Written by: FFT Webmaster | February 27th, 2012
Chalk one up to the ferocious ambition and consummate skill of awards impresario Harvey Weinstein. THE ARTIST, a film that all the world knows to be French, was the surprise winner at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, an event organized to celebrate and promote American independent cinema. The film was considered eligible in major categories because the director has a green card which allows him to work in the U.S., the production was shot in Los Angeles and a very small percentage of the financing (really the finishing funds) came from American resources. Winning for Best Film, Best Director, Best Leading Actor and Best Cinematography, THE ARTIST, the Oscar frontrunner that has blazed its trail at all the major awards shows in the past 3 months, crowded out other truly American indie films like THE DESCENDANTS, TAKE SHELTER, 50/50, DRIVE and BEGINNERS (the latter being mostly financed in Canada, but close enough). It would have been quite interesting to see which one of these alternate titles would have been the runaway winner if THE ARTIST was not given the loophole for awards consideration outside of the Best Foreign Film category (which, in my humble opinion, is the only one in which it was legitimately appropriate for). The likely Oscar winner (this piece is being written before tonight’s Oscar ceremonies) is having its gateau (cake in French) and eating it too….winning Hollywood’s top awards and having indie cred at the same time. I won’t complain too much, since it is a film that took great risks to get made, but something seems out of kilter when a film that sweeps the Cesar Awards (the French Oscars) as being oh so French, is also celebrated for being oh so American indie. Weird, weird…..