Oscar Voting Recall: Now It’s ‘The Artist’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 16, 2012

I’ve had to recall my Oscar ballot for “Best Picture.” Maybe I was too hasty to declare “War Horse” the best movie of the year since I hadn’t seen all of the other nine nominated.
I still haven’t seen “Hugo” and a couple others, but Elizabeth and I left the theater last weekend dazzled by the silent, black and white “The Artist.” Deprived of the sounds of the actors’ voices, we hung on every movement of their lips. The black and white filming was beautiful. I absolutely loved it. The age of the small audience was easily over 50. Only a couple in their mid-30s kept it from being an exclusively AARP crowd.
Youngsters apparently need their color and sound, never knowing anything different. I’m so old I remember the arrival of our first television about 1958-59, a tiny box by today’s wide screen standards, with only a black and white picture. Color didn’t arrive for another 20 years.
May the little gold Oscar statue go to … who knows? “The Artist” is a favorite for good reason. It is remarkably different, very clever and beautifully done.
No film critic, I merely know what I like. I can’t dissect the movie and analyze the nuances of filmography. But “The Artist” was very good.
Similarly, we liked “The Descendants.” It is a husband’s duty to take his wife to see George Clooney movies, but this wasn’t merely a visual treat of the best looking mature man on screen these days. The story was painful. A husband sits at his wife’s deathbed in a Hawaii hospital only to learn — from a rebellious teen daughter — that the wife had been involved in an affair. The movie also gives a glimpse of Hawaii’s beauty.
We also wanted to give it “Best Picture.” Then we saw “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” Don’t take your wife without a box of Kleenex. It’s a long shot for “Best Picture,” but it’s very good, particularly if you are a parent with a drop of warm blood pulsing through your veins. It deals with a 9-year-old boy’s difficulty coming to grips with the death of his father in the World Trade Center. It is not a feel good movie.
This has been movie season at our house. We usually don’t go to the theater much, but the current crop includes a lot of winners.

‘Treasure Island’ Classic
Still Packs A Thrill

For Christmas, my 12-year-old gave me the book “Treasure Island.” He had read it for school and thought his cowboy- and pirate-loving father needed to read it.
I finished it in a few days after avoiding it for all of January.
There’s a reason it has “classic” status. Published in 1883, it’s still a delightful boy’s adventure as young Jim Hawkins …