The silent black & white film “The Artist” wins the golden statuettes for Best Picture, Director, and Actor
All is well in my world tonight, as LeBron James’ boneheaded Turnover cost his East team a chance to win the NBA All-Star Game, and then, no totally undeserving and over-rated celebrities won Oscars. A quality film titled “The Artist,” which was a throwback/tribute to a long-lost Golden Age of Hollywood, and which was shot entirely in Los Angeles, took 3 of the night’s 4 biggest honors.
The 4th one went to Meryl Streep, Best Actess for “The Iron Lady.” Considering that she hadn’t won an Oscar in 28 years, it’s hard to have a problem with the voters’ choice here. Even though it seems like she wins every year, she had only taken home two Oscars in her 16 previous nominations: A Supporting nod for “Kramer vs. Kramer,” and her only Best Lead for “Sophie’s Choice.” So whether or not her performance as Margaret Thatcher was better than that of Viola Davis, Rooney Mara, Michelle Williams, or Glenn Close, it’s still a certain kind of “justice” to see Streep finally get another win.
Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” was also a big winner, taking the first two awards of the night, then collecting 3 more after that, including Best Visual Effects. “Hugo,” like “The Artist,” is also a loving tribute to Old Hollywood, and considering the Academy voters average about 60 years old, these two films benefitted from hitting close to the hearts of those voters.
The two awards that pleased me the most were Supporting Actress and Editing. The former was given to Octavia Spencer, “Minnie” from “The Help,” who I thought did a superb job of portraying a very colorful character. I thought that her acting job was vastly superior to the “Bridesmaids” entry Melissa McCarthy, who I was afraid was going to win. And the Editing award went to “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” which I thought was expertly cut, to create a perfectly-paced mystery/thriller. The other pleasant moment was when 82-year old Christopher Plummer won for Supporting Actor, beating out Jonah Hill (Thank God) amongst others. The “Sound of Music” star has had a long and distinguished career, and might have dropped dead in the audience if Hill’s name was called instead. Hill was okay in “Moneyball,” but is not in the same league as Plummer. Ever since Cuba “Show Me The Money” Gooding jr. beat out Ed “Primal Scream” Norton, I ‘ve never been confident about the award honoring the best actual acting, so tonight’s results were a relief.
Just like seeing LeBron choke away a game in front of millions of fans — after his team came back from a 20-point deficit — it’s nice to see karma work its magic. As for the Oscar production itself, Billy Crystal was — as always — an entertaining host, but the show lacked the humor and emotion that it sometimes has. The opening montage and musical number were good, but the lyrics were a little hard to understand. And instead of the awesome film clip collections they often share, they did montages of interviews with current stars, talking about movies. They were OKAY, but not all that moving. Yes, it was better than last year, but far from the best of the 84. However, the bottom line is that the awards went to worthy people and projects, and that’s what really matters. Personally, I liked “War Horse” more than anything else, but the Spielberg epic got shut out. It’s okay though — I’m sure Steven will land on his feet.