Awards won: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Jean Dujardin), Best Costume Design, Best Original Score

You remember The Artist—it was in black and white and completely silent. You remember how awkward the silences were in the theater or in your living room. You probably remember the cute dog in it, too. You definitely don’t remember anything else about this movie, but it won Best Picture! This is a perfectly fine movie with a perfectly fine gimmick, but I don’t think anyone thought that this was the best movie to come out in 2011, the same year as movies like The Tree of Life, Bridesmaids, and Midnight In Paris. This movie also exposes a major bias that the Academy has: rewarding movies that are about how great movies are. Given that it’s essentially a love letter to silent cinema, it’s no surprise that this won Best Picture. But this was the 2012 Oscars—they definitely made up for it the next year, and didn’t go for an easy crowd pleaser about how movies are the best, right?

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