Not since 1929 has a silent film won top prizes at the Academy Awards. “The Artist” took him five awards including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor.
“Since the very first Oscars ceremony in 1929, the movies have changed but there is one constant that is true for all generations. Whether we are seeing the film that is love action or animated, black and white or in color, with sound or silent. All of us are mesmerized by the magic of the movies,” says Oscar winning actor, Morgan Freeman, who opened the show.
Billy Crystal Returns
The show has suffered in ratings and the hosts have been dull. After an eight year hiatus as host, Billy Crystal returned for the ninth time to the “Chapter 11 Theater” for the awards show. The legendary actor renamed the Kodak Theater after the company filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. There had been a push to get Billy Crystal back after last year’s hosting duo of Anne Hathaway and James Franco flopped.
According to a USA Today poll, 32% of the viewing audience believed Crystal, “. . .made me laugh!” Although a small 10% gave Billy a big thumbs down, the barbs are flying from many critics. Robert Bianco of USA Today said of Crystals performance, “You can seldom go wrong by bringing back the best. Even if he wasn’t exactly at his best.”
The Predictions Come True
In the supporting acting categories, all went as previously predicted for Octavia Spencer of “The Help” and Christopher Plummer of “Beginners”. Octavia drew the largest standing ovation of the evening as she chocked backed tears. “I have to thank my families. My family in Alabama, the state of Alabama, my L.A. family and my “Help” family,” said the actress. The 82 year old Plummer took home his first acting prize from the Academy becoming the oldest person to do so. The actor told his statuette that, “Your only two years older than me darling. Where have you been all my life?”
Streep the Victorious
Since winning the Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actress, Viola Davis of “The Help” had the support behind her. However, it was Meryl Streep from “The Iron Lady” who took home the prize after a 30 year dry spell of no wins. Streep is the most nominated actress of all time with a whopping 17 nominations. With her win playing British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, this gives Streep three Oscars.
“When they called my name, I had this feeling I could hear half of America going, ‘Oh no, oh come on, why her? Again.’ But whatever, ” she told the audience. Streep thanked her makeup artist of 37 years, who also won an Oscar on Sunday, for his friendship. “I want to thank, because I really understand I’ll never be up here again, I really want to thank all my colleagues, all my friends,” said Streep.
Silence is Golden
For the first time in many years, no blockbuster film was nominated for best picture. The race was between the silent film “The Artist”, the race fueled drama “The Help” and the child friendly story of “Hugo”. In the end, “The Artist” took home the top prize as the Best Picture of 2011.The story follows a once highly respected silent film actor George Valentin who is struggling to stay relevant as the “Talkies” make their debut. Jean Dujardin, who played Valentin, was awarded the best actor prize for his performance. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has not had a silent film nominated since 1927′s “Wings” which is also the first best picture in 1929. The last black and white film to win best picture was “Schindler’s List” in 1994.The film’s director, Michel Hazanavicius, took home the top directing prize as well. He told the audience, “I am the happiest director in the world right now, thank you for that.”