Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Last night, I had the pleasure of moderating a Q&A with Jean Dujardin, the ridiculously charming star of "The Artist," who bested the likes of George Clooney and Brad Pitt to win Outstanding Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture--oh, for God's sake, can we just say Best Actor??? It was a bit of a surprise win, as Clooney was the perceived front-runner, but not so shocking to anyone who knows how much actor love the movie and Dujardin, who plays silent film star George Valentin.
I've talked to Dujardin before; you can see video clips of the Back Stage event we did here and a full video of the SAG Foundation Q&A with him and co-stars James Cromwell and Missi Pyle here. Last night he was his usual delightful self, although he confessed to being exhausted. That didn't stop him from sticking around long after the Q&A was done to talk to and take photos with the crowd, many of whom confessed to having seen the film up to five times.
Asked what the most difficult part of making "The Artist" was, Dujardin had two answers. First, was the tap dancing he had to learn for the final scene of the movie. They did the number 17 times for the camera, all as one long take, and he admitted to downing a giant energy drink midway through the day. His second answer was pretty funny; he discussed how, because it was a silent film, the dog trainer was able to shout directions to Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier playing Valentin's companion. This was sometimes distracting, particularly in a scene where Valentin contemplates suicide and puts a gun in his mouth. He revealed, "It was hard to stay in the moment when I had someone behind me shouting, 'Up, Uggie, up!' 'Shut up!' "
Dujardin also revealed how he learned about his recent Oscar nomination; he, director Michel Hazanavicius and co-star Berenice Bejo were all together in a hotel room watching the announcement. And, he noted, "we cheered after every nomination!"