Golden Boys: The 84th Annual Academy Awards Coverage

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The 84th Annual Academy Awards have just come to a close. So what can we take away from it other than Billy Crystal being a charming, but aging host or the ladies gushing about Brad Pitt’s outfit? For starters, there were two big winners among the films: Hugo, Martin Scorsese’s 3D adventure, and The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius’s homage to the silent era. Each had received a double-digit number of nominations, and both won five times apiece.

The Artist, which took home the trophies in several of the most important categories, such as Best Picture, Best Achievement in Directing (Michel Hazanavicius), and Best Leading Actor (Jean Dujardin), is a peculiarity among the movies making splashes at the Oscars. Not only was it shot in black-and-white exclusively, but it isn’t an American production by any means, and it doesn’t contain any words. The Artist, a full-screen rarity in today’s motion picture industry, also won in Best Costume Design and Best Editing.

Hugo, on the other hand, is as odd a Martin Scorsese film as it gets. As Crystal quipped during the ceremony, nobody ‘gets whacked’ in it. Based on a children’s book, the movie is actually geared toward the younger audiences (with a PG rating) and the director’s first project in 3D. For the sixth time in seven tries, Scorsese didn’t receive the Oscar as Best Director, but Hugo won in a total of five categories, Cinematography, Costume Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects.

The results for the main awards come to no big surprise. After all, The Artist had already scored seven times at the BAFTA Awards, thrice at the Golden Globes, and took home the prestigious trophies from the Directors’ Guild and Screen Actors’ Guild that are seen as the heralds of the Oscars. Others, however, weren’t so lucky. Some films lost in all categories they were nominated in, just as Scorsese’s Gangs Of New York did ten times in 2003.

The movies to go home empty-handedly this year were Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life, an esoteric family drama mixed with philosophical musings that would also have been a deserving candidate for Best Cinematography and Best Direction. Neither did Steven Spielberg’s War Horse receive any of the ‘golden boys,’ despite its six nominations. Among the significant personal losers were such luminees as Scorsese, Spielberg, and Malick in the directors’ category as well as Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Kenneth Branagh, Gary Oldman, Nick Nolte, Glenn Close, Michelle Williams, and Swedish icon Max von Sydow on the acting front.

Some longtime losers, however, finally made splashes again. Woody Allen, who wasn’t even in attendance, won his first Oscar since 1987 for Best Original Writing in Midnight In Paris, a romantic comedy about a struggling author discovering the magic of the French capital’s past. Meryl Streep, now the record-holding thesp with 17 nominations, had had to wait almost thirty years after her win for Sophie’s Choice in 1983 before she received another trophy as Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance of Margaret Thatcher in the biopic The Iron Lady.

In general, however, it was fairly obvious that this year’s Oscars were riding a nostalgia wave. The two big winners, The Artist and Hugo, are attempts to recall former times and the golden age of cinema, just as Midnight In Paris is a tribute of sorts to the past, and veteran Academy Award host Billy Crystal as this year’s choice to lead through the ceremony. An explanation would be that the motion picture industry is in a state of flux at the moment, although it is uncertain where exactly it will be heading in the future. There are some dramatic decisions to be made, in terms of both technology and choice of topics, and they are about more than 3D or not 3D.

Motion pictures have lost a certain portion of their audience and appeal in recent years for several reasons. The price-tags that many of them carry require ticket prices to go up, especially since the emergence of 3D. More and more sequels are made that simply recycle storylines from previous films rather than coming up with truly original ideas. There has also been a trend for television to tell the tales that the cinema used to narrate in the past.

Big-budget series like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire (which, incidentally, Martin Scorsese has a hand in), and others today or the Spielberg-produced war epics Band Of Brothers and The Pacific some years ago have proven to be more creative than many feature films, shot at a similar technological level and budget as movies, but telling stories over a longer, more regular period of time that interested viewers can watch from their HDTV-equipped homes. Why should they even leave the coziness of their own places for the movie theaters then? Those are the questions the motion picture industry will have to face, and simply going back and trying to recall the greatness of old probably won’t solve the matter.

And now, without much further delay, let’s move to the full list of winners and nominees from the 84th Annual Academy Awards. They’re listed chronologically, as they were handed out by the star presenters, with winners in bold letters.


Tom Hanks presents

(1) Achievement in Cinematography

The Artist – Guillaume Schiffman

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Jeff Cronenweth

Hugo – Robert Richardson

The Tree Of Life – Emmanuel Lubezki

War Horse – Janusz Kaminski


(2) Achievement in Art Direction

The Artist – Laurence Bennett (production design) and Robert Gould (set decoration)

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hollows Part 2 – Stuart Craig (production design) and Stephenie McMillan (set decoration)

Hugo – Dante Ferretti (production design) and Francesca Lo Schiavo (set decoration)

Midnight In Paris – Anne Seibel (production design) and Hélène Dubreuil (production design)

War Horse – Rick Carter (production design) and Lee Sandales (set decoration)

Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez present

(3) Achievement in Costume Design

Anonymous – Lisy Christl

The Artist –Mark Bridges

Jane Eyre – Michael O’Connor

W.E. – Arianne Phillips

Hugo – Sandy Powell


(4) Achievement in Make-up

Albert Nobbs – Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston, and Matthew W. Mungle

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 – Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight, and Lisa Tomblin

The Iron Lady – Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland


Sandra Bullock presents

(5) Best Foreign Language Film

Bullhead – Michael R. Rosham (Belgium)

In Darkness – Agnieszka Holland (Poland)

Footnote – Joseph Cedar (Israel)

Monsieur Lazhar – Philippe Falardeau (Canada)

A Separation – Asghar Farhadi (Iran)


Christian Bale presents

(6) Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Bérénice Bejo for The Artist

Jessica Chastain for The Help

Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids

Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs

Octavia Spencer for The Help


Jessica Fey and Bradley Cooper present

(7) Achievement in Film Editing

The Artist – Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius

The Descendants – Kevin Tent

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall

Hugo – Thelma Schoonmaker

Moneyball – Christopher Tellefsen


(8) Achievement in Sound Editing

Drive – Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Ren Klyce

Hugo – Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon – Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl

War Horse – Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom


(9) Achievement in Sound Mixing

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, and Bo Persson

Hugo – Tom Fleischman and John Midgley

Moneyball – Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, David Giammarco, and Ed Novick

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon – Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, and Peter J. Devlin

War Horse – Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson, and Stuart Wilson


Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey jr. present

(10) Best Documentary Feature

Hell And Back Again – Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner

If A Tree Falls: A Story Of The Earth Liberation Front – Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory – Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky

Pina – Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel

Undeafeated – TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay, and Rich Middlemas


Chris Rock presents

(11) Best Animated Feature Film

A Cat In Paris – Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli

Chico & Rita – Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal

Kung Fu Panda 2 – Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Puss In Boots – Chris Miller

Rango – Gore Verbinski


Emma Stone and Ben Stiller present

(12) Achievement in Visual Effects

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 – Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler, and John Richardson

Hugo – Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman, and Alex Henning

Real Steel – Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor, and Swen Gillberg

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes – Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White, and Daniel Barrett

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon – Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler, and John Frazier


Melissa Leo presents

(13) Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Kenneth Branagh for My Week With Marilyn

Jonah Hill for Moneyball

Nick Nolte for Warrior

Christopher Plummer for Beginners

Max von Sydow for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close


Penélope Cruz and Owen Wilson presents

(14) Best Original Score

The Adventures Of Tintin – John Williams

The Artist – Ludovic Bource

Hugo – Howard Shore

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Alberto Iglesias

War Horse – John Williams


Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis present

(15) Best Original Song

“Man Or Muppet” from The Muppets, music and lyric by Bret McKenzie

“Real In Rio” from RIO, music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, lyric by Siedah Garrett


Angelina Jolie presents

(16) Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

The Descendants – Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash

Hugo – John Logan

The Ides Of March – George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon

Moneyball – Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, story by Stan Chervin

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan


(17) Best Writing (Original Screenplay)

The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius

Bridesmaids – Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig

Margin Call – J.C. Chandor

Midnight In Paris – Woody Allen

A Separation – Ashgar Farhadi


The Bridesmaids present

(18) Best Short Film (Live Action)

Pentecost – Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane

Raju – Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren

The Shore – Terry George and Oorlagh George

Time Freak – Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey

Tuba Atlantic – Hallvar Witzø


(19) Best Documentary Short

The Barber Of Birmingham: Foot Soldier Of The Civil Rights Movement – Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin

God Is The Bigger Elvis – Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson

Incident In New Baghdad – James Spione

Saving Face – Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

The Tsunami And The Cherry Blossom – Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen


(20) Best Short Film (Animated)

Dimanche/Sunday – Patrick Doyon

The Fantastic Flying Books Of Mr. Morris Lessmore – William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg

La Luna – Enrico Casarosa

A Morning Stroll – Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe

Wild Life – Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby


Michael Douglas presents

(21) Best Achievement in Directing

Woody Allen for Midnight In Paris

Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist

Terrence Malick for The Tree Of Life

Alexander Payne for The Descendants

Martin Scorsese for Hugo


Meryl Streep presents

(22) Honorary Oscars

James Earl Jones, Dick Smith, and Oprah Winfrey


Natalie Portman presents

(23) Best Actor in a Leading Role

Demián Bichir for A Better Life

George Clooney for The Descendants

Jean Dujardin for The Artist

Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Brad Pitt for Moneyball


Colin Firth presents

(24) Best Actress in a Leading Role

Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs

Viola Davis for The Help

Rooney Mara for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady

Michelle Williams for My Week With Marilyn


Tom Cruise presents

(25) Best Motion Picture

The Artist – Thomas Langmann

The Descendants – Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, and Jim Taylor

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – Scott Rudin

The Help – Brunson Green, Chris Columbus, and Michael Barnathan

Hugo – Graham King and Martin Scorsese

Midnight In Paris – Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum

Moneyball – Michael De Luca, Rachel Horovitz, and Brad Pitt

The Tree Of Life – Sarah Green, Bill Pohlad, Dede Gardner, and Grant Hill

War House – Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy