Oscar Winners 2012

So here we are, another Academy Awards. Despite the gallant effort by Billy Crystal, his ninth time hosting, Oscars 2012 was lackluster and bland. Memorable moments were few. There was the usual glamour and glitter on the red carpet, but inside the ‘Chapter 11 Theatre”, renamed by Crystal, it was a night of mere form devoid of spirit.

With all the talents and resources they put into the production, you’d expect better executions and funnier, more brilliant presentations… The beginning mashup intro of the nominated films went well, starring Billy Chrystal in every one, but I was at a loss to see later a montage made up of clichéd, past movie moments, or that not funny Wizard of Oz focus group clip. A sound problem lasted long enough that I had to switch channel to make sure it wasn’t my TV.

Even before the show began, I was a bit disheartened. The reversal of the Academy decision to let Sacha Baron Cohen attend in character as ‘The Dictator’ could only open up opportunities for stunting. Self-promotion and free publicity aside, the shenanigan on the red carpet was definitely uncalled for. I’m referring to ‘The Dictator’ carrying an urn which he said contained Kim Jong-il’s ashes, as he was fulfilling the late ruler’s dream to attend the Oscars. Even up to then was fine. But, what’s the point of dumping the ashes all over Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet?  If you’ve missed it, click here to see what actually happened.

From ashes to awards, here are some major winners:

The Artist – 5 wins. Best Picture, Best Actor Jean Dujardin, Best Director Michel Hazanavicius, Best Original Score, Best Costume Design.

Hugo – 5 wins. Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects.

The Iron Lady – 2 wins. Best Actress Meryl Streep, Best Makeup Mark Coulier, J. Roy Helland.

The Help – 1 win. Best Supporting Actress Octavia Spencer.

Midnight In Paris – 1 win. Best Original Screenplay, Woody Allen.

The Descendants – 1 win. Best Adapted Screenplay, Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash.

Some highlights and tidbits:

Jean Dujardin in his acceptance speech noted Douglas Fairbanks as the first Oscar host in 1929: “Tickets cost $5 and it lasted 15 minutes. Times have changed.” 1929 was the last year that a silent movie won an Oscar.

1929 was also the year Christopher Plummer and Max von Sydow were born, both Best Supporting Actor contenders. Canadian Plummer set the record for the oldest actor to win an Oscar at age 82 for Beginners.

A Separation wins Best Foreign Language Film. Writer/director Asghar Farhadi accepted Iran’s first Oscar. The film is an intense and totally captivating story of domestic conflicts marked by social and religious influences. Farhadi in his acceptance speech movingly distinguished between the people and the politics of his country.

Canadian entertainment troupe Cirque du Soleil added some spectacular performance and much needed energy at an otherwise lacklustre award show.

Colin Firth presenting Best Actress Award to Meryl Streep, his co-star in Mamma Mia! Streep has been nominated 17 times, this is her second Best Actress win since Sophie’s Choice in 1983. She’d also won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Kramer vs. Kramer in 1980. In her acceptance speech, she thanked her husband first, before the music drowned out her words she noted. Apparently moved and thrilled:

“When they called my name I had this feeling I could hear half of America going: ‘Aww no. Not her again’. But, you know, whatever.”

Woody Allen wins Best Original Screenplay for Midnight In Paris. I believe it’s an extended version of a short piece he wrote entitled “A Twenties Memory” decades earlier. Will we ever have the chance to hear  Woody Allen’s acceptance speech?

The Artist, a silent movie, wins Best Original Score. Music speaks louder than words.

While Hugo is based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, his name was not mentioned by any of the winners in their acceptance speeches. Do authors have to become filmmakers before they are noticed?

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For a full list of Oscar Winners 2012, CLICK HERE.

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To read my review of The Artist, CLICK HERE.

To read my review of Midnight In Paris, CLICK HERE.

Published by

Arti

If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

22 thoughts on “Oscar Winners 2012”

  1. Delighted Streep won best actress. The film wasn’t great, but her performance playing Thatcher from late thirties or so through to old age was outstanding. A masterclass in great acting.

    .
    londonchoirgirl,

    Agree. Of all her recent noms, I really feel this one truly deserves an Oscar. Actually I quite like the film too, albeit it has provoked dichotomy of opinions.

    Arti

    Like

  2. Too bad the show itself was meh, but even though I haven’t seen it I am glad the Artist won. It seems like such a different kind of movie that it is nice that it got such recognition. And Streep, you go girl!

    .
    Stefanie,

    Yes, actually The Artist’s win is expected. But many think Viola Davis would win. Because I’ve appreciated her acting talent and intelligence, I feel Viola Davis should win with a film with more depth and one which showcases her full potential. In other words, I wish her well in the future in a movie that truly deserves her.

    Arti

    Like

  3. I agree that the show was pretty dull. And I also agree that the authors unless they are screenwriters are rarely noted, but without them, there’s no story. I managed to miss the Seacrest incident.

    I really enjoyed seeing Christopher Plummer win and his “where have you been all my life?” and Cirque du Soliel. Those were the highlights!

    .
    Michelle,

    Yes, for us Canucks, even those who have moved down to the States, 😉 our hearts are stirred whenever a Canadian wins, or performs well… part of our psyche, eh?

    Arti

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  4. Ha, I was hoping you’d do an Oscars run-down as the show happens in the small hours of the morning here, and I wasn’t about to stay up. Not very many surprises, I think. Friends of mine who saw The Artist a couple of weeks ago said it was a) good b) too long and c) that the dog really should have won the Oscar. What dog? That makes it very tempting to see the film! And I’m also delighted Meryl Streep won: I think she is amazing.

    .
    litlove,

    Yes, I think Meryl Streep is great in The Iron Lady. And for The Artist, sure, Uggie deserves an Oscar. I said that in my review of the film. Do click on the link above. You’ll be able to see a photo of Uggie there too.

    Arti

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  5. I concur with your assessment of the show. It had flashes of brilliance and fun but lots more elements of excess. Didn’t like the Cirque thing — it’s stuff like that making the show go so long, a downer in the east! And the Oz bit etc. Sort of liked the actors talking but there were a lot. Liked the In Memoriam. And the guys who were so shocked they won, it was “Let’s get out of here!” I was thrilled for Streep — her portrayal was so spot-on. Would have been happy with Davis, too, but she’s just a favorite. And the Artist. But where was Uggie?!

    .
    Jeanie,

    O, didn’t you see Uggie was with the cast on stage? He’s probably the first dog to get on the Oscar stage for this award. 😉 And with Viola Davis, as I said in my reply to another commenter above, I wish her well in the future, yes, winning an Oscar Best Actress for a film that can truly showcase her full potential, talents, and intelligence.

    Arti

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  6. With so many movie adaptations, there was a surprising lack of author recognition… very sad.

    .
    JoAnn,

    Well, they read out his name in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. Maybe Selznick should think about getting into filmmaking…

    Arti

    Like

  7. I skipped the show, and watched this hour long presentation by Michael Arndt, the screenwriter for “Little Miss Sunshine”. It was great! When it was over, I was uplifted and inspired, and I’d been entertained, too. It was a perfect Oscar evening!

    .
    Linda,

    What a gem! “Little Miss Sunshine” is a wonderful film. I’ll definitely check that out. So, you’ve had a rewarding Oscar night, uh? And… looks like you’re really into films now, studying screenplays… Good for you!

    Arti

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  8. Over here in Hong Kong, I watched the Academy Awards live at 8:00AM due to the time difference. Sipping tea and having my toast while all that was happening. Great to see all the stars, in particular, Colin Firth, the most charming & intelligent. Billy Crystal is back, he is a natural talent, my hero who brings life to the Oscar. I love the balcony musicians, a new touch & lead in to the commerical breaks.

    So far, I have only seen A Week With Mariyln, I am going to The Artist this afternoon. Oh, there are so many movies I have to catch up, Hugo, The Iron Lady…..

    Hey, I watched most of the Oscars last night Again, the re-run had Chinese subtitles. It’s not that I don’t understand English, I wanted to see Colin Firth delivered his intro to Meryl Streep – mamma mia!

    Thank you for your post Arti, I share most of your points.

    .
    MM,

    LOL! I’d like to see how they translate, that’s so interesting. And, do go to see all the films coming your way. Not particularly great movies this year, but, enjoyable just the same.

    Arti

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  9. I appreciate everything you highlighted, much in agreement here! Nice attention to 1929, and several things I didn’t catch like that. And yes the urn spill left me asking, wha? The whole event felt like trying and never reaching.

    And I said exactly the same thing to Don after the film montage of memories: clichéd. It was the most unimaginative montage ever and left me yawning.

    You’re spot on as always, my friend.

    .
    Ruth,

    After this Oscars, I’m kind of worried about its future. Apparently it’s very hard to attract younger viewers, it’s hard enough just to maintain the creative zeal, humor and energy year after year. Definitely needs some breakthrough.

    Suggestions for future hosts?

    Arti

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  10. Fair assessment Arti … I think they’ve worked so hard to keep it tight that it’s been scripted to within an inch of its life. While the Cirgue du Soleil was good entertainment, what did that have to do with movies. I used to like the performances of the nominated songs. Relevant entertainment. I always like the In memoriam. Always sad to see the people go.

    I loved Meryl’s acceptance speech and am glad she won. Dujardin was good too. I was happy with the results … I think of the nominated films The artist and Hugo were my picks so I’m glad that showed up in the number of awards albeit Hugo didn’t win any of the “top 4” awards.

    Same time next year?

    Like

    1. WG,

      Despite criticisms and weaknesses, The Oscars has more or less ingrained in our culture and tradition, hasn’t it? And, its acknowledgement of international films in recent years (The Artist is a French production) could well spread its effects in many more countries. Imagine Iran winning its first Oscars… it certainly speaks to the influence of the cinematic artform in breaking down cultural and political barriers.

      Definitely, same time next year!

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      1. It does indeed … each year I think of having an Oscars party and then each year I think that I just want to sit and concentrate and not be distracted by others.

        I’m just doing some volunteering reading of an e-publication, part of which is about the trials involved in getting a certain Aussie classic onto film. (It might be confidential at present but will write about it as soon as I can). That was mid 1970s, and it still hasn’t been done. A fascinating story though. A propos of nothing really except it’s film!!

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    2. Also, I left out a worthy mention of the film Saving Face, which won the Oscar for Documentary Short Subject. Its filmmaker is journalist Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, a Pakistani Canadian (yes, dual citizenships) who followed the life and reconstructive surgery of women being disfigured by acid violence in Pakistan. This is another good example of the international scope of the Oscars drawing our attention to issues which otherwise would be hidden and perpetuated. Here’s a link to an informative article about the film.

      Like

  11. I’m always a year behind on watching the movies that are nominated. This year I’d only seen “War Horse.” I saw “Midnight in Paris” last night, so I’m catching up! I’ll see “Beginners” on Friday. I didn’t know whether I found the whole show boring because I hadn’t seen the movies or whether it was just boring. From everyone’s comments here and elsewhere, I realize, yes it was boring for all.

    It’s telling that one of the biggest discussions afterward was about Angelina Jolie’s show of leg and how the guys who received the award from her mocked her stance on stage by posing like her with their right legs out. Then her right leg was photoshopped on the Statue of Liberty and on Whistler’s Mother, among other icons, and received its own Twitter account.

    Sasha Baron Cohen has jumped the shark with his latest character. Hopefully, others will see that and have the good sense not to try to pull their own stunts.

    Like

    1. Cathy,

      Come to think of it… is there any difference between AJ and SBC? Both are grandstanding and self-promotion, aren’t they? The fact that I didn’t bother mentioning AJ is that I feel I shouldn’t be giving her anymore exposure (pun intended). As for SBC, the moment the Academy decides to allow aimless antics and stunting would only mark the lowering of its credibility… that could well extend to the quality of the films it honors. It’s my sincerest hope that the Academy would uphold its past standards and continue to push higher the level of excellence in film art and the dignity of the industry.

      And, you’re not behind in your viewing. All these nominees and winners are still being screened and I’m glad you got to see Midnight In Paris. Hope you’d enjoyed it as I did. 😉

      Like

  12. I watched the Oscars and agree with your review – it was kind of blah. I am happy that The Artist won something but I would have liked the Descendants to win more – best actor or best movie as I liked both movies as well. I wonder if Jean Dujardin would have won best actor is he had been speaking in the movie? I don’t mean that his voice is ugly, just that usually French is not something that is liked in the US. In January Gingrich sent attack ads against Mitt Romney for speaking French! I saw part of the Iron Lady while waiting to see The Artist – now I have to go back and see the end. I think Meryl Streep was outstanding.

    Thanks for coming to my last post. You said “But I think the bottom line is money. How and who can dish out so much just to upkeep these properties. In a way, I don’t blame the owners for selling…” that was what I was saying – owners cannot alone pay for the upkeep of these expensive properties and that is why there should be enough fund in Historic Preservation for the government to help with historic mansions before they are destroyed. If the owners of castles in Europe were the only ones to pay for their upkeep and taxes there would be hardly any left, just like mansions in the US. France budgets $20 per capita per year and the US only 44 cents – that should be increased. But North America is certainly a different culture – they are not as interested in history as “old Europe.”

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    1. Vagabonde,
      First off, a good point. If The Artist is not a silent movie, but a film with French dialogues, will it make it to the Best Picture category, you asked. It could well be nom. as one of the Best Foreign Language Film, agree? And yes, Meryl Streep is astounding, I felt she deserved an Oscar the moment I finished watching The Iron Lady.

      About historical preservation sponsored by the government, of course, that would be best. But I guess the problematic issues would be ownership and legal responsibilities. But you’re absolutely right, the government should play a greater role in historical preservation. I really don’t know how this works, but I agree that I see many more in Europe than in N. Am, which has only a fraction of the history. Like eg. I visited the Medieval Village of Lacock in Cotswold, England a few years ago. It’s amazingly well preserved… same with Bath, which is a UNESCO Heritage Site. Now, I’d like to know about all those grand mansions we see on films, under whose ownership and maintenance are they still I’d like to know. The most recent memory being Highclere Castle, film location of Downton Abbey. And of course, there’s Lyme Park in Derbyshire as Pemberley in the popular BBC production of Pride & Prejudice. Interesting subject indeed, and thanks for the informative post on your blog.

      Like

  13. Arti, I did enjoy “Midnight in Paris” very much. It was fun, and a cautionary tale, too.
    Yes, I shouldn’t have give Angie any additional “exposure.” I just saw Angelina’s right leg photoshopped on Snape in a scene from one of the Harry Potter movies. At least people have had a good laugh.
    I posted before the Academy Awards about how humans’ need for validation (using Sally Fields’ “You Like me!” speech), which can backfire when we beg too obviously for it. Also, people can be stingy with praise, too, as if it cost them real money to praise people.
    Woody Allen bugs me in some ways and amuses me greatly in others. I love most of his movies, and I have to respect his decision not to join in these possibly Narcissistic award shows. Now, if I were up for some award, I might feel differently and race to the stage, thanking everyone of course!

    Like

    1. Cathy,
      Have you read Diane Keaton’s memoir Then Again? She wrote about Woody Allen’s first Oscar win, that’s Annie Hall getting Best Picture. He didn’t show up then, I don’t see why he’d show up now. Diane was excited of course. And the day after the Oscars, Woody didn’t even mention a word about it but continued working. That’s the spirit of the real Artist. I wish him many more films to come.

      And oh, about the ‘human need to be validated’… makes me think of Kevin Costner’s moving eulogy in Whitney Houston’s funeral. If you haven’t seen it, please do. I’ve included a link here.

      Like

      1. I haven’t read Diane Keaton’s memoir, but would like to. Thanks for the mention. I knew that Woody has never shown up for the Oscars. The explanation used to be, I think, that it interfered with a regular music gig he had, but now nobody even talks about his absence. Imagine the buzz if he did show up!
        Here’s my link: http://catherinesherman.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/in-praise-of-praise/ Please stop by and leave the link to your Oscar post in my comments as well as your own always appreciated comments.

        .
        Cathy,

        I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading Diane Keaton’s memoir Then Again. There are some marvellous photos in there, no, not of Diane, but… well I’ll let you discover them yourself. If you like, click on the book cover on my sidebar to read my review. And hopefully one of the upcoming Oscars, we can see Woody actually walk up the stage and accept an Oscar himself and hear him deliver his acceptance speech. That will be quite something… maybe a lifetime achievement award?

        Arti

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  14. I’m late to the after-party, after a week of finishing up the drudgery ‘must-do’ of year-end tax filings. Maybe that’s why I’ll buck the trend by confessing I really enjoyed the Sunday night diversion offered by Billy Crystal & Co. Yes, not everything was well-done, but even moments like that not-ready-for-prime-time Wizard of Oz ‘focus-screening’ skit produced a smile on my face — Isn’t it a nice slice of irony that the focus screening skit would have been axed had it been subject to filtering from a focus group? 🙂

    Loved the opening number. Loved the look of surprise on Meryl’s face when she won. Loved that both winners for leading roles were not as sewn up as previously believed. Loved that Woody won again. Loved that “The Artist” won — though I’d secretly hoped somehow, Hugo would also win — you know, becoming one of those rare ties, like when 1968’s Best Actress Oscars went to Streisand AND Hepburn.

    There were a few films I didn’t make it to that I’d still like to see. The Tree of Life, just out on DVD, is one. Do you think it worth seeing on the small screen?

    Thanks for the timely write-up. And for all the wonderful encouragement along the way directing me toward films worth watching.

    Janell

    Like

    1. Janell,

      Thanks for offering a positive reception to this year’s Oscars. You’re right of course, there are good things that came out of it. I think Billy Crystal is a good choice. I’m glad Meryl Streep won for her role in The Iron Lady… the best performance from her in recent years I think. Another Woody Allen nod is great too. Midnight In Paris deserves it.

      The Tree of LIfe is the most unique of all. While The Artist is entertaining and even audacious in its attempt, it’s paying homage to something that had been done before, so in other words, it’s imitating. But Tree of Life stands out on its own, not imitating anybody’s work. And because of this uniqueness, it’s not easily received by the general public. Do I think it’s worth seeing on the small screen? If you can’t have it in the theatre, then you really have no choice. Best that there’s no distraction and complete silence to reap the ultimate effects. Do let me know what you think.

      Like

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