Meryl wins her third Academy Award as 'The Artist' sweeps the major categories
After watching the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday night, it was clear that The Artist was going to sweep all the major categories on Oscar Sunday and it did, winning for best picture, actor and director, as well as costume design and best film score.
Meryl Streep picked up her third award — after 13 straight losses — which became part of a historical night. The best actor win for Jean Dujardin was the first by a male actor from France and Christopher Plummer’s best supporting actor win made him the oldest performer to ever take home the award. He joked, saying to his statue, “You’re only two years older than me, darling, where have you been all my life?”
Octavia Spencer became the fifth African-American to win the best supporting actress trophy and she was nearly speechless as she tearfully accepted. She did manage to get off a quip that she was now paired, “With the hottest guy in the room.”
Steep’s win was a mild surprise since Viola Davis had won a lot of pre-Oscar best actress accolades including the Screen Actors Guild. Steep gave her friend Davis a hug on the way to the podium. She admitted she was surprised at how thrilled she was winning after all these years.
In another historic moment, A Separation, which won best foreign language film, became the first film from Iran to win in that category.
Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, which earned the most nominations, 11, tied The Artist with five wins for cinematography, art direction, sound editing, sound mixing, and best visual effects.
Billy Crystal made a welcome return as the Oscar host for the ninth time and his opening montage in which he injected himself into the nine nominated movies was very funny, as it had been in previous years.
Best Picture: The Artist.
Actor: Jean Dujardin The Artist.
Actress: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady.
Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners.
Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help.
Directing: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist.
Foreign Language Film: “A Separation,” Iran.
Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, The Descendants.
Original Screenplay: Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris.
Animated Feature Film: Rango.
Art Direction: Hugo.
Sound Mixing: Hugo.
Sound Editing: Hugo.
Original Score: The Artist.
Original Song: “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets.
Costume Design: The Artist.
Documentary Feature: Undefeated.
Documentary Short: Saving Face.
Film Editing: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
Makeup: The Iron Lady.
Animated Short Film: “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.
Live Action Short Film: The Shore.
Visual Effects: Hugo.
If you were planning to make a fictional look at what Navy SEALs do in real life, having active unit Navy SEALs in the main roles seems like a fascinating attempt at upping the realism of the firefights.
This year’s Oscar showdown is about the roots of filmmaking history from its very beginnings — Martin Scorsese’s Hugo — to the stylish era of 1920s silent movies (The Artist).
When one looks back over the year and designates a “best 10” list, it isn’t really a “best” ten. In all honesty it is my 10 favorite films of the year, since one’s personal tastes are such a big part of remembering which films gave you the most pleasure or had the biggest emotional impact, or just made you laugh your ass off.
The Descendants was my favorite of 26 films viewed at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, and in a year when the Oscar buzz was underwhelming coming out of the festival, Alexander Payne’s dysfunctional family dramedy earned a fair share of the acclaim.