Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Stars: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, John Goodman
Plot: Outside a movie premiere, enthusiastic fan Peppy Miller literally bumps into the swashbuckling hero of the silent film, George Valentin. The star reacts graciously and Peppy plants a kiss on his cheek as they are surrounded by photographers. The headlines demand: "Who's That Girl?" and Peppy is inspired to audition for a dancing bit-part at the studio. However as Peppy slowly rises through the industry, the introduction of talking-pictures turns Valentin's world upside-down.
Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo rehearsed the climactic dance sequence for five months, practicing almost every day in the same studio that Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly used to rehearse for Singin' in the Rain (1952). "It was really hard," remembers Bejo, "and even now when I look at the movie I can't believe how fast we're doing it. Sometimes it's like my feet still hurt."
Jean Dujardin became the first ever French actor to win a Best Actor Academy Award when he won an Oscar for this film.
There is not a single 'zoom shot' in the entire movie because Zoom technology did not exist in the movie's time period.
In solitude, George views a reel from one of his silent swashbucklers through a film projector centered within his apartment. The film is in fact a genuine silent film, The Mark of Zorro (1920), which established its star, Douglas Fairbanks, as a real life silent era action hero and matinée idol, the kind George Valentin is portrayed as being within the film. The scene from Zorro is altered, however, substituting actor Jean Dujardin as George for Fairbanks for the close-up shots.
All the dancing sequences were performed by the actors themselves through heavy rehearsals.
The breakfast montage in this movie, showing the breakdown of the marriage is a direct tribute to an almost identical montage in Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941).
The scene where Peppy Miller wraps herself in George Valentin's coat is an homage to the scene in the silent film 7th Heaven (1927), where Janet Gaynor wraps herself in Charles Farrell's coat.
The character of George Valentin is based on two silent movie stars, Douglas Fairbanks and John Gilbert. Both actors starred in silent movie swashbucklers, and both saw their careers decline with the introduction of sound films. (In Gilbert's case, his "squeaky voice" is often rumored to have caused his decline in the "talkies." But in fact, his clashes with studio head Louis B. Mayer were more to blame.) Both Gilbert and Fairbanks starred in occasional sound films, but never achieved the success that they had known in the silent era. Gilbert died of alcoholism in 1938, at the age of 36, and Fairbanks died of a heart attack (brought on by incessant smoking) in 1939 at age 56.
This film is only the second ever silent film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. The first was Wings (1927) which was the very first film to win the award for Best Picture in the Oscar's inaugural year.
In order to include the old "Hollywoodland" sign in several shots, it was necessary to use special visual effects, since the "land" portion of that sign has been gone since 1949 when the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce contracted with the City of Los Angeles to repair and rebuild the sign which had fallen into a state of deterioration. The contract stipulated that "LAND" be removed so as to spell just "Hollywood," reflecting on the section of the city, and not the original housing development of "Hollywoodland."
After Peppy Miller visits George Valentin at his mansion, she says to her male companion in the car, "Take me home. I want to be alone." This can be seen as a reference to the infamous line uttered by Greta Garbo in the film Grand Hotel (1932), "I want to be alone." Greta Garbo was an actress who was an international icon during Hollywood's silent and classic era, who successfully transitioned into talkies much like Peppy Miller. Another Greta Garbo parallel is that her frequent silent film co-star, John Gilbert, was not able to make a successful transition to the talkies.
The Artist was completely filmed in Hollywood.
When Valentin goes to the hospital after the house fire, he is placed in room #27. 1927 is the year which his character had his last success and also seems to want to remain in professionally.
Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) does not have an audible spoken line - despite being the talking movie star.
The first spoken word of the film is 'Cut' whilst the final spoken word is 'Action'.
Basil Hoffman, who portrayed the auctioneer in this film, bears more than a strong resemblance to silent film legend Buster Keaton.