If you don't know the story, I won't give away any spoilers but here's a summary: the story follows a young orphan in 1930s Paris while he works in the walls of the city's train station tending the clocks. At the heart of the story, the boy is obsessed with restoring an automaton which he and his father worked on before his father's untimely death. It's based on the Caldecott-winning picture book/novel by Brian Selznick. With a name like Selznick, I was curious to know if he had a Hollywood lineage. Sure enough, when I looked him up, I found he is the first cousin, twice removed, of David O. Selznick, producer of Gone With the Wind, Academy Award winner for Best Picture of the year in 1939 (I recognized the name only because I was obsessed with GWTW as a teen).
From Selznick's website, he reports that Hugo was inspired by a passage in the book, Edison’s Eve. It tells of a collection of automata that belonged to moviemaker George Melies. After Melies's death, the automata were tossed in the garbage by the museum staff. Selznick, a fan of Melies and automata, was fascinated, imagining a young boy finding an automaton in the trash.
Hugo has been nominated for Academy Awards in eleven categories, including Best Picture and Best Director (Martin Scorcese)! It was a fantastic movie, and Selznick's story deserves the accolades. I'd love to see another Selznick creation win an Oscar.
Here's to Hugo - cheers!