Silent night

Silent night

The Artist paints golden picture at Oscars with five awards; Meryl Streep upstages Viola Davis with surprise win for Iron Lady; Octavia Spencer, Christopher Plummer supporting winners



HOLLYWOOD SHOWED SOME love for its history at the Oscars on Sunday, giving its best film award and four others to silent movie The Artist in a ceremony that recalled why cinema is special to so many people.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also gave Oscars to Meryl Streep playing former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, marking Streep’s third Academy Award in 17 nominations, and veteran Christopher Plummer made history by becoming the oldest winner ever at age 82 with his role as an elderly gay man in Beginners.

But it was the The Artist, a French movie that has been called a love letter to old Hollywood by its makers, that charmed Oscar voters. The film collected Oscars for its star Jean Dujardin and director Michel Hazanavicius, as well as for musical score and costume design.

“I am the happiest director in the world right now. Thank you for that,” Hazanavicius told the audience of stars including George Clooney, Michelle Williams, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and members of the Academy.

Dujardin was equally excited, exclaiming “I love this country” before thanking the Academy, the film’s makers and his wife, and calling silent actor Douglas Fairbanks an inspiration.

Streep’s victory surprised Oscar pundits who thought Viola Davis would win the Academy Award with her portrayal of a black maid in a southern white home in civil rights drama The Help. But Streep’s turn as an elderly Thatcher who is slipping into dementia was too good to be ignored. It was Streep’s third Academy Award out of 17 nominations, and even she reckoned that Oscar voters would think she’s been there, done that. Backstage she termed it “Streep fatigue” to reporters. MAKING HOLLYWOOD HISTORY

Octavia Spencer had to hold back tears as she accepted her trophy for her portrayal of a black, southern maid in civil rights drama The Help.

“Thank you Academy for putting me with the hottest guy in the room,” she said holding her Oscar in her hand. She then went on to talk about her family in Alabama and could not hold back her tears as she joyously accepted her trophy.

Director Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, which like The Artist pays tribute to early filmmaking, came into the night with a leading 11 nominations - one more than Artist - and also picked up five wins. But its Oscars came in technical categories cinematography, art direction, sound editing and mixing and visual effects.

Another highly touted movie, family drama The Descendants, walked off with only one Oscar, adapted screenplay for its writer and director Alexander Payne and co-writers Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. Woody Allen won for original screenplay with Midnight in Paris, but he was not on hand to accept his trophy.

In other major wins, the foreign language film award went to Iranian divorce drama A Separation. “I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, the people who respect all cultures and civilisations and despise hostility and resentment,” said its director, Ashgar Farhadi.

Rango claimed best animated film, while The Iron Lady, won a second award for makeup.

The documentary category saw another major surprise for Undefeated, a film about football players in a poor struggling community to make their lives better. Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory had been widely picked to win by pundits. Reuters, AP

BILLY’S RETURN

COMEDIAN BILLY CRYSTAL, who returned to emcee the show for the ninth time, had the crowd laughing loudly with an opening video in which he was edited into the year’s top movies.

He was kissed by George Clooney on the lips in a scene out of The Descendants and even ate a tainted pie from The Help.

Back as Oscar host for the first time in eight years, Crystal did his signature introduction of the best-picture nominees with a goofy song medley.

Spoofing a scene from Midnight in Paris, Bieber told Crystal he was there to bring in the 18-to-24-year-old demographic for the 63-year-old host.

Crystal’s return as host seemed appropriate on a night that had Hollywood looking back fondly on more than a century of cinema history. Reuters

Rahman performs at Oscars again

INDIAN COMPOSER A.R. Rahman performed at the 84th Academy Awards as part of the Oscar band in his third performance at the prestigious award ceremony.

“Oscar sangamam - if you are watching the Oscars live, catch our Oscar superband headed by Hans Zimmer perform tonight,” Rahman posted on his Facebook page for his fans.

He even posted a picture with all members of the band, which performed throughout the ceremony.

Last year Rahman had sung his tracks from 127 Hours at the Oscar ceremony. IANS

List of Oscar winners

BEST PICTURE: The Artist

BEST ACTOR: Jean Dujardin, The Artist

BEST ACTRESS: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

BEST DIRECTOR: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

BEST SUPPORTING: ACTOR Christopher Plummer, Beginners

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Octavia Spencer, The Help

ANIMATED FILM: Rango

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: A Separation, Iran

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:

The Descendants, by Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Midnight in Paris, by Woody Allen

DOCUMENTARY:

Undefeated

ORIGINAL SCORE:

The Artist, Ludovic Bource

ORIGINAL SONG:

Man or Muppet from The Muppets, music and lyric by Bret McKenzie

ART DIRECTION:

Hugo, production design: Dante Ferretti; set decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Hugo, Robert Richardson

COSTUME DESIGN:

The Artist, Mark Bridges

FILM EDITING:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall

MAKEUP:

The Iron Lady, Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

VISUAL EFFECTS:

Hugo, Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION): The Shore, Terry George and Oorlagh George

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED):

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg


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