While many of my friends spent Sunday night watching the Grammys, I was the odd ball out. Curled up on my couch after returning from the movies (once again seeing Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), I tuned into BBC America to watch the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards, more commonly called the BAFTAs, which had occurred earlier in the day (3 p.m. EST, 8 p.m. GMT).
As I watched, some of the winners did not at all surprise me. I had almost expected Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy to win for Best Adapted Screenplay and for Meryl Streep to walk away with the BAFTA for Leading Actress (though I didn’t expect her to lose her shoe on the stage). (For more on those films, please see: “Film Review: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy“ and “Film Review: The Iron Lady.”) What surprised me, however, was that The Artist quite literally swept the board when it came to taking home awards.
The Artist, which took home awards for Best Film, Director, Original Screenplay, Cinematography and many more, honestly didn’t seem like a big contender to me when the film was first mentioned. I was honestly shocked when I saw that the film was nominated for several BAFTAs as well as several Oscars. I didn’t recognize the names of the actors or the director, and I didn’t think that a film with practically no one of recognition would be able to make a break in the politics that must go on behind the scenes when it comes to giving out the awards.
I had heard that the film was amazing, particularly because even though it was a French and Belgian film, it appealed to anyone as it told the story through visuals alone. I can’t verify this, as I haven’t seen the film, but if this is truly the case, it does make me wonder if perhaps the reason that The Artist did so well with awards is that it signified a return to the original art of filmmaking.
With the Oscars only a few weeks away, I wonder how The Artist will fair with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. I’m hoping that it continues to do well. Perhaps I’ll even have seen it by then. But even if it doesn’t sweep the Oscars as it did the BAFTAs, the thought of a film being honored for being a film and not because of the politics, or anything else about it makes me smile and excites me for what kinds of film we will see being produced in the futures both in the U.S. and internationally.
(The film poster from Warner Bros. Entertainment France is used here under fair comment and fair use guidelines and for promotional purposes. To see a trailer for The Artist, please check below.)