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“The Artist” wins Audience Award at San Sebastian – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: There’s no denying it: Michel Hazanvicius’ “The Artist” is a flat-out crowd pleaser. Can it ride that love to a handful of Oscar nominations (and possible wins)?

Hazanvicius’ black-and-white silent film, a loving homage to Hollywood’s Golden Age, took home the Audience Award at the 59th San Sebastian Film Festival over the weekend. Earlier this year, “Artist” star Jean Dujardin claimed the Best Actor award in Cannes for his portrayal of silent film star George Valentin, who fears the advent of the “talkies” will force him out of his beloved industry. (“The Artist” also received a Palme d’Or nomination at Cannes, but lost to Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life.”)

As I mentioned in Toronto, “Artist” is amazing, a joyous celebration of Hollywood history and the art of filmmaking. It is going to play like gangbusters for older members of the Academy, and should appeal to anyone who adores film.

That seems to suggest that the film has a very good chance at earning multiple Oscar nominations, including Picture, Director and Actor (for Dujardin). It would be the first predominantly silent film to earn a Best Picture nomination in decades.

Now it’s up to the Weinstein Company to build on the positive buzz “Artist” has been collecting on the festival circuit, with winning stops at Telluride and Toronto. The film is expected to reach U.S. theaters on Nov. 23, and needs to be seen by anyone reading this. It’s delightful and, I believe, Oscar worthy. But time will tell on that last one.

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