Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo in 'The Artist'

The Academy Awards are approaching on Feb. 26, and movie buffs are guessing who will win what. So, just for today,  I am turning the ARTS blog over to movie fan, arts advocate and retired marketing executive Larry Carlin of Santa Rosa, to offer his views on the topic.

Here’s Larry:

Watching four movies a week (two double bills) as a kid in LA turned me into a film trivia buff. I even made money at it! Won my share of Oscar contests over the years, too. Even won a date with Debbie Reynolds (don’t ask) as a teen-ager!

So who’s going to win this year’s Best Flick and the lion’s share of the prizes?

If you believe the Oscar experts, “The Artist” is leading in six of the ten categories in which it was nominated, including Jean DuJardin edging George Clooney in a tight race for Best Actor. Huh? Have you ever seen this guy in an interview? He is not acting … he is the same good looking, charming nonentity he plays onscreen. Really! I have no problem with “The Artist.” It’s a charming, sweet flick. But Best Picture? C’mon. By the way, if you have seen the previews, you have literally seen the ENTIRE movie.

Larry Carlin

At the BAFTA  (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) awards last week, the Brits weighed in heavily for “The Artist.” They gave it all of the top prizes including Best Original Screenplay. What screenplay?

Even the writer-director, Michel Hazanavicius, quipped: “Some folks have asked ‘what screenplay?’ There is no dialogue!”

Anyone who loves movies and has seen Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” should be able to make a case for Best Film. Now, that’s one helluva movie!. When push comes to shove, don’t bet against Scorsese for Best Director despite the experts!

And watch Woody Allen get the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for the wonderful “Midnight in Paris.” Me? I’m thinking, in America, they will not be able to deny Mr. Clooney his Best Actor Oscar for “The Descendents.”

One final thought: While the Best Actress looks like a toss-up between Meryl Streep (Iron Lady) and Viola Davis (Help), years from now people will be sorry they didn’t give it to Michelle Williams for that amazing riff on Marilyn Monroe in “My Weekend with Marilyn.” But by then the luminous Michelle will have won a different Oscar.

— Larry Carlin