The Artist 
I won’t be very mad when this movie steals the big Oscar away from my favorite movie of 2011, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. The Artist has accomplished no small feat, particularly in an era of fast, loud, mindless entertainment. That the team behind this little charmer had the balls to produce and distribute a silent film shot entirely in black-and-white means a lot in the age of Transformers and Avatar. If The Artist comes out on top come February 26 (it most definitely will), it’ll be for what this throwback means for the film industry right now, and to demonstrate that good, old-fashioned entertainment never goes out of style. Its lack of poignancy and depth won’t hurt its chances at all. A lot of inventive style and little substance is needed once in a while. Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo dance their way into international stardom with two outstanding performances. It’s ironic that the best soundtrack of the year is the score for a silent movie, which comes courtesy of Ludovic Bource. A few sudden flashes of sound are a brilliant way of signaling the rocky transition between silent films and talkies. Oh, and that dog is very cute too.