Oscar Gets it Right!

A well deserved win for Meryl Streep is the highlight of the show.
Meryl Streep wins Best Actress! Very, very much deserved. Streep’s third Oscar win defines this year’s Oscar race for me. Never have I rooted for an actor so strongly in a race, yet had the slightest hint of doubt at her prospects of winning. I’m glad, furthermore, that Streep had such a worthy competitors, for the tight race shows that Streep won on the merit of her performance in The Iron Lady and not for a win that would be reread as a lifetime achievement award. Offering a classy speech and unafraid to show her joy, Streep’s trip to the podium once again reminded me why she’s the best in the biz.

Finally! An Oscar for Plummer!
As for the rest of the show, I think the winners were okay. The screenplay wins for Woody Allen and the team for The Descendants were deserved 100%. I’m glad that the two best films of the year received some recognition. (And how much did you love the spoof that Payne and co. did on Angelina Jolie’s stylish pose?) Other highlights of the show were Christopher Plummer’s win for Beginners. Plummer gave an excellent and gracious speech, as did Octavia Spencer, who deservedly received the night’s first standing ovation following her Best Supporting Actress win for The Help. Finally, Asghar Farhadi’s win for Iran’s A Separation for Best Foreign Language Film corrects a streak of poor wins in that category, and the editing win for Baxter/Wall for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was one of the night’s most pleasant surprises.

There were, of course, some mild disappointments. The biggest loss, in my opinion, was seeing Emmanuel Lubezki’s stunning work for The Tree of Life get passed over for Robert Richardson’s work in Hugo. Richardson’s work is good, especially since it makes the best use of 3D technology thus far, but Lubezki’s lensing of Tree of Life had a vision unlike any nominee in the category in recent years. Tree of Life is arguably a film that is shaped by the greatness of its cinematography. As for Best Picture, I can accept that The Artist won. I think that The Artist certainly deserved its win for Best Score (despite what Kim Novak will tell you) and I can be content with its five wins granting it a place in movie history. It’s a lovely film, and since Meryl Streep won, I’ll never remember the 2011 Oscars by their Best Picture win, anyways. To the credit of this silent little black and white film, I hoped that the show would turn in its favour when Hugo pulled off some surprise wins in the technical categories. I don’t, however, think that The Artist will stand the test of time akin to such resonant works like The Descendants and Midnight in Paris, or even The Iron Lady due to Streep’s performance.

The Oscar ceremony itself was one of the better ones of recent years. Billy Chrystal did an excellent job as host by providing some hilarious sketches and songs, as well as some great off-the-cuff humour. The highlight of the night's entertainment was a hilarious spoof from the Christopher Guest troupe of Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Fred Willard, Jennifer Coolidge, and Bob Balaban, which mocked the crazy opinions of focus groups that shape the films we see. Imagine The Wizard of Oz without Dorothy! Their skit was best in show. The show also moved at a breezy pace and celebrated the films without ever making me grow tired of them. Overall, the show was a good finish to a good year for movies.

The winners:

Best Picture
The Artist - Thomas Langmann

Best Director
The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius

Best Actor
Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Best Actress
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Best Supporting Actor
Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Best Supporting Actress
Octavia Spencer, The Help

Adapted Screenplay
The Descendants: Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash

Original Screenplay
Midnight in Paris: Woody Allen

Animated Feature Film

Art Direction
Hugo: Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo

Hugo, Robert Richardson

The Artist, Mark Bridges

Documentary Feature
Undefeated, TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas

Film Editing
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall

Foreign Language Film
A Separation, Iran

The Iron Lady, Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Music (Original Score)
The Artist, Ludovic Bource

Music (Original Song)
“Man or Muppet,” The Muppets, Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie

Short Film (Animated)
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg

Short Film (Live Action)
The Shore, Terry George and Oorlagh George

Sound Editing
Hugo, Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty

Sound Mixing
Hugo, Tom Fleischman and John Midgley

Visual Effects
Hugo, Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning
 Finally, I don't pretend to know anything about fashion, but I know that alot of people like to watch the show for the outfits, so here are my picks for the Best Dressed of the Oscars.
#2 Jessica Chastain
#1 Angelina Jolie

#3 Uggie, looking dapper in a bow tie and personalized bone.
Let the Oscar race for 2012 begin!