Stay with IBTimes over the next few weeks as we analyze each Academy Award Best Picture nominee's chances of winning the Oscar. This week, we bring you Hugo:
Hugo is more than Martin Scorsese's first 3-D film. It is also more than Scorsese's first family friendly film (one that he can proudly show to his 12-year-old daughter Francesca).
Above all, Hugo celebrates everything related to the art of filmmaking, whether it be the costumes, lighting, set design, choreography, or the simple emotions on an actor's face.
Many have called Hugo Scorsese's love letter to cinema. And it is, in so many ways. While the TV spots and trailers shed little light into this central theme, all is forgiven when the film's young stars -- Hugo (Asa Butterfield) and Isabelle (Chloe Moretz) -- sneak into a theater to catch Harold Lloyd in the 1923 silent comedy Safety Last!
Their faces function as a mirror image of Scorsese's own audience, ready to take on the next surprise, character or visual treat on the giant screen before them.
Based on Brian Selznick's bestselling novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Scorsese's picture is told through the eyes of its young title character. Through Hugo, the Parisian train station suddenly looks daunting, as he slips through the tiniest of cracks to get to his destination (whether it be behind a giant clock, the bookstore or a café).
About halfway through, the film centers on Georges Melies, a forgotten filmmaker played by Sir Ben Kingsley. And so begins Scorsese's love letter.
With a 94 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Hugo is a contender when it comes to reviews. The film's rating is tied for second (with Moneyball), right behind The Artist (97 percent), as far as the nine Best Picture nominees go.
But just how much is a Rotten Tomato rating worth in Oscar land? Take last year's Best Picture winner, The King's Speech. The Tom Hooper flick received a 95 percent rating on the film review aggregator site, beating films that scored much higher on the scale (Toy Story 3 - 99 percent; The Social Network - 96 percent; True Grit - 96 percent).
Reviews and ratings aside, Hugo's Best Picture chances at this year's Oscars are greatly affected by Scorsese's own track record at the annual award show.
The first time a Scorsese picture was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar was more than 35 years ago, when Taxi Driver ruled movie screens (the Oscar went to Rocky). Over the years, the snub would continue, with Scorsese classics like Raging Bull and Goodfellas and modern works like Gangs of New York and The Aviator.
Scorsese's magical year came in 2006, when The Departed won the now 69-year-old his first Best Director prize, as well as that year's Best Picture title. (Before his big win, Scorsese had been nominated 5 previous times).
Could you double-check the envelope? Scorsese famously said at the 2007 Academy Awards after his name was announced.
In a movie season dominated by George Clooney and The Descendants, the ladies of The Help and the little silent film that could, The Artist, Hugo has an uphill battle for Best Picture.
While Hugo has already won several major movie awards (including the Golden Globe for Best Director and the National Board of Review's Best Film award), expect the film to pick up prizes in the not-so-sexy categories at this year's Oscars (such as Cinematography, Art Direction, Film Editing, Sound Editing and Mixing, Visual Effects and Adapted Screenplay). Hugo leads this year's Academy Award nominations with 11.
What do you think of Hugo? Will Scorsese's love letter to cinema win Best Picture at the Oscars?
Follow IBTimes for reviews and predictions for all the Best Picture nominees. We'll publish the results of our survey the weekend of the Academy Awards.
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