Besides the hangovers, winners must shake off fear of next big step

The French partied hard in Hollywood after the Oscars, but what happens next? By Guy Adams

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The Independent Online

If they are anything like most Oscar winners, the team behind The Artist will have spent the first day of the rest of their lives conforming to the grandest, most lucrative Hollywood tradition.

Having woken-up, pinched themselves and checked that – oui! – there really was a gold statue on their bedside table, France's newly-minted movie stars are likely to have devoted their waking hours to pondering two pressing questions. How to shift that throbbing hangover? And which of the myriad of career choices on their horizon should they pursue next?

The first will not have been easy. Having sought refreshment at the Governor's Ball, the team who won five of Sunday's Academy Awards (including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor) adjourned to a party hosted by the film's distributor, Harvey Weinstein, at the Mondrian Hotel. Then they swept through Vanity Fair's bash, before continuing to the Chateau Marmont Hotel, where at around four in the morning, several boisterous members of their entourage leapt into the swimming pool, fully-clothed.

Finally, around sunrise, they pitched up at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills for a champagne breakfast.

The second post-Oscar question requires even more careful consideration. Like any winners of the biggest accolade in showbusiness, The Artist's leading man, Jean Dujardin, director Michel Hazanavicius, and producer Thomas Langmann will be inundated with offers. But, as any agent will tell you, an overabundance of choice doesn't make for easy decisions.

Unlike Meryl Streep, whose Best Actress award completes a hat-trick of Oscars, the équipe behind The Artist are relatively new arrivals on the A-list. Until their little $15m black-and-white silent movie debuted at Cannes in May, where Mr Dujardin won Best Actor, they were relatively unknown outside their native France. Much, therefore, hangs on their next move.

All three can, if they desire, leverage The Artist's success into financial security. The film has already made $76m worldwide and is being widened into more than 2,000 cinemas in the US, with a view to capitalising on Best Picture status. As well as earnings from that pot they are entitled to use their modish status to secure significant paydays. Last year's Best Actress, Natalie Portman, for example, followed-up her award-winning role in the low-budget indy title Black Swan by signing onto a project that couldn't have been more different: the expensive blockbuster, Thor. But taking a fat cheque can prove dangerous, as such forgotten past Oscar-winners as Adrien Brody may attest. For now, The Artist's stars insist that they have no ambition to sell out. Speaking backstage, immediately after being named Best Actor, Mr Dujardin declared that regardless of whether he now takes up residence in Beverly Hills, he intends to remain true to his roots. "I'm not an American actor, I'm French," he said. "If I could make another silent movie in America, I would. But I'll always be a French actor in America."

Mr Hazanavicius, for his part, suggested that he and Mr Langmann will attempt to repeat their recent success by producing a modern remake of Fred Zinnemann's 1948 film The Search, which starred Montgomery Clift and is set in post-War Berlin.

"It will be a modern movie set today and [his wife and The Artist's female lead] Bérénice Bejo will be in it," Mr Hazanavicius revealed, hinting also that the film will be made in Europe.

There is, of course, one star of The Artist for whom Sunday represented an end, rather than a beginning. Uggie, the Jack Russell who has attracted as many admirers as his human co-stars, is to be retired, at the age of nine.

Asked, on the post-Oscar party circuit, where his terrier had gone, Mr Dujardin offered a Gallic shrug: "The old man went to bed already."