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“The Artist” star James Cromwell explains what makes the Oscar winner “special”


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It’s official: “The Artist” is the best picture of the year. The Golden Globes said it, the Spirit Awards said it, and the Oscars have now said it as well. It was hard not to be charmed by the black and white indie silent film that could, and it was clear from the get-go that this was going to be a special picture.

Sometimes while filming a movie, especially one as tiny as “The Artist,” it’s hard to imagine that one day it will be honored at a venue as large as the Academy Awards. But when IFC caught up with star James Cromwell on the Spirit Awards red carpet, he said it was clear all along that “The Artist” was going to be unique.

“It was going to be special because you don’t make a black and white film very often. So I knew it was special,” he said “The question was: Is anyone going to get a chance to see it? And when they saw it, was it going to be any good, or is it just a gimmick?”

He added, “I knew it wasn’t a gimmick. I knew that [director] Michel [Hazanavicius] had a vision, that that vision just was so realized and that it affects audiences the way it does is the big surprise to me and everybody else.”

So does that mean we will start seeing a resurgence of black and white films or silent films or some combination of the two now that “The Artist” has found its success? Cromwell doesn’t think so, but he does think that “The Artist” will go on to inspire filmmakers in its own way.

“The trend will be that young filmmakers all over the country and all over the world will say I don’t have to make a film in the convention of a Hollywood film, or I don’t have to that write film. I can make the film that I see in my heart and in my mind and in my imagination, and that will be a big service to artists everywhere,” he said.

That’s why it’s important that independent filmmaking stay around, and that awards shows like the Spirit Awards that honor independent film stay relevant. Cromwell said that respect for independent filmmaking is why he loves coming to the Spirit Awards year after year.

“These are the people who make those types of films,” he said. “If you went to a major studio and said we want to do a black and white silent film, you wouldn’t get past the secretary.” Well, maybe now you would.

Do you agree with Cromwell’s concept of how “The Artist’s” success will influence future filmmakers? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and


The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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