Silence reigns again in Hollywood as The Artist sweeps the Oscars

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

 

Los Angeles

Nostalgia reigned supreme in Hollywood, as the film industry saluted the golden era of its craft by handing a slew of Oscars to The Artist, the black-and-white, largely-silent, independent movie which has completed a trailblazing journey through this awards season.

Click here for the full list of winners for the 84th Academy Awards

Oscars fashion: The red carpet verdict

Geoffrey Macnab: Hardly a surprise that there was no surprise at the Oscars

The film, about a silent-era movie star coming to terms with the arrival of the “talkies,” justified heavy favouritism to walk off with five awards, including three of the biggest ones: Best Picture, Best Director, for its creator Michel Hazanavicius, and Best Actor for its leading male, Jean Dujardin.

Acclaimed as both a celebration of “old” Hollywood and a demonstration of the enduring power of a largely-defunct genre, The Artist becomes the first silent title to win the most prestigious prize in show-business since 1929.

“Wow... la Victoire!” said a beaming Dujardin, after picking up the trophy. Hazanavicius meanwhile thanked Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier who stars in the film, joking: “but I don’t think he cares” about the accolade.

The sepia-toned tone extended beyond the mere winner’s podium. On the catwalk yesterday afternoon, 1920s styles reigned supreme. On stage, the decorations were Art Deco. Even the post-Oscar Governor’s Ball had a Prohibition-era theme.

History will also record that The Artist, whose largely French cast and crew have now been propelled to stardom, was also the first ever Best Picture winner from a non English-speaking country. “They must be going nuts in France right now,” joked the show’s host Billy Crystal, himself a throwback to a bygone era. “Or whatever the French have in place of mirth.”

The night’s most popular winner was meanwhile Meryl Streep, who despite her lofty status has for years been the event’s perennial bridesmaid. Her Best Actress award, for playing Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady followed a run of twelve straight unsuccessful Oscar nominations. “When they called my name I had this feeling I could feel half of America go ‘oh no... her again!’ But... whatever!“ she said.

Perhaps controversially, Streep neglected to thank the former British Prime Minister in her acceptance speech, though speaking afterwards, she made a somewhat equivocal reference to her “zeal” and “sense of rightness.”

In the Supporting Actress category, Octavia Spencer was honoured for her portrayal of Minny Jackson, a black housemaid in civil-rights-era Mississippi in The Help, a small summer movie which became one of last year’s break-out hits. After a tearful acceptance speech, she retired backstage where she declared herself “humbled” and thanked the film’s ensemble cast. “We left our egos at the door and worked together as one beautiful unit.”

History was made in the Best Supporting Actor category by Christopher Plummer, who at the age of 82 became the eldest person to ever win an Oscar, for his role in Beginners, where he played a gay man coming out to his wife of 45 years. Upon steeping onstage, he looked at the golden statue and declared: “you’re only two years older than me, darling. Where have you been all my life?”

Speaking later, Plummer described the trophy, his first Academy Award, as “la crème on top” of his career. Asked about his legacy, he added: “I can carry on acting for another ten years at least... We don’t retire in acting, we carry on until we die!”

Other big awards went to Woody Allen, who won Best Screenplay for Midnight in Paris, but (as is his habit) neglected to attend the three-hour ceremony at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, and Alexander Payne, who led the team which won Best Adapted Screenplay for The Descendants.

In the technical categories, another movie celebrating the early days of movies walked away with a large haul. Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, a grandiose, cinematic plea for film preservation, took five Oscars. Beneficiaries of its success included two Brits: John Midgley won Best Sound Mixing and Alex Henning won Best Visual Effects.

It has been generally a poor awards season for British contenders, but patriotically-minded viewers could take comfort from a smattering of other home-grown victories, including that of Mark Coulier won Best Make-up for his work on The Iron Lady.

In a touching rags-to-riches story, Terry George, a film-maker from Ulster, also struck gold for the UK. He shared the Best Short Film Oscar with his producer and 31-year-old daughter Oorlagh for The Shore, a drama about post-troubles Northern Ireland.

Made in just five days, on a tiny budget, the due friends and family as cast and crew on the 29 minute film. The location was a beach in the County Down fishing village of Killough, where his family has a holiday cottage. “I’m going to go back to the village where we shot this, and use it not only to promote the peace process, but also tourism in Northern Ireland,” he said, afterwards.

Mr George, who is best known as a screenwriter of such films as In the Name of the Father and Hotel Rwanda was achieving a historic first; no parent and child have ever shared an Oscar in the history of the awards. “Now I don’t have to wait for a wedding to say how brilliant my daughter is,” he joked.

A final noteworthy event, from the point of view of Oscar historians, came when Undefeated, a film about a high school American Football team, won Best Documentary. Its director became the second person in history to drop the “f-word” during his speech, cracking a taboo first broken by Melissa Leo last year.

Click here for the full list of winners for the 84th Academy Awards

Oscars fashion: The red carpet verdict

Geoffrey Macnab: Hardly a surprise that there was no surprise at the Oscars

Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Transformers: Age of Extinction was the most searched for movie in the UK in 2014

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson has had two UK number two singles but never a number one...yet

music
Arts and Entertainment
Clara Amfo will take over from Jameela Jamil on 25 January

radio
Arts and Entertainment
This is New England: Ken Cheeseman, Ann Dowd, Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins in Olive Kitteridge

The most magnificently miserable show on television in a long timeTV
Arts and Entertainment
Andrea Faustini looks triumphant after hearing he has not made it through to Sunday's live final

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
    Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

    Finally, a diet that works

    Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
    Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

    Say it with... lyrics

    The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
    Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

    The joys of 'thinkering'

    Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
    Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

    Monique Roffey interview

    The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
    DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
    Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

    How we met

    Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

    Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

    Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
    Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

    Who does your club need in the transfer window?

    Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
    The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015