendants, which tells the story of a land baron who tries to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife suffers a boating accident, have both been nominated in five categories. They will compete for the best drama picture gong alongside Hugo, The Ides of March, Moneyball and War Horse.

Hazanavicius, George Clooney (Ides of March), Woody Allen (Midnight In Paris), Alexander Payne (The Descendents) and Martin Scorsese (Hugo) will contest the best director category.

Clooney is also nominated for a dramatic acting gong for The Descendents, alongside Leonardo DiCaprio (J Edgar), Michael Fassbender (Shame), Ryan Gosling (The Ides of March) and Brad Pitt (Moneyball).

In the best actress drama category, Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Viola Davis (The Help), Rooney Mara (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) and Tilda Swinton (We Need To Talk About Kevin) will compete for the honours.

In the best actress, comedy or musical category, there were nominations for South Africa’s Charlize Theron (Young Adult), Jodie Foster (Carnage), Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids), Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn) and Kate Winslet (Carnage). Dujardin, Brendan Gleeson (The Guard), Joseph Gordon Levitt (50/50), Ryan Gosling (Crazy Stupid Love) and Owen Wilson (Midnight in Paris) compete for the best actor prize in the same category.

The best supporting actor nominees are Kenneth Branagh (My Week With Marilyn), Albert Brooks (Drive), Viggo Mortensen (A Dangerous Method) and Christopher Plummer (Beginners); while Bejo, Jessica Chastain (The Help), Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs), Octavia Spencer (The Help) and Shailene Woodley (The Descendents) will contest the best supporting actress category.

The Golden Globe winners will be announced on January 15 in a show hosted for a third time by provocative British comic Ricky Gervais.

Notable absentees from the Globes shortlists were Terrence Malick’s critically acclaimed The Tree of Life, which won the Palme d’Or in Cannes, and the Cold War thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. They could yet win gongs though: nominations for the Oscars are due to be announced on January 24, ahead of the 84th Academy Awards show on February 26.

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