After an awards season that foretold a lot of sure things and few surprises, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored “The Artist” with Best Picture and four other Oscars at the organization’s 84th annual ceremony. Michel Havanvicius’ tribute to the films of the silent era was the first silent film in 83 years to take home the night’s top honor, even as it took home honors in the Best Director, Best Actor, Best Original Score, and Best Costume Design. Meanwhile, Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” collected five statuettes of its own for Best Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Art Direction and Cinematography.
After the first two categories announced at the ceremony, Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction, went to “Hugo,” it seemed possible that Scorsese’s homage to cinema’s earliest days might prevail. But after “The Artist” picked up Best Art Direction, a horse race quickly emerged between the two throwbacks, while the legitimate four-legged contender, “War Horse,” seemed destined to go home empty handed (it was nominated for six awards). Perhaps the only real surprise of the night was when Meryl Streep won Best Actress over Viola Davis; Davis’ performance in “The Help” was widely considered the one to beat throughout the awards season, but after 17 nominations and 20 years, Streep prevailed.
Otherwise, the ceremony itself was fairly understated, possibly owing to the retro vibe of the whole evening, starting with the nostalgic nominees and extending even to the performance by host Billy Crystal, a last- minute replacement for Eddie Murphy who went back to several of his old routines from years past. Although Murphy and former producer Brett Ratner might have brought the show a much more modern, irreverent, and – gasp! – irreverent vibe, Crystal mostly kept proceeding moving smoothly, and had a couple of knockout gags later in the show when he read the minds of attendees in the crowd, and eventually landed on Nick Nolte, whose incoherent grumble made for a terrific (if a little bit mean-spirited) punch line.
Check out a full list of the winners below:
Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
Michel Hazanivicius, “The Artist”
Short Film (Animated)
“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”
Documentary Short Subject
Short Film (Live Action)
Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, “The Descendants”
Music (Original Song)
“Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets,” Bret McKenzie
Music (Original Score)
Ludovic Bource, “The Artist”
Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Best Animated Feature
Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Octavia Spencer, “The Help”
Best Foreign Feature
Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland, “The Iron Lady”
Who do you think was snubbed at this year’s Oscars? Let us know in the comments below.