Both Hugo and The Artist, which together won 10 Academy Awards on Sunday, honor cinema’s earliest days, when motion picture pioneers applied their exuberant imaginations to learning how to use an emerging technology. By the time of The Artist, as silent films gave way to talkies in the 1920’s, there were established cinematic conventions and storytelling techniques, but just 20 years earlier, when Georges Méliès cranked out over 500 films after seeing what the Lumiere brothers cooked up in Paris in 1895 – it was the first time anyone had done anything. Screening this month at Lincoln Center is The Extraordinary Voyage, a documentary about restoring Melies’s A Trip to the Moon (1902), a zany 20 minute film about a few folks, wearing hats and colorful long jackets, who are shot to the moon in a cannon, take a nap, swat an alien with their umbrellas, then safely return to a parade welcoming them back to Earth. One of the best parts of Hugo, based on Brian Selznick’s novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret, is the mystery of Méliès being unravelled by the two curious children, and the film archivists Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange have that same spirit in The Extraordinary Voyage, as they labored intensively, over ten years, to restore A Trip to the Moon. We’re lucky they did.