Time for another series of observations in a post that barely qualifies as a review.
While my movie of last year may have been Drive, it seems like the academy's will be The Artist. After seeing it that's understandable, and luckily it's not bad.
Yes, it's centered around its silent film homage gimmick but it's a very well executed gimmick. Plus, while it is 4x3, seeing an old-styled movie at such a better resolution is surreal. Not to mention the plethora of beautiful shots.
The actors are fine and do a good job replicating an antiquated acting style. When the film gets more emotional they prove to be up to that task too. The dog is great though and I can't stand dogs.
Sound does occasionally appear but it's to mess with audience expectations and it's great. The soundtrack on the other hand, while very nice (partially because it's not all original) tries too hard at making the audience feel a specific way. I can't really blame the film for that since it is an old silent movie technique but it was still noticeable.
What I can blame the film for is the totally inconsequential story. There is a plot but it feels like the thing the filmmakers cared the least about. I sometimes talk mess on Singing in the Rain for its semi-disinterested handling of the Hollywood sound transition but outside of a few sequences, The Artist makes Singin in the Rain look like a documentary on the subject. Add in a love story with no real arcs or reasons to care about the characters outside of charming acting and it becomes clear how much the gimmick is the point of the film.
Again though, it's a very well-executed gimmick. If this wins best picture then sure, whatever.
John Goodman is pretty good too.