News / USA

    'The Artist's Silent Power Leads Oscar Pack

    Nine films vie for Academy Award for best picture

    Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo in "The Artist."
    Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo in "The Artist."
    Penelope Poulou

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has nominated nine films for best picture. Of these, only one will make Oscar history.

    A few are getting buzz for being top contenders.

    By now, many moviegoers have seen Alexander Payne’s bittersweet drama "The Descendants."

    It's about a busy lawyer who finds himself as the single parent of his two daughters as his wife lies in a coma after a boating accident.


    The film has been nominated for an Oscar for best picture.

    Payne is known for finding humor in tragic moments and, once again, he delivers.

    The film editing is superb and the dialogue heartfelt and intelligent.

    But the movie lacks grandeur and that could cost it the Oscar.

    Asa Butterfield plays Hugo Cabret in "Hugo."
    Asa Butterfield plays Hugo Cabret in "Hugo."

    Martin Scorcese’s "Hugo" offers a dreamlike vision of 19th century Paris.

    It's a complex story about an orphan who lives hidden inside a Parisian train station and keeps its clocks ticking.

    If he's found out, Hugo could end up in an orphanage. This underlying threat gives the film the feeling of a Dickens novel.  

    The film leads the Oscar race with 11 nominations - including art direction, cinematography, and film editing.

    But "Hugo" has not received nominations for acting and, despite its elegance and lovely visuals, it lacks emotional energy. 

    "The Help" explores the lives of African-American maids who toiled in white households in the 1960s American South.
    "The Help" explores the lives of African-American maids who toiled in white households in the 1960s American South.

    "The Help" overflows with emotion. It's about African-American maids who risk their lives to tell their stories of toiling in white households in the 1960s American South.

    Viola Davis, who plays the maid Aibileen Clark, is nominated for best actress.

    The film received top honors from the Screen Actors Guild.

    Although three of its four nominations are for acting, the movie’s powerful characters and epic dimension make it impossible to overlook.

    With its stunning visuals and sparse narrative, Terrence Malick’s poetic drama, "The Tree of Life," towers above the other nominees.

    "Tree of Live" contemplates the origins of the universe and explores the meaning of life.
    "Tree of Live" contemplates the origins of the universe and explores the meaning of life.

    It's a metaphysical drama about the loss of innocence, divinity, human nature, and mortality.

    Many have hailed "Tree of Life" as a masterpiece. But it's long - three hours - and some have called it indulgent.

    What "The Tree of Life" does not have is mass appeal.

    The film doesn't offer a conventional ending, which could undermine its popularity with the academy.

    Instead, the voters could pick something lighter and poignant.  

    Like "The Artist" by Michel Hazanavicius.

    Although it trails "Hugo" with 10 nominations, the film’s emotion outdoes "Hugo" and its musical score is astounding.

    Hazanavicius and his stellar cast have produced a brilliant rendition of silent films of 1920s and 1930s Hollywood.

    The story about a movie star, who loses his sheen with the advent of the talkies, is a tale of success, failure and redemption.  

    And the winner is…us!

    Because all of these films are gems and our lives have been enriched by each one of them.

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