The Battle for an Oscar: Hugo


Over the course of the past year, many great movies have been released.  Hugo, released on November 23, 2011 was one of the most recognized films of the year. Both the skillful use of 3D effects and the development of the characters and plot won acclaimed director Martin Scorsese a golden globe for best director.

The film tells the tale of an orphan boy named Hugo Cabrey (Asa Butterfield) who lives in the walls of a Parisian train station.  He tends to the station’s clocks, making sure they work properly.   When his father dies in a fire, Hugo’s uncle teaches him about the clocks and how to fix them.  Like his father, Hugo has a knack for tinkering with various items and mending them.  Before Hugo’s father passes away he shows Hugo a broken automaton which he needs Hugo’s help to fix.  Hugo feels that when his father dies the automaton is the only thing he has left of his dad, and he is determined to fix it.

His story intertwines with a young girl by the name of Isabelle (Chloë Moretz) and her “Pappa George” (Ben Kingsley). Hugo is unsure why they have been brought together, but he knows that Isabelle possesses a key that fits inside the automaton, which is the final piece he needs to fix the machine. A large part of the movie is dedicated to the children figuring out the connection, and the audience is brought along for the ride.

Hugo is Scorsese’s first family film, and the skillful incorporation of the 3-dimensional effects helps the audience connect to the characters in a much more personal way.  By allowing the audience to feel as though they are part of Hugo’s story, they become part of his quest to discover who he truly is, and where he belongs in the world.

Although Hugo is alone for the most part, he rarely asks for help from anyone.  He knows how to take care of himself, and while this is a good thing, he is not allowing anyone into his life.  Everyone needs to be loved, and until he befriends Isabelle, he never experiences true friendship.  This creates a character that the audience can sympathize with and come to love.

Hugo is a movie that is well deserving of an Oscar as it allows all viewers to dive into an adventure along with Hugo Cabrey.