Not long before his film "The Artist" nabbed ten Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture and another for Best Director, Michel Hazanavicius laughed when I asked him about his chances for an Academy Award.
He said dreaming of an Oscar is like dreaming of going to the moon - you don't really believe it could ever happen. Especially for a Frenchman, with a French movie. Unless, he added, with a twinkle in his eye, it was a SILENT movie.
And of course, "The Artist" is, quite famously, a silent movie. In my interview with him below, Hazanavicius talks about the difference between his black and white silent film and the films from the silent era ("The Artist" knows it's a silent movie, the original silents didn't), the advantages of the "silent" approach to filmmaking (by having to supplying much of the dialogue, the audience can't help but become more involved), why poker-faced movie stars like Steve McQueen wouldn't be able to make it in silents, and why "The Artist" is not just for cinephiles.
Don't be surprised if "The Artist" walks away with the Best Picture Oscar on Feb. 26. And Hazanavicius has a good chance at winning for Best Director as well.