'The Artist' Director, Cast Celebrate Golden Globe Nominations

43 FEA Artist Set Jean Dujiardin Berenice Bejo H
Peter Iovino/The Weinstein Co.

"The challenge was to trust the body and not focus on the voice," says Berenice Bejo (right) with Jean Dujardin.

When the Hollywood Foreign Press announced nominees for the 69th annual Golden Globes on Thursday, Dec. 15, The Artist led film categories with six nominations, including best motion picture, comedy or musical.

The black and white, silent film directed by Michel Hazanavicius and starring Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo, has already proven itself a strong awards race contender with three nominations for the SAG Awards announced on Tuesday. The film was only beat in SAG Awards nods by The Help, which grabbed four. As for the Golden Globes noms, the two films flipped positions, with The Artist leading with six, followed by The Help and The Descendants with five.

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Director Michel Hazanavicius, who lives in Paris, was at a café when he learned The Artist scored the most Globes nominations of any film

“One of my producers, who was watching the nominations being announced on television, called and said that we had four nominations. Then he called me back and said it was actually six. Everybody was so excited, including me of course,” Hazanavicius told THR.

Berenice Bejo, Haanavicus’ wife, landed a nomination in the best supporting actress category for her role in The Artist (she’s currently in Los Angeles).

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“She was with me from the beginning of this, and was the first one who took me seriously,” he recalls. “I feel like a have a big, stupid smile on my face. I made this movie out of desire, and never expected this sort of response. People really love the movie, and I guess there’s something special about it for people in the United States, because it’s about your movie history.”

Hazanavicius said it was thrilling to make a silent film. “It’s a wonderful format. It’s challenging as a director, and really works in a different way on the audience. It lets you use your imagination. And black and white is the actor’s best friend, because it gives you some mystery," said Hazanavicius.

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Jean Dujardin, who grabbed a nod for best actor in a drama for his role as silent movie star George Valentin, told THR that making a silent film was a “liberating, instinctive experience. Your body does the work.”

“I was proud and thrilled. It’s such an honor to be nominated alongside such great actors. I feel like a spoiled child," Dujardin said. He added that The Artist, which the Weinstein Co. is distributing in the U.S., is a “love letter to Hollywood. It’s a visual, emotional experience.”

Berenice Bejo released a statement regarding her best supporting actress, motion picture nod. “A Golden Globe nomination is unbelievable! I am so happy, and am very grateful to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and to audiences across America, for their support of The Artist," she said.