The Artist (2011)
At First: Such a charming, old-fashioned delight!
But Then: Such regressive piffle!
Notable Competition: Nothing stepped up to really challenge The Artist; I don’t even remember what de facto second-place movie was positioned as its main foe. Was it Hugo? The Help? I think it’s safe to say that my favorite, The Tree of Life, wasn’t really in the running.
Strength of Backlash (1-10): 8. I sense that people really turned on this one, which probably isn’t fair; making a trifling and derivative but also extremely likable and sprightly homage to silent movies (and also Singin’ in the Rain, really) isn’t exactly a crime against a humanity. But while it’s refreshing to see the Academy reward lighter fare, this one seemed particularly buoyed by Hollywood’s love affair with itself.
Degree of Deserving (1-10): 9 While this is a fun movie, it’s not wildly entertaining enough to completely make up for its thinness.