The Oscars ceremony, beamed worldwide from the Hollywood and Highland Center (formerly the Kodak Theatre) got off without a hitch on Sunday night, as Billy Crystal opened the 84th Academy Awards show at 1.30am GMT. Eddie Murphy had been previously scheduled to host, but pulled out last November just 24 hours after his creative partner, Brett Ratner, resigned as producer to the Oscars following a homophobic insult he had made when asked about using rehearsals ahead of a film shoot, in which he was quoted replying, “rehearsing is for fags”.
But, there was plenty more controversy surrounding this year’s event, from Billy Crystal’s abysmal, and downright racist wit, to Sasha Baron Cohen arriving on the red carpet, dressed as Admiral General Aladeen (from the fictional country called the Republic of Wadiya), to promote his new film The Dictator – out on 11th May 2012. Baron Cohen was spotted clutching a golden urn supposedly containing the ashes of his “doubles tennis partner” Kim Jong-il, but mid-way through an interview with Ryan Seecrest he attempted to show him the base of the urn, pouring ashes all over the shocked TV personality, before being promptly escorted from the floor by some very angry and frustrated security guards.
The Artist, a silent French romantic/comedy/drama film directed by Michel Hazanavicius, having been nominated 10 times, managed to scoop 5 awards including those for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Costume Design and Best Original Score!
So, without giving too much away, here are the list of winners:
- The Descendants
- Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
- The Tree Of Life
- War Horse
Winner – The Artist
The Artist has garnered global praise and acclaim since its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on 15th May 2011, and it came as no surprise when it was announced as Best Picture. The last time a silent movie won an Oscar for Best Picture was back in 1929’s Wings. The Artist is set in 1930’s Hollywood, with the relationship between an older silent movie actor and a rising young actress, at a time when silent films were going out of fashion, being replaced by talkies.
Actor In a Leading Role
- Demián Bichir – A Better Life
- George Clooney – The Descendants
- Gary Oldman – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
- Brad Pitt – Moneyball
Winner – Jean Dujardin The Artist
Jean Dujardin, a relatively unknown French actor, who has, until now starred in a lineup of almost exclusively French-made films, played the character of George Valentin, the silent movie star who falls in love with Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) against the backdrop of 30’s Hollywood and the Great Depression, triggered by the 1929 Wall Street Crash.
In his acceptance speech, Dujardin said, “It’s funny because in 1929, it was not Billy Crystal but Douglas Fairbanks who ‘ousted [hosted] the first ceremony. Tickets cost $5 and it lasted fifteen minutes!”.
Actress In a Leading Role
- Glenn Close– Albert Nobbs
- Viola Davies – The Help
- Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
- Michelle Williams – My Week with Marilyn
Winner – Meryl Streep The Iron Lady
This was another no brainer, with Meryl Streep taking her 17th nomination and 3rd Oscar for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher, a role that has left audiences divided across the country, and indeed the world. Many applaude the way in which she showed a softer side of the feared and widely loathed politician, but many believe that too rosy a picture was painted in which a lone woman fights her way tooth and nail up the political ladder amidst a sea of men.
On hearing Colin Firth say, “And the Oscar goes to…Meryl Streep!” her face dropped, but she quickly glided up the stairs to open with, “When they called my name I had this feeling half of America were going, ‘Oh come on, her again?’. But…whatever.” before going on to thank her husband and all her friends, “departed and here” in helping her have such an “inexplicably wonderful career”.
Actor In a Supporting Role
- Kenneth Branagh – My Week with Marilyn
- Jonah Hill – Moneyball
- Nick Molte – Warrior
- Max von Sydow – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Winner – Christopher Plummer Beginners
Christopher Plummer’s rather unexpected win goes down in the history books, as he is, at 82, the oldest actor in Academy history to win an Oscar.
You’re only two years older than me darling, where have you been all my life?
Christopher Plummet joking about the age of the Academy with his new Oscar statuette.
Beginners is a bittersweet story of Oliver (Ewan McGregor), a man reflecting on the life and death of his father Hal (Plummer), while he tries to connect with a woman dealing with father issues of her own. Plummer has received strong praise, and numerous accolades for his portrayal, including a Golden Globe for Best Actor at the 69th Golden Globe Awards back in January.
Actress In a Supporting Role
- Bérénice Bejo – The Artist
- Jessica Chastain – The Help
- Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids
- Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs
Winner – Octavia Spencer The Help
This was Octavia Spencer’s first Oscar nomination and win, something backed up by the great many of prognosticators who believed that she would be destined for glory with her spell-bounding performance as the black maid, Minny Jackson, in a film set in the Civil rights era in 60’s America.
“I loved that movie…when I saw it, I wanted to hug the first black woman that I saw. Which from Beverly Hills is about a 45 minute drive.”
The comment Billy Crystal made, moments before presenting Spencer with the Oscar, was quickly rebuked across Twitter and beyond, with many calling on Crystal to apologise for the prejudiced and racist comment.
After thanking her family in Alabama, the state of Alabama and a whole truckload of others, Spencer went on to said, “Wrap up? I’m wrapping up! I’m wrapping up! I’m freaking out!” before retreating from the stage once more.
Animated Feature Film
- A Cat In Paris
- Chico & Rita
- Kung Fu Panda 2
- Puss In Boots
Winner – Rango
Rango, the brainchild of Gore Verbinski (of Pirates of the Caribbean fame), is a film about a chameleon – voiced by Johnny Depp – who accidentally ends up in the town of Dirt, a community in desperate need of a new sheriff.
On accepting the award, Verbinski told the audience “Someone asked me if this film was for kids. It was certainly created by a bunch of grown-ups acting like children.”
The animated film has been welcomed as a kid’s film with some adult humour, in much the same as Toy Story would keep both children and parents entertained throughout the picture.
This just about wraps up our coverage of the Oscars 2012, but, lets face it, no awards ceremony would be worth watching if there wasn’t a little bit of controversy to stir the pot, and this year it was Sasha Baron Cohen’s turn, taking to the red carpet dressed as the main character, Admiral General Aladeen, to promote his latest film, The Dictator.
When jokingly asked who Aladeen was wearing, Cohen replied in all seriousness, “Galliano, but the socks are from K-Mart… if Saddam taught me anything it was that socks are socks… don’t waste money!”
Talking briefly with reporter and radio host, Ryan Seacrest, Cohen, or should I say, General Aladeen, was pleased to announce that he had brought along his beloved “doubles tennis partner”, Kim Jong-il’s ashes to the ceremony in a golden urn, which he then proceeded to throw over Seacrest.
I wonder what next year’s Oscars will have in store for us. I just hope to God that the powers that be don’t bring back the most unholy of partnerships; James Franko and Anne Hathaway!
For the complete list of Oscars, please go here.