First trailer for silent comedy “The Artist” – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell A source of mine with strong ties to the film industry who has no real interest in the annual awards race was humoring me with a discussion of potential Best Picture nominees as we looked over the Toronto International Film Festival schedule. In his expert opinion, the race boils down to Phyllida Lloyd’s “The Iron Lady” (with Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher) and Michel Hazanavicius’ silent comedy “The Artist.” Granted, he has yet to see either, but as we discussed in an earlier column, anyone can make predictions. They just don’t carry much weight.

Still, after seeing the first trailer for Hazanavicius’ film, which stars Jean Dujardin as a silent film star fearing the arrival of talking pictures, it’s easy to see how it could make it into the Best Picture race … and even leave TIFF with a frontrunner’s status.

“The Artist” charmed audiences in Cannes, where Dujardin won a Best Actor prize and the film was nominated for the Palme d’Or. Dujardin has been earning raves ever since, as are co-stars John Goodman and Berenice Bejo.

The Weinstein Company, who has a pretty good track record of pushing films through the awards season, brings “The Artist” to Toronto next month, where we’ll have a full report. In the meantime, the trailer’s up on iTunes, and posted below.

For complete awards coverage, visit our Awards Alley for in-depth interviews, reviews and commentary on all of the contenders in the 2011 awards race.

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