In case you hadn't yet got the message that people love "The Artist," the French-made Oscar hopeful got further festival valentines over the weekend, taking prizes at both the Chicago and Hamptons International Film Festivals -- the Audience Award in the latter case, and the Founder's Award in the Windy City. (Apparently, that goes to the film across all categories that best captures the spirit of the Chicago fest. Now you know.)
We've discussed before how Michel Hazanavicius's film is the type of novel crowdpleaser that tends to win scads of audience awards without even trying, building the platform for a healthy awards run outside the quarantined festival zone. (If I was surprised it didn't take the equivalent prize at Toronto, I'm even more so after watching Nadine Labaki's "Where Do We Go Now?" yesterday -- but that's another conversation.) This pair of wins may be small potatoes in themselves, but they're just further fuel for the fire of an inevitable Oscar big-hitter. The film, incidentally, has its UK premiere at the London Film Festival tomorrow, and could well add to its trophy cabinet there.