Academy Awards 2012

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Billy Crystal was back as host for the ninth time after an eight-year break, coming to the rescue after Eddie Murphy bailed out and last year’s younger hosts, Anne Hathaway and James Franco, received mixed reviews.

This year, without a juggernaut blockbuster such as “Avatar,” widely loved “The King’s Speech,” highly popular “The Social Network,” or stunners like “Black Swan” or “Inception,”  and with a silent and black-and-white film, “The Artist,” as the frontrunner, it might prove to be challenging to attract more viewers.

The opening sequence with Crystal being CGI-inserted was entertaining enough. It opened with George Clooney planting a kiss on Cyrstal lying on a hospital bed in one of scenes of “The Descendants.” Justin Bieber had a cameo mixed in and self-proclaimed that he’s there to attract the 18-24 demographic. One of the montages contained a nod to the ever-growing 3-D with Tom Cruise swinging in “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.”

It’s no surprise the visually stunning “Hugo” wins cinematography, art direction and visual effects. Meryl Streep’s uncanny look as Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady”  earned the film a win on the makeup department. The deftly written “The Descendants”  took home best adapted screenplay award and magical “Midnight in Paris” original screenplay.

Octavia Spencer made a genuinely emotional acceptance speech for winning best supporting actress in “The Help.” Christopher Plummer, awarded best supporting actor for his role in “Beginners,” quipped that the statue was merely two years older than he was and asked where it had been all his life. At age 82, he’s the oldest actor ever winning an Oscar. Both received standing ovations from their peers.

Best buds Clooney, “The Descendants,” and Brad Pitt, “Money Ball,” both lost best actor award to Jean Dujardin, “The Artist.” The French actor started his speech by proclaiming, “I love your country!” With 17 nominations spanning over decades, Streep claimed her third Oscar in 29 years for best actress in “The Iron Lady.” She humbly remarked that this was the last time she would be standing on stage for winning.

Michael Hazanavicius, “The Artist,” beat Martin Scorsese, “Hugo,” for best director. The Academy once again followed the pattern of awarding best picture to the film in which the director was previously bestowed with the directing award. Although considering that “Hugo” towers in technicality but lacks in storytelling, it’s not that surprising. “The Artist” becomes the first silent film to bring home the gold in 83 years. “The Artist” led the pack by winning five awards, followed by “Hugo” with four.

The show was peppered with commentaries from a number of actors about their feelings on movies. Best actor and actress nominees were individually introduced with praises for their work. Crystal made references to the recession by referring to the Kodak theater as “Chapter 11” theater since Kodak filed for bankruptcy, and a parody to millionaires receiving golden statues. With the camera panning to the faces of select actors, he also poked fun of them by verbalizing their thoughts in a twisted fashion.

Aside from the “Viva la France” moments, nothing much stood out this year. If anything, Cirque du Soleil, as always, gave an award-worthy performance. The red-carpet fashion was a parade of bold colors; forest green, tangerine orange, fiery red, silvery blush, deep burgundy, ice blue, pearly white, copper bronze, black-and-gold.  Overall, however, it’s a pretty subdued show.  Here’s to a more exciting 2013!

And the winners are…

Best Picture: “The Artist” – Thomas Langmann
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius – “The Artist”
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”
Best Actress: Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer – “The Help”
Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Descendants” – Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Best Original Screenplay: “Midnight in Paris” – Woody Allen
Best Visual Effects: “Hugo” – Robert Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann, Alex Henning
Best Art Direction: “Hugo” – Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo
Best Cinematography: “Hugo” – Robert Richardson
Best Sound Mixing “Hugo” – Tom Fleischman, John Midgley
Best Sound Editing: “Hugo” – Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty
Best Editing: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter
Best Makeup: “The Iron Lady” – Mark Coulier, J. Roy Helland
Best Costume Design: “The Artist” – Mark Bridges

For a complete list of winners, please visit the Academy Awards’ official website at

Copyright (c) 2012. Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a business manager, foreign language translator, lifestyle/travel writer and film columnist. She can be reached at Nathalia owns a movies blog, The MovieMaven (  Twitter:


Nathalia Aryani is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic ( She has a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at [email protected].

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