On Feb. 26, Billy Crystal hosted the 84th annual Academy Awards. This was Crystal’s ninth time hosting the Oscars, and the slew of celebrities there seemed to appreciate the familiarity of their host.
Unlike the Golden Globes, which have been hosted by the always controversial Ricky Gervais for the last two years, Sunday’s Oscars had a relaxed atmosphere.
The stars weren’t waiting for Crystal to take cheap shots at them. Actually, the only shots Crystal took at all were at Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy recently, leaving the former Kodak Theatre where the Oscars are held without a name.
One of the big winners of the night was “Hugo,” a children’s film based on the book “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick. The movie has received a lot of attention because it’s a non-violent Martin Scorsese film. “Hugo” won for cinematography, art direction, visual effects, sound mixing and sound editing, proving that the movie does justice to Selznick’s book, which is a sweeping, magical little story. Check out “Hugo” in theaters and “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” in the MC library.
Another big winner of the night, and the big winner overall, was Thomas Langmann’s “The Artist.” This silent film, the first of its kind to be nominated in decades, took home the Oscar for best picture and best original score. Not going to lie, I thought “The Help” would sweep it for its outstanding cast and powerful message or “War Horse” would take best picture simply because it was a Spielberg film.
Yet “The Artist” stole the night, its leading man, Jean Dujardin, also taking home the award for actor in a leading role. Dujardin beat out legends George Clooney and Brad Pitt.
Unfortunately, I haven’t seen this film, and frankly, I had no interest in it. But, the brief clip of Dujardin’s powerful performance shown during the naming of the nominees changed my mind when no advertisement or good review could.
Meryl Streep took home the award for actress in a leading role for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in “Iron Lady.” Personally, I was rooting for Viola Davis, who was inspirational in “The Help,” but whenever an award goes to Streep, you know it’s well deserved. She transforms completely into her characters.
And, of course, you have to give credit to a woman who could star in “She Devil” and “Death Becomes Her” and not kill her career.
This was Streep’s 17th nomination and 3rd win.
Honorable mention in this category, too, goes to Rooney Mara for her tough, yet vulnerable performance in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” As Lisbeth Salander, she was both terrifying and incredibly endearing. I spent the majority of the film wanting to hug her but also pretty damn sure she could kill me in at least eight hair-raisingly creative ways.
Despicable things happened in this movie, and let’s not lie; she did some of the worst stuff. Still, at the end, I kept hoping things would turn out well for her.
To no one’s surprise, Octavia Spencer from “The Help” took home the Oscar for actress in a supporting role. She also won the Golden Globe and the SAG for her role as Minny. One of her counterparts in the film, Jessica Chastain, was also nominated for the same award.
Honestly, while Spencer was the stronger actor of the two, it is a shame they couldn’t receive the award together. Their interactions throughout the film were a significant source of hilarity and the strongest source of hope. They played beautifully off one another.
Christopher Plummer, at the age of 82, became the oldest actor ever to win an Oscar as he accepted the award for actor in a supporting role for his performance in “The Beginners.” Surprisingly, this was his first Oscar; the man is an acting rock.
However, let’s give Jonah Hill from “Moneyball” some credit here too, because the kid from “Superbad” actually held his own in a film with Brad Pitt. Who would have guessed?
Overall, the awards seemed to go to the artists who truly deserved them. Only in one category did I find myself legitimately shocked at the winner: best animated feature film.
I haven’t really been invested in this category since “How To Train Your Dragon” lost to “Toy Story 3” in 2011, but “Rango?” Really?
Did anyone in the Academy really see “Rango”?
When this was on SWANK, I gave it a shot, and after the wildly inappropriate joke about prostate screenings and a brief glimpse at the awkward dialogue, I had to turn it off.
I swear, it must have won because Johnny Depp was the voice of Rango. Everything that man touches turns to gold.
Except “The Libertine.” There was no saving that.