Image for Streep & The Artist dazzle at Oscars

Streep & The Artist dazzle atOscars

The Artist and Hugo dominated today’s 2012 Academy Awards, while Meryl Streep ends a 30 year drought.

Movie history came full circle in Hollywood as French director Michel Hazanavicius’ silent comedy The Artist won five of its ten Academy Award nominations.

Long assumed to be the critics’ favourite, it took home Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Jean Dujardin, Best Original Score and Best Costume Design.

The unapologetic love-letter to Hollywood’s pre-talkie era faced stiff competition from Martin Scorsese’s family sleeper Hugo, which led the pack with eleven nominations. It took home awards for cinematography, art direction, visual effects and sound.

But it was all eyes on seventeen-time nominee Meryl Streep, who won Best Actress for her astonishing embodiment of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. Her win ends a thirty year wait for Streep, who last won in 1982 for Sophie’s Choice.

Introduced by Colin Firth with what was easily the night’s most memorable quote – “We were in Greece. We danced. I was gay, and we were happy.” – a teary-eyed Streep, thanked her long-time collaborator J. Roy Helland who was also recognised for his work on The Iron Lady – he shared the award for Best Makeup with Mark Coulier.

Comic legend Woody Allen was honoured with Best Original Screenplay for his golden age fantasy Midnight in Paris, while The Descendants walked away with best adaptation. New Zealand native Bret McKenzie won Best Original Song for Man or Muppet, prompting a ‘supportive’ Miss Piggy to tweet “I won! I finally won an #Oscar for my film, The #Muppets! Wait…why is Bret walking up there?”

82-year old Christopher Plummer picked up his first Oscar for his performance as elderly, newly out gay dad Hal Fields in Mike Mills’ film Beginners. He is now the oldest actor ever to win an Academy Award. Octavia Spencer picked up Best Supporting Actress for her role as Minny Jackson in The Help.

Billy Crystal hosted the evening, replacing Eddie Murphy, who had originally been slated to host. Murphy pulled out after original co-producer Brett Ratner resigned in the wake of using an anti-gay slur in reference to rehearsals.

A full list of 2012’s Oscar nominees can be found here.

> Follow Christian on Twitter: @XtianBaines

Comments arrow left

twoten85 said on the 27th Feb, 2012

I love Octavia Spencer, not only is she fierce :D but she totally deserves all she got this year :D :D

I fucking love Meryl :D

As for the Artist I haven't seen it :D


museboy said on the 27th Feb, 2012

Octavia receiving her award - what a genuinely emotional, unscripted and heartfelt reaction.


Barrin said on the 27th Feb, 2012

Damn! Just watched it on Go. We have a tipping contest at work each year, everyone hates me because I usually win. I've been told quite bluntly that I should withdraw having won so many times. Fuck them. It's my ambition to get a clean sweep. I only missed two, Meryl and cinematography. Double damn. But I still expect that means I won again. :)

So good to see Brett McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords win for his Muppets song.


rudeboy86 said on the 27th Feb, 2012


rudeboy86 said on the 27th Feb, 2012,0,7473284.htmlstory

Oscar voters overwhelmingly white, male

An L.A. Times study of Oscar voters finds that their demographics are much less diverse than the moviegoing public. Academy leaders say they want to diversify.

By John Horn, Nicole Sperling and Doug Smith, Los Angeles Times
February 19, 2012

When the names of winners are revealed on Oscar night, months of suspense give way to tears, smiles and speeches. Yet when the curtain falls, one question remains: Who cast the votes?

About 37 million people tuned in to the Academy Awards last year, and a great deal rides on the show's outcome. Winning a golden statuette can vault an actor to stardom, add millions to a movie's box office and boost a studio's prestige. Yet the roster of all 5,765 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a closely guarded secret.

Even inside the movie industry, intense speculation surrounds the academy's composition and how that influences who gets nominated for and wins Oscars. The organization does not publish a membership list.

"I have to tell you," said academy member Viola Davis, nominated for lead actress this year for "The Help." "I don't even know who is a member of the academy."

A Los Angeles Times study found that academy voters are markedly less diverse than the moviegoing public, and even more monolithic than many in the film industry may suspect. Oscar voters are nearly 94% Caucasian and 77% male, The Times found. Blacks are about 2% of the academy, and Latinos are less than 2%.

Oscar voters have a median age of 62, the study showed. People younger than 50 constitute just 14% of the membership.

The academy calls itself "the world's preeminent movie-related organization" of "the most accomplished men and women working in cinema," and its membership includes some of the brightest lights in the film business — Tom Hanks, Sidney Poitier, Meryl Streep and Steven Spielberg, among others. The roster also features actors far better known for their television acting, such as Erik Estrada from "CHiPs," Jaclyn Smith of "Charlie's Angels" and "The Love Boat's" Gavin MacLeod.

The academy is primarily a group of working professionals, and nearly 50% of the academy's actors have appeared on screen in the last two years. But membership is generally for life, and hundreds of academy voters haven't worked on a movie in decades.

Some are people who have left the movie business entirely but continue to vote on the Oscars — including a nun, a bookstore owner and a retired Peace Corps recruiter. Under academy rules, their votes count the same as ballots cast by the likes of Julia Roberts, George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio.

To conduct the study, Times reporters spoke with thousands of academy members and their representatives — and reviewed academy publications, resumes and biographies — to confirm the identities of more than 5,100 voters — more than 89% of the voting members. Those interviews revealed varying opinions about the academy's race, sex and age breakdown: Some members see it simply as a mirror of hiring patterns in Hollywood, while others say it reflects the group's mission to recognize achievement rather than promote diversity. Many said the academy should be much more representative.

The Times found that some of the academy's 15 branches are almost exclusively white and male. Caucasians currently make up 90% or more of every academy branch except actors, whose roster is 88% white. The academy's executive branch is 98% white, as is its writers branch.

Men compose more than 90% of five branches, including cinematography and visual effects. Of the academy's 43-member board of governors, six are women; public relations executive Cheryl Boone Isaacs is the sole person of color.

"You would think that in this day and age, there would be a little bit more equality across the board, but that's not the case," said Nancy Schreiber, one of a handful of women among the cinematography branch's 206 voting members. "Being a cinematographer should not be gender-based, and it's ridiculous that it is."

Academy leaders including President Tom Sherak and Chief Executive Dawn Hudson said they have been trying to diversify the membership but that change is difficult because the film industry is not very diverse, and slow because the academy has been limiting membership growth for the last decade.

"We absolutely recognize that we need to do a better job," said writer-director Phil Alden Robinson, a longtime academy governor. But "we start off with one hand tied behind our back.... If the industry as a whole is not doing a great job in opening up its ranks, it's very hard for us to diversify our membership."

Independent studies of some film crafts show that the academy's demographics mirror the industry's. Women make up 19% of the academy's screenwriting branch, and a 2011 analysis by the Writers Guild of America, West found that women accounted for 17% of film writers employment. The academy's producers branch is about 18% female, and the directors branch is 9% female, figures comparable to those in a study by San Diego State University's Martha Lauzen. She examined the 250 top-grossing movies of 2011 and found that women accounted for 25% of all of the films' producers, and 5% of all their directors.

"Is most of commercial narrative filmmaking the product of mostly white men? Sadly, the answer is yes," said Alexander Payne, the director and co-writer of best picture nominee "The Descendants" who belongs to the director branch.

Frank Pierson, a former academy president who won an Oscar for original screenplay for "Dog Day Afternoon" in 1976, said merit is the primary criterion for membership.

"I don't see any reason why the academy should represent the entire American population. That's what the People's Choice Awards are for," said Pierson, who still serves on the board of governors. "We represent the professional filmmakers, and if that doesn't reflect the general population, so be it."

Some academy members, though, believe the organization should do more to reflect the demographics of the nation. Denzel Washington, who won the lead actor award for 2001's "Training Day," said the academy needs to "open it up" and "balance" its membership.

"If the country is 12% black, make the academy 12% black," Washington said. "If the nation is 15% Hispanic, make the academy 15% Hispanic. Why not?"

A frequent criticism

Questions about the academy's diversity, or lack thereof, have persisted for years. In 1996, the Rev. Jesse Jackson organized nationwide protests over the absence of black and minority Oscar nominees, claiming it was evidence of "race exclusion and cultural violence" in Hollywood. The question came to the fore again last year, when not a single minority was among the 45 people nominated for actor, actress, supporting actor and actress, director and original and adapted screenplay.

In the past 83 years of Oscars, less than 4% of the acting awards have been bestowed on African Americans. Only one woman — Kathryn Bigelow — has received the Academy Award for directing "The Hurt Locker."

After the 2011 ceremony was staged without a single black male presenter, actor Samuel L. Jackson complained in an email to The Times: "It's obvious there's not ONE Black male actor in Hollywood that's able to read a teleprompter, or that's 'hip enuf,' for the new academy demographic!"

Asked about the diversity of Oscar presenters, Sherak said officials did not instruct this year's ceremony producers, Brian Grazer and Don Mischer, to include more minorities. "Producers produce the show, end of subject," he said. Past Oscar hosts have included African Americans Chris Rock and Whoopi Goldberg, and Eddie Murphy was initially slated to host this year's broadcast.

etc etc etc


mark_ said on the 27th Feb, 2012

The Oscar show producers and the movie owners are overwhelmingly jewish and rich.:cool:


TheOldie said on the 27th Feb, 2012

Glad Meryl won.

As the old Margaret Thatcher she was amazing.


rudeboy86 said on the 28th Feb, 2012

Yeah and....? That sucks too.


bobbyandmimmi said on the 28th Feb, 2012

Darren criss and kermit the frog had a duet........:)