I, as I’m sure many of you did, tuned in for the extravagant three-hour celebration of film that is the Academy Awards. The evening was filled with laughter, tears, and lots of “thank you’s.”
Here are a few highlights from the award show that I found particularly enjoyable. For a complete list of the night’s winners, scroll to the bottom of the post!
As one would expect, host Billy Crystal added levity and laughs to the evening in the form of many quips and an expertly-edited montage.
His appearing in scenes from the top movies of the year provided some of the funniest moments of the night. In the montage, he managed to steal a kiss from George Clooney and share a hilarious scene with Justin Bieber (“I’m here to get you the 18 to 24 demographic,” said the teen idol).
Crystal also managed to fill the moments between awards with and endless supply of one-liners. My favorite of these was delivered near the beginning of the ceremony: “Nothing takes the sting out of the world’s economic problems like watching a bunch of millionaires giving each other golden statues.”
The various presenters filled the evening with laughs as well. From Robert Downey Jr. Tebowing and staging a mockumentary, to Emma Stone reveling in her first time onstage at the Oscars, to Zach Galifianakis butchering his own name, there was rarely a dull moment throughout the evening.
Cirque du Soleil
The most unexpected moment of awesome of the night was an outstanding performance by Cirque du Soleil, introduced by none other than Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. The music that played as the acrobats performed was composed by Danny Elfman, which made this Elfman fan very happy indeed. And the film footage used as a backdrop to the performance was stunning as well. In a moment representing the romance of films, famous kiss scenes filled the screen (kisses from The Sound of Music, Titanic, and even Spiderman were featured).
My only real lament regarding the performances is for a missed opportunity. I would have given a large sum of money to see Jason Segel perform “Man or Muppet” live.
And now, the winners (in the order they were awarded):
Art Direction– Hugo
Costume Design– The Artist
Makeup– The Iron Lady
Foreign language film– A Separation
Actress in a Supporting Role– Octavia Spencer- The Help
Film Editing- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Sound Editing– Hugo
Sound Mixing– Hugo
Documentary Feature- Undefeated
Animated Film- Rango
Visual Effects- Hugo
Actor in a Supporting Role– Christopher Plummer- Beginners
Original Score- The Artist
Original Song- “Man or Muppet”- The Muppets
Adapted Screenplay– The Descendants
Original Screenplay- Midnight in Paris
Live Action Short– The Shore
Documentary Short- Saving Face
Animated Short– The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Directing– The Artist
Actor in a Leading Role– Jean Dujardin- The Artist
Actress in a Leading Role- Meryl Streep- The Iron Lady
Best Picture- The Artist
Personally, my favorite acceptance speeches were those of Christopher Plummer and Jean Dujardin. Plummer’s speech was classy and clever (looking into the eyes of the statue, he mused “You’re only two years older than me, honey. Where have you been all my life?”) and Dujardin’s was one of barely-contained joy. By the end of his thank-you’s, he burst into an outpouring of French exclamations (I caught “Genial!” and “Formidable!”) and pumped his fist in true George Valentin form.