"The Artist," the black-and-white silent film about Hollywood’s rocky transition to the “talkies,” took the biggest honors at the 84th
It was a night filled with firsts — and an especially good night for the French.
“The Artist” was the first silent film to nab best picture honors since the first Academy Awards were held in 1929, when “Wings” took the top prize. And for the first time in Academy Awards history, a French actor (Jean Dujardin) and a French filmmaker (Michel Hazanavicius) took the academy’s top acting and directing awards.
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“I love your country!” said Dujardin as he accepted the award for playing a famous silent film star whose career hits the skids when talkies take over.
Dujardin and Hazanavicius are household names in France but were unknown to American audiences until “The Artist” opened in theaters in the United States late last year and began sweeping up during the awards season. (On Saturday, both men won in their respective categories at the
“The Artist” went into the ceremony held at the Hollywood & Highland Center and broadcast live on
Streep has been nominated 17 times, more than any other performer. But she’s won only three Oscars, and the last time was 29 years ago for lead actress in “Sophie’s Choice.” Streep looked shocked when her named was called, especially because Viola Davis was considered the front-runner for “The Help.” Davis walked over and hugged Streep before the latter headed up to accept her Oscar. “The Iron Lady" also won for makeup for Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland.
In another win for the history books,
“You’re only two years older than me, darling; where have you been all my life?” the debonaire Plummer said as he held aloft the statuette. He joked that he has spent his life rehearsing his acceptance speech. “I'm so proud to be in your company,” he said to his fellow nominees. Plummer’s win seemed preordained: He had dominated this awards season in the category.
Octavia Spencer won supporting actress for playing a sassy maid who takes delicious revenge in the 1960s-era
“Thank you, world!” said Spencer, who was crying and shaking. The movie based upon the bestselling novel about the lives of black domestics in the pre-Civil Rights-era South has turned Spencer from character actress into a star since she has won the lion’s share of awards this season. She was so overcome she had to be helped onstage by the film’s writer-director, Tate Taylor, to a long and boisterous ovation.
She was there to hand out two Oscars. One was for adapted screenplay, to
In other awards, filmmakers Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin and producer Rich Middlemas took the trophy for the football
As for “Hugo,” Robert Richardson won for cinematography, the husband-and-wife team of production designer Dante Ferretti and set decorator Francesca Lo Schiavo won for art direction, Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty won for sound editing, Tom Fleischman and John Midgley won for sound mixing, and for Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann and Alex Henning won for visual effects.
For "The Artist," Ludovic Bource won for original score, and Mark Bridges won for costume design.
The night kicked off with
Crystal hasn’t hosted since 2004 — and he wasn’t supposed to host this year. It was supposed to be
The show opener played off this riff, starting with a mock torture scene in which Crystal was forced to take on the role as host. That catapulted him into scenes from some of the top nominated movies of the year — and a lip lock with
Only one other person has hosted Hollywood's biggest night more time than Crystal —