Directed by Martin Scorsese
Screenplay Adapted by John Logan
Based off of the Book “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick
Asa Butterfield: Hugo Cabret
Chloë Grace Moretz: Isabelle
Ben Kingsley: George Melies
Sasha Baron Cohen: Station Inspector
Christopher Lee: Monsieur Labisse
Hugo was one the most intriguing films of 2011 that I have seen so far. I easily put it in my top three films at either one or two. Quite frankly, I fell in love with it. However, sadly, this movie will be shunned by the public come Oscar night as it will not receive any acting nominations except for the dark horse possibility of Sir. Ben Kingsley receiving a supporting nod as Georges Melies. Most likely, The Artist or The Descendants will take home the best picture statue.
There is one award however in which Hugo is feared: Best Director. Martin Scorsese directed this picture. Scorsese!!! The man who directed Gangs of New York (2002), The Departed (2006), Goodfellas (1991) (which obviously influenced Refn’s motion picture: Drive), and Shutter Island (2010). If you’re not familiar with any of these films, let me just say, these are NOT children’s movies. And yet, here, in his adaptation of Brian Selznick’s beautifully illustrated book, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” Scorsese does not only do a descent job, he does a spectacular job.
The film boasts four main actors. The first being the title character, Hugo Cabret, played by Asa Butterfield. His acting was fantastic for someone of his age, however I thought that the acting of Super 8 star, Joel Courtney, was superior. This is however, irrelevant as his acting by all means got the job done. His co-star was the fiery Chloë Grace Moretz of Kick-Ass (2010), 30Rock (2011 stint), and Let Me In (2010). She was better than Asa and at times even made me forget that she was only a preteen.
Then, we move on to our spectacular adult stars, Sir. Ben Kingsley was amazing. His character was by far the most complex and Melies was already an interesting character before Selznick got his hands on him and the concept of the automaton. Balancing, a grumpy old man with kindheartedness, Ben Kingsley will definitely be considered an awards contender. That leaves us with the star of Brüno (2009) Talladega Knights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby (2007), and Borat (2006). Sasha Baron Cohen. Only this time, he does not play an outrageous character, rather he feels natural and fluid. Like something you would expect from a classically trained comedian, or at least, a comic actor. Truly, Cohen’s performance was a cross between Inspector Clouseau and the typical Romantic Comedy lead you might find in Midnight in Paris or 500 Days of Summer (2009). I recently saw a trailer for Cohen’s up coming film The Dictator and while I know it will be a sure-fire audience pleaser, the fact that he has succumbed to performances of such a caliber after displaying the acting capabilities he did in Hugo made my heart sink. But don’t count him out just yet. I feel as though Cohen and his manager might just have a few tricks up their sleeve after Hugo’s release.
The art direction of the film was beautiful. It is my first choice for the award, though I’d imagine the academy will be stricken with a black and white longing and award The Artist. While I am a staunch supporter of black and white films, to award any one else would be a upsetting. I am also a staunch supporter of 2-D movies. I don’t like 3-D. However, I have realized now, 3-D is simply far more tempermental an instrument and to pull it off well, the director must be outlandishly talented. Scorsese is. Even the conceded James Cameron called Scorsese after seeing the premiere to congratulate him and hail Hugo as the best use of 3-D he’d ever seen including his own movies (of which include the most financially successful movie ever, Avatar (2009), which was hailed as the comeback of 3-D).
Finally, I just wish to say that Howard Shore will surely be a front runner in the “Best Music in a Motion Picture: Best Original Score” category at the Academy Awards. It was breathtaking. It was magical. It was Paris. It was film. It was astonishing. Shore will probably win. His major threat will come from The Artist.