2012 Calvin Awards: Best Picture
By David Mumpower
February 17, 2012
As we chronicled in last year’s awards, so many movies were championed that several categories came down to a single vote on the individual ballots. This year’s vote, on the other hand, demonstrates a compulsive need to celebrate one movie above all others. While the title in question did not win the most awards we have ever given to a single movie (that honor still goes to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), it did become the most dominant top of the ballot performer in the history of the awards.
The film in question is The Artist and it is our selection as Best Picture for the 2012 Calvin Awards. This means that The Artist has also won Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, a feat that can never be surpassed in the future, only duplicated. What BOP seems to be saying here is that we are against talkies and want to return to the halcyon days of yore when movies were nothing more than title cards and musical accompaniments set against the backdrop of video storytelling. It’s either that or the fact that we have watched too many Michael Bay movies over the years and now the entire concept of movie dialogue disgusts us. Either way, what is clear is that BOP’s staff is utterly entranced by the throwback nature of The Artist, a film that celebrates classic Hollywood in an inimitable fashion.
What do we love about The Artist? Judging from the voting results, the answer is everything. We have championed Jean Dujardin for his soul searing performance as a down on his luck actor seeking to make a comeback. We have lauded Bérénice Bejo for her whimsical take on the old school ingénue; Bejo’s character becomes much more famous than the thespian who accidentally gave her the big break she needed, but she never forgot his kindness to a stranger. In fact, the relationship between Dujardin and Bejo is a fictional implementation of the philosophy that someone should always dance with who brought them, and this is exactly what happens in the denouement of The Artist.
For this effervescent bit of joy, we have director Michel Hazanavicius to thank. The Frenchman looked across the pond to Hollywood and deciphered exactly what he loved about the golden age of cinema. Then, he convinced his wife to portray one of the leads opposite a popular actor abroad who was a complete unknown in North America as recently as six months ago. The Artist is a family affair between this trio and their love of the source material shines through. The only way the project could be more insular is if Jack the dog (real name: Uggie) were in fact the adopted puppy of Hazanavicius and Bejo. Every moment of the film pulsates with love toward the subject matter and we are captivated by the narrative. The Artist is far and away BOP’s favorite film of the year and one of the most dominant performers in the history of The Calvins.