The Artist Dominates Oscars: B&W Throwback Silences the Competition
The Artist, a black& white silent film evocative of a bygone era, won the hearts of the Academy Award voters, netting Oscars in the Best Picture, Director, Actor, Costume Design and Score categories. Hugo won five times, too, but only for technical achievements.
After The Artist’s Jean Dujardin beat George Clooney for Best Actor, the foul-mouthed Frenchman not only broke his silence, but tricked the censors by saying the F-word in his native language during his exuberant acceptance speech. Maybe there’s a reason why silent film is his medium.
Dujardin wasn’t the only winner to resort to expletives, so did T.J. Wilson (Undefeated), the first African-American director to earn an Oscar for a full-length documentary. It’s difficult to discern exactly what T.J. said, since he was bleeped a couple times for his indiscretion. Also crossing a line was presenter Jennifer Lopez, whose daring dress failed to cover all of one of her areolas. Could this have been a deliberate wardrobe malfunction by J. Lo to have the fashion talk of Tinseltown revolve around her revealing evening gown?
But I digress. As this critic correctly predicted, Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) upset favorite Viola Davis (The Help) for Best Actress. Anybody else notice that naturally-coiffed Viola seemed to stand up as if to accept when Streep’s name was announced, as if she’d assumed she’d win?
Why did I forecast a Streep victory? My thinking was that the 94% white Academy would cast sentimental votes for her over a relative newcomer, especially since the perennial-nominee hadn’t won in 29 years. Plus, the members could easily avoid being labeled racist by simultaneously supporting Davis’ African-American cast mate Octavia Davis for Best Supporting Actress.
Replacement master of ceremonies Billy Crystal (for Eddie Murphy) did another excellent job, easily making everyone forget last year’s awkward attempts at comedy on the part of co-hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway. This go-round, the nine-time emcee revived such trademarks of his tenure as an opening song-and-dance as well as an inspired spoof of the Best Picture nominees via a movie montage.
Complete List of Oscar Winners
Best Picture: The Artist
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Best Actress: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Best Original Screenplay: Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants, Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
Best Animated Feature Film: Rango
Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation (Iran)
Best Original Score: The Artist, Ludovic Bource
Best Original Song: “Man or Muppet” by Bret McKenzie, The Muppets
Best Documentary Feature: Undefeated
Best Film Editing: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall
Best Cinematography: Hugo, Richard Richardson
Best Visual Effects: Hugo, Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann & Alex Henning
Best Sound Editing: Hugo, Philip Stockton & Eugene Gearty
Best Sound Mixing: Hugo, Tom Fleischman & John Midgley
Best Art Direction: Hugo, Dante Ferretti & Francesca Lo Schiavo
Best Costume Design: The Artist, Mark Bridges
Best Makeup: The Iron Lady, Mark Coulier & J. Roy Helland
Best Live-Action Short Film: The Shore
Best Documentary Short Film: Saving Face
Best Animated Short Film: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore