Hugo (film)

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Hugo
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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Produced by Graham King
Timothy Headington
Martin Scorsese
Johnny Depp
Screenplay by John Logan
Based on The Invention of Hugo Cabret 
by Brian Selznick
Starring Ben Kingsley
Sacha Baron Cohen
Asa Butterfield
Chloë Grace Moretz
Ray Winstone
Emily Mortimer
Jude Law
Music by Howard Shore
Cinematography Robert Richardson
Edited by Thelma Schoonmaker
Production
  company
GK Films
Infinitum Nihil
Distributed by Paramount Pictures (USA)
Release date(s)
  • October 10, 2011 (2011-10-10) (NYFF)
  • November 23, 2011 (2011-11-23) (USA)
Running time 126 minutes (3D)[1]
121 minutes (2D)[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $150 to $170 million[2]
Box office $185,770,160[3]

Hugo is a 2011 3D historical adventure drama film based on Brian Selznick's novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret about a boy who lives alone in the Gare Montparnasse railway station in Paris in the 1930s. It is directed and co-produced by Martin Scorsese and adapted for the screen by John Logan. It is a co-production between Graham King's GK Films and Johnny Depp's Infinitum Nihil. The film stars Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helen McCrory, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Jude Law, and Christopher Lee.

Hugo is Scorsese's first film shot in 3D, of which the filmmaker remarked: "I found 3D to be really interesting, because the actors were more upfront emotionally. Their slightest move, their slightest intention is picked up much more precisely."[4] The film was released in the United States on November 23, 2011.[5]

The film was received with critical acclaim, with many critics praising the visuals, acting, and direction. At the 84th Academy Awards, Hugo won five Oscars—for Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing—and its eleven total nominations (including Best Picture) was the most for the evening.[6] Hugo was also nominated for eight BAFTAs and won two, and was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards, earning Scorsese his third Golden Globe Award for Best Director.

Plot[edit]

In 1931, Hugo Cabret, a 12-year-old boy, lives with his father, a widowed, but kind and devoted master clockmaker in Paris. Hugo's father takes him to see films and loves the films of Georges Méliès best of all. Hugo's father is burned alive in a museum fire, and Hugo is taken away by his uncle, an alcoholic watchmaker who is responsible for maintaining the clocks in the railway station of Gare Montparnasse. His uncle teaches him to take care of the clocks, then disappears. Hugo lives between the walls of the station, maintaining the clocks, stealing food and working on his father's most ambitious project: repairing a broken automaton – a mechanical man who is supposed to write with a pen. Hugo steals mechanical parts in the station to repair the automaton, but he is caught by a toy store owner who takes away Hugo's blueprints for the automaton. The automaton is missing one part – a heart–shaped key. Convinced that the automaton contains a message from his father, Hugo goes to desperate lengths to fix the machine. He gains the assistance of Isabelle, a girl close to his age and the goddaughter of the toy shop owner. He introduces Isabelle to the movies, which her godfather has never let her see. Isabelle turns out to have the key to the automaton. When they use the key to activate the automaton, it produces a drawing of a film scene Hugo remembers his father telling him about. They discover that the film was created by Georges Méliès, Isabelle's godfather, an early – but now neglected and disillusioned – cinema legend, and that the automaton was a beloved creation of his, from his days as a magician. In the end, the children reconnect Georges with his past and with a new generation of cinema aficionados who have come to appreciate his work!

Main cast[edit]

Michael Pitt, Martin Scorsese and Brian Selznick have cameo roles.

Production[edit]

Pre-production[edit]

GK Films acquired the screen rights to The Invention of Hugo Cabret shortly after the book was published in 2007. Initially, Chris Wedge was signed in to direct the adaptation and John Logan was contracted to write the screenplay.[7] The film was initially titled Hugo Cabret. Several actors were hired, including Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz and Helen McCrory. Jude Law, Ray Winstone, Christopher Lee, Frances de la Tour and Richard Griffiths later joined the project. Hugo was originally budgeted at $100 million but overran with a final budget of between $156 million and $170 million.[8] In February 2012, Graham King summed up his experience of producing Hugo: "Let's just say that it hasn't been an easy few months for me — there's been a lot of Ambien involved".

Filming[edit]

The venture was officially launched into production in London on June 29, 2010. The first shooting location was at the Shepperton Studios in London.[9] The Nene Valley Railway near Peterborough, also loaned their original Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits rolling stock to the studio.[10][11]

In August 2010, production moved to Paris for two weeks. Locations included the Sainte-Geneviève Library and the Sorbonne (where a lecture hall was converted into a 1930s cinema hall) in the 5th arrondissement and the Théâtre de l'Athénée and its surrounding area in the 9th. High school Lycée Louis-le-Grand served as the film's base of operations in Paris and its cafeteria served 700 meals a day for the cast & crew.[12]

Music[edit]

The film's soundtrack includes an Oscar-nominated original score composed by Howard Shore, and also makes prominent use of the Danse macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns and the first Gnossienne by Erik Satie.

Historical references[edit]

The Jaquet-Droz automaton "the writer", an inspiration for the design of the automaton in the film

The overall backstory and primary features of Georges Méliès' life as depicted in the film are largely accurate: he became interested in film after seeing a demonstration of the Lumière brothers' camera,[13] he was a magician and toymaker, he experimented with automata, he owned a theatre (Theatre Robert-Houdin), he was forced into bankruptcy, his film stock was reportedly melted down for its cellulose, he became a toy salesman at the Montparnasse station, and he was eventually awarded the Légion d'honneur medal after a period of terrible neglect. Many of the early silent films shown in the movie are Méliès's actual works, such as Le voyage dans la lune (1902). However, the film does not mention Méliès' two children, his brother Gaston (who worked with Méliès during his film-making career), or his first wife Eugénie, who was married to Méliès during the time he made films (Eugénie died in 1913). The film shows Méliès as having been married to Jeanne d'Alcy during their film making period, when in reality, they did not marry until 1925.

The design for the automaton was inspired by one made by the Swiss watchmaker Henri Maillardet, which Selznick had seen in the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia,[14] as well as the Jaquet-Droz automaton "the writer".[15]

Several viewings of the film L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat are portrayed, depicting the shocked reaction of the audience - although this view is in doubt.[16]

Emil Lager, Ben Addis, and Robert Gill make cameo appearances as Django Reinhardt, the father of Gypsy jazz guitar, Salvador Dalí, the Spanish surrealist painter, and James Joyce, the Irish writer, respectively. The names of all three characters appear towards the end of the film's cast credit list.[17]

The book that Monsieur Labisse gives Hugo as a gift, Robin Hood le proscrit, was written by Alexandre Dumas in 1864 as a French translation of an 1838 work by Pierce Egan the Younger in England. The book is symbolic, as Hugo must avoid the "righteous" law enforcement (represented by Inspector Gustave) to live in the station and later to restore the automaton both to a functioning status and to its rightful owner.

Reception[edit]

Box office performance[edit]

Hugo earned $73,864,507 domestically and $111,905,653 internationally for a worldwide gross of $185,770,160.[3]

Hugo was cited as one of the year's notable box office flops despite garnering praise from critics. The film gained $15.4 million over the Thanksgiving weekend and almost $74 million domestically, barely half of its $170 million budget, even though it made strength overseas. Hugo's perceived failure was due to competition with Disney's The Muppets and Summit's Breaking Dawn Part 1.[18] The film is set to cost its studio $100 million because of its box office performance.[19]

Producer Graham King expressed that the film's box office results have been painful. "There's no finger pointing — I'm the producer and I take the responsibility," he said glumly. "Budget wise, there just wasn't enough prep time and no one really realized how complicated doing a 3-D film was going to be. I went through three line producers because no one knew exactly what was going on. Do I still think it's a masterpiece that will be talked about in 20 years? Yes. But once the schedule started getting out of whack, things just spiraled and spiraled and that's when the avalanche began."[20]

Critical reception[edit]

Hugo received universal critical acclaim. The film holds a 94% "Fresh" rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes based on 224 reviews, with an average score of 8.4. The site's main consensus reads "Hugo is an extravagant, elegant fantasy with an innocence lacking in many modern kids' movies, and one that emanates an unabashed love for the magic of cinema." Similarly, Metacritic gave[when?] the film an average score of 83 based on 41 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[21]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four out of four stars saying "Hugo is unlike any other film Martin Scorsese has ever made, and yet possibly the closest to his heart: a big-budget, family epic in 3-D, and in some ways, a mirror of his own life. We feel a great artist has been given command of the tools and resources he needs to make a movie about – movies."[22] Peter Rainer of The Christian Science Monitor gave it a "B+" grade and termed it as an "an odd mixture: a deeply personal impersonal movie" and concluded that "Hugo is a mixed bag but one well worth rummaging through."[23] Christy Lemire said that it had an "abundant love of the power of film; being a hardcore cinephile (like Scorsese) might add a layer of enjoyment, but it certainly isn't a prerequisite for walking in the door" besides being "slightly repetitive and overlong".[24] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune rated it three stars and described it as "rich and stimulating even when it wanders" explaining "every locale in Scorsese's vision of 1931 Paris looks and feels like another planet. The filmmaker embraces storybook artifice as wholeheartedly as he relays the tale's lessons in the importance of film preservation."[25] Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal gave a negative review, saying "visually Hugo is a marvel, but dramatically it's a clockwork lemon.[26]

Hugo was selected for the Royal Film Performance 2011 with a screening at the Odeon, Leicester Square in London on 28 November 2011 in the presence of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall in support of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund.[27]

Richard Corliss of Time named it one of the Top 10 Best Movies of 2011, saying "Scorsese's love poem, rendered gorgeously in 3-D, restores both the reputation of an early pioneer and the glory of movie history – the birth of a popular art form given new life through a master's application of the coolest new techniques".[28]

James Cameron called Hugo "a masterpiece" and that the film had the best use of 3D he had seen, surpassing even his own acclaimed films.[29]

Top ten lists[edit]

The film has appeared on the following critics' top ten lists for the best films of 2011:

Critic Publication Rank
David Denby The New Yorker 1st
Harry Knowles Aint It Cool News 1st[30]
Shawn Levy The Oregonian (Portland) 1st[31]
Noel Murray A.V. Club 2nd
Glenn Kenny MSN Movies 2nd
Luke Wulfensmith Freelance 2nd
Peter Hartlaub San Francisco Chronicle 2nd
Richard Corliss Time 2nd
Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times 4th
Lisa Schwarzbaum Entertainment Weekly 4th
Richard Brody The New Yorker 4th
Peter Paras E! Online 5th
N/A MTV 5th
Todd McCarthy The Hollywood Reporter 6th
Peter Travers Rolling Stone 6th
N/A TV Guide 7th
J. Hoberman The Village Voice 8th
Mark Kermode BBC Radio 5 Live 9th
Kim Morgan MSN Movies 9th
Keith Phipps A.V. Club 9th
Sean Axmaker MSN Movies 10th
Glenn Heath Jr. Slant Magazine 10th
Jeff Simon The Buffalo News N/A
Manohla Dargis The New York Times N/A
Phillip French The Observer N/A

Accolades[edit]

List of awards and nominations
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients and nominees Result
Academy Awards[32][33] 26 February 2012 Best Picture Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay John Logan Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Won
Best Original Score Howard Shore Nominated
Best Art Direction Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo Won
Best Costume Design Sandy Powell Nominated
Best Visual Effects Robert Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann and Alex Henning Won
Best Film Editing Thelma Schoonmaker Nominated
Best Sound Editing Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty Won
Best Sound Mixing Tom Fleischman and John Midgley Won
Argentine Academy of Cinematography Arts and Sciences Awards[34] December 5, 2012 Best Foreign Film Graham King, Timothy Headington, Martin Scorsese, and Johnny Depp Won
Alliance of Women Film Journalists[35][36] 10 January 2012 Best Picture Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay John Logan Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Nominated
Best Editing Thelma Schoonmaker Won
American Society of Cinematographers[37] 12 February 2012 Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in a Feature Film Robert Richardson Nominated
Art Directors Guild[38] 4 February 2012 Period Film Dante Ferretti Won
Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards[39] 27 January 2012 Best Film – International Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Direction – International Martin Scorsese Nominated
Boston Society of Film Critics Award 11 December 2011 Best Director Martin Scorsese Won
Best Film Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Nominated
2nd place
Best Editing Thelma Schoonmaker Nominated
2nd place
BAFTA[40][41] 12 February 2012 Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Nominated
Best Original Score Howard Shore Nominated
Best Sound Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty, Tom Fleischman and John Midgley Won
Best Editing Thelma Schoonmaker Nominated
Best Production Design Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo Won
Best Costume Design Sandy Powell Nominated
Best Makeup and Hair Morag Ross and Jan Archibald Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Picture Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Young Actor/Actress Asa Butterfield Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay John Logan Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Nominated
Best Editing Thelma Schoonmaker Nominated
Best Production Design/Art Direction Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo Won
Best Score Howard Shore Nominated
Best Costume Design Sandy Powell Nominated
Best Visual Effects Robert Legato Nominated
Best Sound Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty, Tom Fleischman and John Midgley Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association[42][43] 7 January 2012 Best Film Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Nominated
Best Score Howard Shore Nominated
David di Donatello Awards[44] 4 May 2012 Best Foreign Film Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society[45] 16 December 2011 Best Film Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Florida Film Critics Circle Awards[46] 19 December 2011 Best Director Martin Scorsese Won
Best Film Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Production Design/Art Direction Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo Won
Golden Globe Awards[47][48] 15 January 2012 Best Director Martin Scorsese Won
Best Motion Picture – Drama Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Original Score Howard Shore Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards[49] 31 May 2012 Best Animation/Family "Imagine" Nominated
Best Animation/Family TV Spot Nominated
Grammy Awards[50] 10 February 2013 Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media Howard Shore Nominated
Hugo Awards (Science Fiction Achievement Awards) 2 September 2012 Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) Martin Scorsese and John Logan Nominated
Indiana Film Critics Association Best Film Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Musical Score Howard Shore Nominated
Las Vegas Film Critics Society 13 December 2011 Best Film Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Family Film Won
Best Film Editing Thelma Schoonmaker Won
Best Youth in Film Asa Butterfield Won
National Board of Review[51] Best Film Graham King and Martin Scorsese Won
Best Director Martin Scorsese Won
New York Film Critics Circle Award 29 November 2011 Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
2nd place
Best Film Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
3rd place
Online Film Critics Society Awards 2 January 2012 Best Picture Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Nominated
Phoenix Film Critics Society 27 December 2011 Best Picture Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay John Logan Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Nominated
Best Production Design Dante Ferretti Won
Best Costume Design Sandy Powell Nominated
Best Visual Effects Robert Legato Won
Best Live Action Family Film Nominated
Satellite Awards 19 December 2011 Best Picture Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Art Direction and Production Design Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Nominated
Best Visual Effects Robert Legato Won
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards 14 December 2011 Best Production Design Dante Ferretti Won
Best Film Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay John Logan Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Nominated
Best Editing Thelma Schoonmaker Nominated
Best Score Howard Shore Nominated
Saturn Awards[52] 20 June 2012 Best Fantasy Film Nominated
Best Actor Ben Kingsley Nominated
Best Performance by a Younger Actor Asa Butterfield Nominated
Chloë Grace Moretz Nominated
Best Director Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Writing John Logan Nominated
Best Music Howard Shore Nominated
Best Costume Sandy Powell Nominated
Best Production Design Dante Ferretti Won
Best Editing Thelma Schoonmaker Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards[53] 5 December 2011 Best Director Martin Scorsese Won
Best Art Direction Dante Derretti Won
Best Film Graham King and Martin Scorsese Nominated
Best Acting Ensemble Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay John Logan Nominated
Best Cinematography Robert Richardson Nominated
Best Score Howard Shore Nominated
World Soundtrack Academy 20 October 2012 Best Soundtrack Award Howard Shore Nominated
Composer of the Year Nominated
Young Artist Award[54] 6 May 2012 Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actor Asa Butterfield Nominated
Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress Chloë Grace Moretz Won

References[edit]

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External links[edit]