After months of Oscar speculating, the showdown at the Academy Awards between frontrunners Hugo and The Artist ended in a draw: together, both films dominated the proceedings with five wins each.
Despite a strong initial showing from director Martin Scorsese's 3D drama that suggested the beginnings of a Hugo sweep, the Academy Awards ceremony proceeded along lines familiar to many Oscar prognosticators. Hugo picked up many of the night's significant technical awards – including Best Cinematography for Robert Richardson and Best Art Direction for production designer Dante Ferretti and his wife, set decorator Francesca Lo Schiavo – while The Artist won the coveted Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Picture statues.
Also expected to win were Gore Verbinski for his surreal animated Western Rango; Octavia Spencer, The Help's star who delivered a tearful acceptance speech upon winning the Best Supporting Actress award; and Woody Allen, whose original Midnight in Paris screenplay netted the filmmaker his fourth career Oscar – though, in true Allen form, he did not attend the ceremony.
What surprises were to be found came infrequently. After picking up the Best Actress Award for her work as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, Meryl Streep joked that she "could hear half of America going, 'Oh, no. Oh, come on. Why her again,'" a comment referring to both her Oscar ubiquity – The Iron Lady marked her seventeenth nomination – as well as to the fact that many expected The Help's Viola Davis to take home the award, though most Oscar forecasters put the odds between Streep and Davis at an even split.
Editors Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall looked genuinely shocked when they received the Best Editing Oscar for their The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo work; while they won last year for The Social Network, 2012's predicted favorite was Hugo's Thelma Schoonmaker. Late in the evening, The Descendants' writing team of Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash caused another upset when they won Best Adapted Screenplay over Moneyball scribes Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian.
Perhaps most unexpected, however, was Hugo's Best Visual Effects triumph over Rise of the Planet of the Apes. This past Oscar campaigning season sparked controversy over the artistic merits of Andy Serkis' motion-captured lead performance as genetically superior ape Caesar, and it was widely assumed that a win in the Visual Effects category would compensate for Serkis' lack of a formal acting nomination.
For many viewers, the night's most indelible moment came when Beginners co-star Christopher Plummer accepted the Best Supporting Actor award. The award itself made Oscar history – at eighty-two, Plummer is now the oldest person to win an acting Oscar – but Plummer himself elevated the honor past a mere trivia footnote. Beginning with an amusing aside to the award – "You're only two years older than me, darling…Where have you been all my life?" – Plummer then delivered a moving, witty, and extremely polished speech that reflected his gratitude for both Beginners and for his career as a whole.
Below is a full list of the 2012 Oscar winners.
Best Picture: The Artist, Producer Thomas Langmann
My favourite moment was when Christopher Plummer, 82, won his first Oscar after such a long and distinguished Shakespearean, stage and screen career. Classy acceptance speech too... John Barrymore would be proud.
Overall the show was a lot better then previous years. Billy Crystal with producer Brian Grazier did a great job in revitilizing this usually dead pan peep show. But like Crystal said in his opening monologe, who really wants to watch a bunch of millionares get gold trophies.......
The Academy Awards seemed a little lackluster this year. The highlight happened on the red carpet before hand with Sasha Baron Cohen (The Dictator) spilling Kim Jon Il's remains on Ryan Seacrest. For me the most appalling thing with this years Oscars was when Octavia Spencer won for supporting actress and she had 45 seconds to speak before the music started on her. She barely got a few words in before she was cut off. I really wanted to hear her acceptance speech. The surprise of the night in my opinion was Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady. I think most people including myself thought Viola Davis was going to walk away with the statue. So not the best Academy Awards nor the worst. I really liked what Pharrell did with the music this year, definite highlight.
I also didn't miss The Walking Dead after watching the Academy Awards living on the West Coast.
I DVR'd enough that I could fast forward through most of it. Billy Crystal was great, he was mainly why I wanted to watch. Highlights for me: seeing Bret McKenzie with an Oscar and the Christopher Guest sketch. Personally, the only film I felt strongly about was The Tree of Life, but I knew there was no way it would even get close to winning. Hell, I'm surprised it got nominated. I wanted to see Drive and more Warrior there. Good show, lackluster nominations. Good for Christopher Plummer though.
Guess, so far at least, I have the minority opinion that Billy Crystal was a less-than brilliant host to say the least. His opening monologue fell almost completely flat, and his song medley of Best Picture nominees, which was a tired bit back in the 90s, didn't produce a single good laugh. Even the opening segment where he was inserted into the Best Picture clips was pretty lame. He did get off a few good quips later on in the evening but, for the most part, he was only a marginal improvement over last years dismal pairing of James Franco and Anne Hathaway. I'd say I was disappointed but I didn't really expect much from him anyway.
8 minutes into the show, Billy started singing and it all went very lame. Hugo & A Separation were the best films I saw from last year closely followed by War Horse & Moneyball. This could have been a tight 2 hour show but it was as bad as always (why do I keep watching especially when I could have seen another great Luck episode?).
The Dead Zone tribute forgot Pete Postelwaite and Harry Morgan plus Erland Josephson who died over the weekend. I don't know, maybe the Swedes forgot to put his picture on the internet for the goofs who put this together on their IPhones between calls for more carry out and cocaine. Whitney Houston was not an actor/singer and had no real role in the Oscars ever. Get it right or don't do it.
One of the best Academy Awards to date. No one trying to turn themselves into a politician via acceptance speech, and everyone who won was worthy of the award. Except Viola Davis... what a disappointment. I feel bad for her.
Certainly the best awards ceremony in recent years. Mostly great, well-deserving nominees in all categories, and generally satisfactory winning choices, despite a few surprises here and there (and Cinematography really should have gone to TREE OF LIFE, if not THE ARTIST). I guessed 12 out of the 24 correctly and 7 out of the top 8 categories: Picture, Director, Acting, Writing), which is about average for my predictions. I sure hope Billy Crystal keeps coming back, even if it's not every year.
I think even Robert Richardson himself did not believe he won the Oscar for Best Cinematography... I mean, it´s a good work but better than The Tree of life? Poor Lubezki, after Sleepy Hollow, Children of man and now The tree of life, it seems he won´t win an Oscar.
Have yet to see The Artist, Hugo, The Help or The Descendents. Did see War Horse at a theater though as I think it is the type of movie that should be seen on the big screen. Will check out Hugo, The Descendents and possibly The Artist on blu-ray. I think they should go back to 5 movie nominations for best picture, 9 or 10 or whatever it is, is way too many. Seeing some of your favourite actors is of course one of the reasons why we watch the Oscars. In this regard, Angelina Jolie and her bare leg pose which was mimicked by a later male oscar recipient was the subject of discussion at a couple of news sites. In my personal opinion, she is a bone rack. Her arms look like chicken legs. I suppose a semi awkward moment was the speech by the Iranian after A Separation received the oscar for best foreign language film.
The "In Memorium" segment was THE WORST they've ever done. Starting with a LONG, SLOW close up of the singer (who cares) and transitioned into these horrible graphics - a still picture, on a blinding white background, and tiny lettering of who they are. Virtually no audio/video of the people till half-way through, and they even messed that up with the clips they chose. And then, NO APPLAUSE!?! Either they were all told no applauding or they didn't care that these people had died, what a disgrace
I'm not a fan of the applause during the "in Memoriam" segment. THIS person deserves a hearty round of applause, but for THAT person we're almost silent(?) Just not a fan of that. It's like a popularity contest. Everyone's life means (meant) something to someone.
This ceremony was much better than last year's. I think Billy Crystal did a great job hosting the ceremony. Also I'm happy that Hugo and The Artist won many awards. I was rooting for Hugo for best picture but The Artist is excellent too. Very happy about The Muppets, Midnight in Paris, The Descendants and The Help wins because all of them are really good films also. Chistopher Plummer delivered the best speech of the night but the funniest bit was when Robert Downey Jr. presented witn Gwineth Paltrow. Also Emma Stne was hilarious!! My only surprise was when Meryl Streep won. I believed Viola Davis would have won and I was rooting for her. Don't get me wrong, I love Streep and her perfomance is magnificent but The Help is a much better movie than the Iron Lady.
Crystal was in fine form from the start with his takeoff on The Artist. Am thrilled with the wins The Artist got. I feel they were well deserved.
Noticed when Plummer won he was given a stading ovation. I think it was equal to a lifetime achievement award as I watched almost an hour of Beginners (could not sit thru any more) and even though he is a fine actor I didn't feel this role was an award wining one.
P. S. The Artist won best picture!!!!!!!!!! Yeah one of my all time favorite films.
So happy that Meryl Streep beat Viola Davis. She's the greatest actress alive and she was absolute genius in The Iron Lady. Although, I wouldn't have been disappointed if Rooney Mara had won. Also happy about:
Best Original Screenplay - Woody Allen
Best Supporting Actor - Chris Plummer
Best Editing - The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (truly unexpected, justice was done)
@Hunk Golden. I understand your point and do agree to an extent. But on the other hand there are "icons" in that industry and deservidly an Elizabeth Taylor or a Paul Newman is going to get more applause than a publist or sound designer
The Artist & Hugo tying in total wins is hardly "a draw". It may be a numerical tie, but Picture, Director, Actor & Score (plus one technical win) ALWAYS beats five technical wins--even when it's a B&W silent vs. a 3D film.
I think the Oscars are a joke. What happened to "DRIVE"? I thought it was the best movie of the year and Ryan Goslings performance was superb and should have won best actor but not even nominated-what a joke. . Viola Davis should have won best actress, enough of M. Streep already.
Overall, I rather enjoyed this year's Academy Awards ceremony, honoring films from one of the stronger recent years in movies. Billy Crystal, who I grew up watching host the Oscars, was funny and terrific as always and I thought the presentation was well done overall.
Also, the films and people I really wanted to win generally did win. Congrats to all the winners and especially to...
-The Artist. Easily one of my top films from the year and well deserving of its many wins.
-Hugo. A film I also thoroughly enjoyed.
-Meryl Streep. One of my favorite actresses of all time, I'm glad she finally won her elusive third Oscar after all these years, in a memorable performance (I'm sure Viola Davis, another actress I admire, win in the near future.)
-Christopher Plummer. It's always terrific to see a talent as consistently great as he finally receive his his due, and for such a nice performance — though to say the award was beyond late is an understatement.
-Octavia Spencer. Such a strong performance in The Help, well deserved.
-A Separation. If you haven't seen this Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film, you should. It's a fairly simple story, powerfully told and acted.
-The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I'm glad this film, another one of my top films of 2011, surprised everyone and received the Best Editing Oscar and, in so doing, garnered a little bit of the awards attention it deserved.
-The animated short The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. In a year when I figured Pixar's short would win, instead the award went to this film, which is infused with so much more passion and feeling.
It's pretty cool that next year's Oscars will be the 85th annual. I hope they can do it up right. I hope they don't try too hard or get too gimmicky to try to draw in a different (younger) audience...or a bigger audience...or to try to appease everyone. I'm so flipping tired of the snakiness about actors, Hollywood, the Oscars...how much they all suck. "Ooo...a bunch of rich celebs congratulating each other..." blah, blah, blah. It's an awards show. Rather, it's THE awards show. It's a celebration of (most of) the best in movies that year. If that's not your thing, don't watch.
It blows my mind that people who hate actors (Hollywood, movies, Oscars) so much tune in and whine about how bad it is every year. Why don't you flip over to Real Housewives Of Nobody Cares About These Fake B*tches (or whatever show you're usually watching) instead. Why does Hollywood try to appeal to these solipsistic Twitter addicts and self-haters? Just put on a show for those of us who love film. Make the best show possible.
I thought the Cirqu de Soleil bit was the best part. I'm also happy to see Christopher Plummer win. I didn't see The Help because I already saw Driving Miss Daisy. Using historical setting and a black servant to (setimentally) show racial inequality as a way for guilty whites to apologize on behalf of their grandparents is a archetype/genre/syndrome as tired as the Magical Negro.
The only gripe I have is the Woody Allen win. That movie was little more than an aging intellectual fantasizing (self-stroking) about meeting his intellectual heroes. Midnight in Paris is the cinematical equivalent of someone saying, "If I won the lottery I'd..." It was sentimental, nostalgic and the name dropping was just too much.
I agree with you about The Help. It was an okay time at the movies but the whole concept is getting old like you said. Midnight in Paris was sentimental and nostalgic, but you have to admit the movie itself admits that too much nostalgia is a bad thing.
Then the Academy Awards aren't for you. & that's fine. To each their own.
I don't care about Nascar (for ex). So I don't watch the Daytona 500...making fun of it on Twitter during the race.....then whining on message boards all over the internet about how lame the Daytona 500 is, how it's worse every year, how all the drivers are a bunch of morons who get paid millions for driving cars in circles, etc...
Everybody's entitled to their opinion. I'm not the kind of person who thinks - if you don't like something, keep your mouth shut. But there's so much b*tching about the Oscars every year, mostly by people who aren't interested in it anyway. It gets old. To all the people out there who hate it...if it's not your thing, fine. Focus your attention on something else.
I think this years ceremony was much more entertaining than last years. The Oscars are probably the only time that I enjoy Billy Crystal (in the last twenty years anyway...) Can't say I was disappointed with any of the results, although I was genuinely surprised when The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo won for Editing. I must admit that I was happiest at the Short Film animation award, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore was simply charming and I was glad to see it beat the Pixar juggernaut.
I'm so happy for THE ARTIST and JEAN DUJARDIN. I think people don't know him here... He's sutch an awesome actor... He can play everything : "films d'auteur", darkest caracters or comedies (OSS 117, BRICE THE NICE)... JEAN DUJARDIN deserve his Oscar. As did THE ARTIST... This is the best hommage to Hoolywood and Cinema I ever seen. What a great lesson : no 3D gimmick, no talking... "Just" a great story, a great director, a great music and fantastic cast and crew. Yes Jean : tu l'as ton Oscar !!