Okay, so The Artist is not based on a book. BUT…as a classic movie nerd I just can’t keep silent about this movie. (See what I did there?)
At first, it may seem like The Artist has been nominated for Best Picture for two reasons:
1. As a silent, black and white film made in 2011, the sheer novelty of it would make it seem special next to all the extremely loud and incredibly close 3-D movies out there. (Ha! See what I did there? I am just cracking myself up tonight.)
2. The Weinstein Company is involved.
Now, I can’t prove or deny the validity of the second reason; but I do think it’s unfair to think of the film’s silence as a cheap trick to appear artistic. There’s a lot of really great symbolism, history, and storytelling going on here, and I’d like to point some of it out.
Homage to Old Hollywood
Clearly, a black and white, silent film set in 1927-1931 is going to pay its respects to the Silent Era of Hollywood.
For one, it can’t be a mistake that the protagonist’s name is George Valentin. When you think of silent movie stars—and even just the general notion of a Hollywood STAR—a name that immediately comes to mind is Rudolph Valentino.
If that’s not the case, you should probably stop reading right now.