After an awards season in which The Artist swept nearly every ceremony, many prognosticators believe the beloved silent black-and-white film is almost boringly destined to win Best Picture at the Oscars on Sunday. Oddsmakers are going so far as to bet that The Artist is a virtual lock, with no other competitor getting better than 25:1 odds. Is a Best Picture win for The Artist a foregone conclusion?

The Artist has no real competition: The Artist is the surefire winner, simply because no other film has emerged as a formidable enough opponent, says Steve Pond at Reuters. The Descendants is enjoying a groundswell of support, but it's "too little, too late." Hugo boasts Oscar favorite Martin Scorsese at the helm, but is otherwise too divisive, and only mildly popular. And while the Academy's acting branch is championing The Help, no one else is in the film's corner. Since The Artist's breakout at Cannes, Oscar voters have found other "movies to like, but nothing to love enough to woo them away from the delightful novelty."
"The Artist will win, but should it?"

And it's the perfect film for the moment: The Oscars have always been an "indication of how Hollywood feels about itself in the given moment," says Karina Longworth at LA Weekly. Not only is The Artist this year's best movie, its depiction of Hollywood's paranoid struggle to adapt to the talkies era reflects Hollywood's current fears "as celluloid technology is being replaced by digital, and theater attendance is threatened by the habits of a new generation born into an on-demand world." With its happy ending, The Artist provides "a fairy tale that Hollywood desperately needs to hear."
"Why The Artist will win Best Picture at the Oscars"

Don't count out Hugo: The Artist still has one major competitor, says Volkmar Richter at the Vancouver Observer. Hugo has more nominations than The Artist, "and therefore possibly more friends." While both films are love letters to old cinema, Oscar voters "might decide The Artist is an inspired idea but a rather easily-done movie, whereas Hugo is a work of art." The Artist is charming, but slight; historically, the Academy hasn't rewarded films based purely on entertainment value. Scorsese's "masterful venture into 3D" still has a shot.
"Academy Award predictions: The Artist versus Hugo for Best Picture"