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The Artist recieves Best Picture at 84th Academy Awards

By Alex Jabre
On February 28, 2012

Black and white is back. The Artist waltzed away with five

Oscars at the 84th Academy Awards including Best Picture,

Best Director, Best Actor, Best Music (Score) and Best Costume Design. It's the first comedy to win the sought-after award since Shakespeare in Love and the second silent film since Wings in 1928. But overall, this was the most mediocre Oscarcast in some years, mainly because it was so anti-climactic. There's usually a diverse spread of winners during awards season and at least a two-way race

for Best Picture. But this year it was pretty much just The Artist all the way. Host Billy Crystal was fun to watch as usual, but the audience didn't seem all that into his jokes

(some of which were stale). And the show's theme of Hollywood nostalgia and love for cinema was earnest but honestly a bit low-rent. There was also a bizarre and unnecessary performance by Cirque du Soleil, and don't get me started on those Justin Bieber and Twilight clips.

The biggest upset of the night was in the Best Actress category. Meryl Streep won her third Oscar for portraying Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady over Viola Davis's much-touted performance in The Help. I can't speak for Streep's performance, but she did seem a little faux-grateful in her acceptance speech. Jean Dujardin predictably won Best Actor for The Artist and it's an impressive achievement

considering that his role has virtually no lines. But I thought

George Clooney's performance in The Descendants and especially Brad Pitt's heartbreaking work in Moneyball were much richer and more nuanced. Christopher Plummer won

Best Supporting Actor for his work in Beginners, making him the oldest actor to ever win an Oscar. Octavia Spencer gave the most joyful and heartfelt speech of the evening after she picked up Best Supporting Actress for The Help.

The Descendants' razor-sharp and touching script picked up

Best Adapted Screenplay while Woody Allen won Best Original Screenplay for Midnight in Paris. While Midnight is not one of Woody's great films, it was the best "original" script nominated and it was a gift to see my favorite writer winning an Academy Award. If only he showed up. Hugo swept the technical categories; tying The Artist with 5 Oscars total. Nickelodeon's quirky Rango won Best animated Feature. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo won

Best Film Editing (which was odd, considering how overlong it is). "Man or Muppet" from The Muppets won Best Original Song, making it the first Muppet movie to win an Oscar. I was happy that Terry George – director of Hotel Rwanda – won Best Short Film for The Shore. And Michel Hazanavicius won Best Director for his fine work in The Artist. But was it really better than Terrence Malick's visionary genius in The Tree of Life? I don't think so. The Tree of Life was also the favorite to win Best cinematography for its jaw-dropping images, but the

Academy preferred Hugo's slickness. Sigh. I consider a "good" Oscar year if your favorites win awards, which wasn't the case for me this year. As much as I liked The

Artist, it's probably my least favorite Best Picture winner of recent years. Did people really like it that much? 2011 was a wonderful year for movies and I don't think the Academy reflected that with its choices. But there were at least a

few worthy winners and that's all you can really ask for. You bet I'll still be watching next year. Just no Bieber, please.


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