The Artist astounds without saying a word

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The Artist astounds without saying a word

Allen J Schaben/MCT Campus

Allen J Schaben/MCT Campus

Allen J Schaben/MCT Campus

Meryl Streep takes home the Oscar for Best Actress after overcoming stiff competition

Nick Barbieri, Chief Copy Editor

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Hollywood’s biggest night of the year has come and gone once again. On Sunday February 26, the Eighty-Fourth Annual Academy Awards were held at the Hollywood and Highland Center, and The Artist and Hugo emerged as the big winners, taking home five awards apiece.

The ceremony was hosted by Billy Crystal, and in his ninth time hosting the awards show, he certainly didn’t drop the ball. He opened the show with what seems to have become tradition – a montage of the year’s Best Picture nominees (and other popular films) that he inserted himself into, followed by a clever musical number. It felt very familiar, but it was still very funny.

He kept up the humor throughout the night – especially making jokes about the “Chapter 11 Theater” that the ceremony was being held in. As reported by Entertainment Weekly, the Eastman Kodak Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and as a part of their court agreement, the company ended its sponsorship of what has long been the Kodak Theater, and what is now the Hollywood and Highland Theater. Crystal took advantage of this fiasco and incorporated it into the show numerous times, successfully getting laughs each time.

Of course, he wasn’t the only source of laughter or entertainment for the evening. Emma Stone was hysterical in her first time presenting an Oscar. Angelina Jolie also turned heads, wearing a sultry gown that exposed her right leg and posing as if she were modeling when she presented an award – this was then mimicked by Jim Rash, Community star and co-writer of The Descendants, when he went up to accept his award for Best Adapted Screenplay along with his co-writers.

But now onto what’s most important about the night: the awards. Early in the evening, Hugo, Martin Scorsese’s 3D family film about a young orphan in Paris that paid homage to silent film, picked up five awards, all in technical categories – Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects. Without a doubt, Hugo deserved every last one of these awards, as it was a truly visually stunning masterpiece – Scorsese has proven himself time and time again as a master of film, and has now done so in a 3D family form, a true change in style for the director.

While Hugo led the pack with eleven nominations, it tied The Artist for most wins – both earned five awards. The Artist, a black-and-white silent film, was undoubtedly the best film of the year, and was awarded five major awards – Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Picture. All other films paled in comparison to The Artist, and the mood in the room was truly jovial at every win for the film.

However, MHS sophomore Ryan Schulte felt differently about the win, saying “the deep, emotional level that The Descendants touched was better than the medium used in The Artist or the entirely innocent feeling of Hugo.” The Descendants did manage to pick up one win in the evening – Best Adapted Screenplay, which was co-writer Alexander Payne’s second win in the category, following 2004’s Sideways.

None of the major awards were all too surprising – The Artist’s sweep of Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor (for Jean Dujardin) was seen coming, and Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer had been winning the awards for their supporting roles in Beginners and The Help, respectively, nonstop throughout the entire awards season. However, there is one category that did shock many – frontrunner Viola Davis lost Best Actress for her role in The Help to Meryl Streep, who won for The Iron Lady.

Streep accepted the award with an heir of pretentiousness that only she could get away with, having been nominated for more Academy Awards than any other actor (seventeen). She got up to the microphone and said, “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.”

No doubt about it, the woman is a legend, and as MHS senior Devin Muckley said, “Meryl has a phenomenal body of work. [They] couldn’t not give it to her.”

Her performance was definitely fantastic, but it’s always a bit frustrating when a film that is mediocre, as The Iron Lady was with its poor narrative structure, walks away with a major Oscar. Viola Davis would have been a better contender for the phenomenal The Help, but in actuality, both women were outshined by Michelle Williams’ portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn. It’s unfortunate that she was hardly recognized for her perfect and dazzling performance.

All in all, this year’s Oscar ceremony was full of laughs, joy, few surprises, and many memorable moments. And now we have another year of great films to look forward to, which will lead into yet another Academy Awards ceremony.

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