The culmination of awards season ended last Sunday with the broadcast of Hollywood’s biggest night, the 84th annual Academy Awards, which honored the best in film for 2011. This year’s host was Oscar veteran Billy Crystal, and he put on quite an entertaining show.
Beginning with a short film chronicling Crystal’s journey to the Oscar stage, Crystal spoofed such nominated movies as “The Artist,” “Moneyball” and “The Help.” Our host for the evening even received a kiss from George Clooney during “The Descendants” portion of the opening monologue.
Overall, the show was a crowd pleaser, which was made evident by the four-percent increase in viewership as compared to last year’s telecast. There were many surprises, upsets and comical moments that will be cemented into Academy Awards history for years to come. Let’s start where the show really began: the red carpet. The E! network always throws Ryan Seacrest onto the carpet for all the big awards shows. Typically, celebrities are always pleasant to Seacrest, but this past Sunday the “E! News” host had a run-in with “The Dictator.”
Sasha Baron Cohen, who was invited to the Oscars for his role in Best Picture nominee “Hugo,” decided to arrive in character to promote his upcoming film, “The Dictator.” After much talk of banning Cohen from the award ceremony, the actor, not being a big fan of following rules, showed up as “The Dictator,” and Seacrest was first in line to interview him. As a prop, “The Dictator” was carrying an urn that held the imaginary ashes of the late Kim Jong Il, which were poured all over Seacrest, causing the anchor’s security team to haul Cohen away. We later found out that the ashes were really just pancake mix.
Fashion on the red carpet seemed to please more than disappoint this year. Some of the most talked-about dresses were Gwyneth Paltrow’s white Tom Ford dress complete with cape, Stacy Keibler’s gold Marchesa gown, and Angelina Jolie’s all-black Atelier Versace gown, which showed a lot of leg.
Inside the Hollywood and Highland Center, formerly known as the Kodak Theatre, there were a total of 24 awards given out. The big winners for the evening were “Hugo” and “The Artist,” each taking home five Oscar statues. The award for Best Supporting Actor went to Christopher Plummer for his role in “Beginners.” Almost the same age as the award ceremony itself, Plummer is the oldest actor to win an Oscar at the age of 82.“I have a confession to make: When I first emerged from my mother’s womb I was already rehearsing my Academy thank you speech,” Plummer said.
Best Supporting Actress was awarded to Octavia Spencer for her role as Minny Jackson in “The Help.” With this being her first Academy Award, Spencer gave a tearful speech thanking the many people who helped her along the way. “Please wrap up. I’m wrapping up. I’m sorry, I’m freaking out,” Spencer said before she walked offstage clutching her award.
The Best Actor nod went to Jean Dujardin for his role in “The Artist.” Dujardin is the first French actor to win this award, and he caused some controversy when he cursed in French during his acceptance speech. As for Best Actress, many were speculating that Viola Davis would win for her role in “The Help,” but Meryl Streep sneaked up and stole the glory with her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.” This was Streep’s 17th Oscar nomination and third win. “When they called my name I had this feeling I could hear half of America going, ‘Oh no, oh, come on why? Her. Again,’ you know? But whatever,” Streep said.
The Best Director award went to Michel Hazanavicius for his work on “The Artist.” And now for the award you have been waiting for: The Oscar for Best Picture was awarded to the cast and crew of “The Artist,” which wasn’t a big surprise.
The award winners weren’t the only ones making memories at this year’s Oscars. Some of the presenters caused some unforgettable moments. Presenting the award for Achievement in Costume Design, Jennifer Lopez caused a bit of a stir when many claimed she had a wardrobe malfunction onstage. Lopez, presenting alongside Cameron Diaz, showed off her front and her famous backside in a low-cut, almost sheer Zuhair Murad gown.
Ben Stiller and Emma Stone presented the award for Best Digital Effects. Stone took this opportunity to let the audience know this was her first time presenting at the Oscars, and she was looking to make it memorable. The “Easy A” star suggested a variety of ways to make this moment memorable, even suggesting a song and dance number. “I can just pull someone up from the audience and have them dance with me. Oh my God Jonah [Hill]. Get up here! Let’s dance, let’s dance,” Stone said. The camera shoots to Hill while he shakes his head “no” at Stone.
My favorite pair of presenters was Rose Byrne and Melissa McCarthy, who were there to hand out the award for Best Documentary Short. If you recall from the SAG Awards, the “Bridesmaids” stars made up a drinking game with one simple rule: Take a drink every time you hear the name Scorsese. While onstage at the Oscars, some from the audience yelled out Scorsese, and Byrne and McCarthy hilariously pulled out a small travel-sized bottle in order to honor the game.
Overall, I think the 2012 Academy Awards was an enjoyable show, and it only ran about 10 minutes over. There were many funny and serious moments that highlighted the hard work that the actors and everyone behind the scenes put into these films. Now that the Oscars are over, the 2011 awards season has sadly come to an end, but we will always have the memories of Angelina Jolie’s leg.