I've heard a lot of positive reviews and opinions about Hugo. Probably more than Harry Potter's last movie. While I did watch the last HP, I haven't watched Hugo fully, so I can't form an opinion about it.
The thing I noticed about Hugo by watching just a single scene is that its story telling is excellent. The manner it's filmed and the way the scene progresses is top notch. If the entire movie was that way, then I think it deserved the award.