The Artist is being tipped to collect a raft of Baftas – but some cinemagoers are demanding their money back because it is a silent film.
The tribute to 1920s Hollywood, the black and white movie has already won three Golden Globe awards for its dazzling portrayal of the pre-talkie era.
But audiences at some Odeon Cinemas are unimpressed by the homage to the "Golden Age" of silent films and a smaller-than-usual screen.
Film-fan Nicola Shearer, 25, attended a screening at Odeon Liverpool One after a wave of complaints. She was asked by cinema staff if she knew "it is a silent film".
English graduate Nicola, from Liverpool, said: "Of course I knew it was and I asked the usher why she wanted to know.
"She then told me some people complained and asked for refunds because there is no sound and the screen is smaller.
"I thought it was really funny and laughed."
The film was purposely reduced to a smaller screen size to give it an authentic look of original silent films which were hugely popular from the late 19th century to the early 30s.
Many silent film stars like Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy are still household names despite the fact that we live in an era of films laden with compter graphics.
Critics say that is what makes The Artist a "magnificent crowd-pleaser".
Odeon and UCI Cinemas Group initially denied there had been any complaints made at screenings at their multiplex in Liverpool city centre.
A spokesperson first said: "We can confirm that there have been no complaints/refunds regarding The Artist screenings."
But after being confronted with statements from amazed cinemagoers Odeon admitted refunds had been given to some of their guests.
The spokesman said: "Odeon Liverpool One can confirm it has issued a small number of refunds to guests who were unaware that The Artist was a silent film.
"The cinema is happy to offer guests a refund on their film choice is they raise concern with a member of staff within 10 minutes of the film starting."
The first award-winning silent film in 90 years stars Jean Dujardin as fading leading man George Valentin at the beginning of the end for the silent film era, Hollywood 1927.
French actress Berenice Bejo also stars as the young dancer Peppy Miller who is destined for fame and a threat to Valentin's limelight.
Famous faces John Goodman, L.A. Confidential star James Cromwell, Malcolm McDowell and Penelope Ann Miller are in supporting roles.
Director Michel Hazanavicius's acclaimed tale was named Best Musical or Comedy along with Best Score – beating Oscar-winning composer Trent Reznor's soundtrack for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
Dujardin won Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for his performance and he also won the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival 2011.
The Artist is now tipped for Oscar glory after the Golden Globe wins.
Hazanavicius said he saw the funny side of the audience walkouts.
"I have been told about it and I think it's hilarious, actually," he said.
"If I could give any advice to people it would be that they should ask for their money back whenever they see a film they don't expect. If it's not written on the poster 'this is a bad movie' and they think it's a bad movie, ask for a refund!”
Some French audiences also had difficulty with the film. Hazanavicius explained: "It's funny because we don't have the same word in French for 'silent', we say 'mute'. And in the beginning people kept asking, 'Is this a movie about mute and deaf people?'”
The success of the first "talkie", The Jazz Singer, released in 1927 and starring Al Jolson, was the beginning of the end for silent films and they had ceased production within a decade.
Hazanavicius said he hoped that The Artist would be the first of many films to revisit the silent era.
“We have gained some things with talkies - if we still had the silent era we would never have had Billy Wilder, never have had Woody Allen. But it’s true that we also lost something,” he said.
“Maybe the only thing I regret is that talkies totally killed silent movies. I think we could have both. That’s what is happening with The Artist - people really enjoy the format and they’ve discovered that it is a new way to tell a story.”