9. The Artist
Directed by: Michel Hazanavicius
, Berenice Bejo
, John Goodman
, James Cromwell
A large-scale pastiche of silent cinema, it’s basically a traditional A Star Is Born
/Singin’ in the Rain
show business story that takes place during the transition between silent and sound pictures.
Why It's a Contender:
While foreign-language pictures always start with a huge disadvantage come Academy Awards time, The Artist
manages to skirt some of that difficulty by focusing on American-period pictures and featuring an international cast. It was well-received at Cannes, where it picked up a Best Actor Award and features the type of simplistic, feel-good plot that the Academy tends to love, ending on an extremely high note that may have voters remembering nothing else.