You could start historically with our set of Thomas Edison shorts or collections by the LumiÃ¨re Brothers or Georges MeÌlieÌ€s (the latter of whom was featured prominently in the other big Award winner, Hugo). If you like comedy, we are lucky to have a wealth of early comedians that are just as funny without talking (some well known like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, some less well known like Harold Lloyd, Harry Langdon, or Fatty Arbuckle). If you're not looking for comedy, we have films from dramatic stars like Douglas Fairbanks (whom Dujardin's George Valentin most closely resembles), Mary Pickford, Rudolph Valentino, Greta Garbo, or (one of my personal favorites) Lon Chaney. And there are the famous (and not-so famous) filmmakers like Sergei Eisenstein, Abel Gance, D.W. Griffith, Fritz Lang, F.W. Murnau, G.W. Pabst, Victor SjoÌˆstroÌˆm, and Jean Vigo who are responsible for influencing how films have been constructed up through today. Lots of links here, but we are fortunate to still have so many choices, thanks to film preservation efforts by institutions like The Academy and Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation.