It was a big night for magical movies about movie magic
The Artist and Hugo each won five awards.
I guess for The Artist silence was golden… Forgive the pun, I had to.
The Artist, a silent French film about Hollywood in the late 1920s and early 1930s during the time silent films were being replaced by talkies, it is about the rise and fall of an older silent film star and a young actress. It’s also in black and white and in the older style aspect ratio. The Artist won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Original Score & Costume Design.
Hugo is about a boy who lives in the Montparnasse Paris railway station and the enigmatic owner of a toy shop who turns out to be the once great filmmaker, Georges Méliès.
Hugo swept the technical awards; it won Cinematography, Art Direction, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing & Visual Effects.
The Artist & Hugo are both films about the early days of cinema. The Artist became the first silent film to win Best Picture in 83 years, after Wings, which won Best Picture in the 1st Academy Awards, which lasted only 15 minutes. The Artist is also the first French film to win Best Picture. While Hugo is Scorsese’s first film shot in 3D.
The most entertaining highlights included:
Meryl Streep accepted the third Oscar of her legendary career; she won for her role as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, her other wins were for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Sophie’s Choice (1982).
Distinguished veteran actor of seven decades Christopher Plummer, received his first Oscar for his supporting role in Beginners, at age 82, Plummer is the oldest actor ever to win an Academy Award.
Actor James Earl Jones and make-up artist Dick Smith both received an Honorary Academy Award, while Oprah Winfrey received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
The night was hosted by Billy Crystal in his classic and celebrated style, with a funny-thing-happened-on-the-way-to-the-Oscars type pre-show, in which he appears in scenes of all the nominated films and even shares an on-screen kiss with George Clooney. Then he had a quick Monologue and Musical opening in which he crammed all 9 nominated films into the song. AMPAS president Tom Sherak spoke a few times, the first time announcing the show’s theme of ‘Celebrate the Movies in all of us’, and in the final instance Billy Crystal jabbed him with a quick one liner for being boring.
Billy Crystal also introduced a sketch comedy skit about lost footage of an ironic focus group criticizing The Wizard of Oz, with Bob Balaban, Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Fred Willard, Jennifer Coolidge and Catherine O’Hara.
Brian Grazer co-produced the show. That included the awe inspiring Cirque Du Soleil’s interpretation of what going to the movies feels like, it also had a North by Northwest homage at the beginning that would make even the most cynical cinephile crack a smile.
The always entertaining Robert Downey, jr. engaged in some very comedic banter with Gwyneth Paltrow, RDJ appears back stage, posed on one knee, he springs up and struts onstage with his own camera crew claiming they are making a documentary about him called The Presenter. Best documentary went to Undefeated.
Will Ferrell & Zach Galifianakis made a delightful mess with their cymbals.
Angelina Jolie, or as Billy Crystal put it, the original girl with the dragon tattoo, presented for writing, showing a lot of nice leg only to be parodied by The Descendants screenwriters Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, but it was all in good fun.
Finally the cast of Bridesmaids topped off the evening funnies with some not so subtle penis jokes in their Short film presentations, as well as a Scorsese drinking game, a shout out to an earlier reference at the SAG awards.
In the end, these were the results:
11 nominations: Hugo- 5 wins
10 nominations: The Artist- 5 wins
6 nominations: Moneyball and War Horse
5 nominations: The Descendants- 1 win, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo- 1 win.
4 nominations: The Help- 1 win, and Midnight in Paris- 1 win.
3 nominations: Albert Nobbs, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and The Tree of Life
2 nominations: Bridesmaids, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Iron Lady- 2 wins, My Week with Marilyn, and A Separation
For the full list: