February 27, 2012

Live Blog: 'The Artist,' flying books and Kim Jong-il's ashes

By Jason Singer jsinger@pressherald.com
Assistant City Editor / Online

11:40 p.m. — "The Artist" wins Best Picture, capping off an incredible night for the first big silent movie in ages.

It took home many of the largest awards, including Best Actor, Best Director and Best Picture. It's the first silent film in 83 years — since the first Academy Awards — to win Best Picture.

Producer Thomas Langmann offered a thank you "from the bottom of my heart" and tells his kids to go to bed. Uggie the dog makes his first stage appearance of the night.

Below, Jean Dujardin and Uggie the dog in a scene from "The Artist."

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11:31 p.m. —  In a major upset, Meryl Streep wins Best Actress for her role in "The Iron Lady."

It was Streep's 17th nomination, but she hadn't won in 29 years, since 1983's "Sophie's Choice."

Viola Davis, of "The Help", was definitely the favorite in this category. "The Iron Lady", about Margaret Thatcher, received very mediocre reviews, and Davis has received a lot of buzz in recent years.

But Ms. Streep wins her third Academy Award, once again regaining her throne as queen of Hollywood.

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11:20 p.m. — French actor Jean Dujardin wins Best Actor, adding to the momentum of "The Artist". It appears silence will dominate the night.

Just a quick aside: Best Actor was the strongest category at the Academy Awards this year.

In most other years, George Clooney of "The Descendants", Brad Pitt of "Moneyball" and Gary Oldman of "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" could have been shoe-ins to win this award. They all gave career-defining performances.

But Dujardin was equally deserving and had the zeitgeist behind him. All hail "The Artist."

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11:05 p.m. — The Oscars telecast and host Billy Crystal are receiving rave reviews on the Internet.

"This is by far the most streamlined and elegant, best produced, and the simplest Oscar telecast that I've ever seen. The way it should be," tweets novelist Bret Easton Ellis.

Ben Gazzara, Liz Taylor and Whitney Houston just highlighted the always-touching video tribute to those in the industry who died during the past 12 months.

Below, Ben Gazzarra in "Anatomy of a Murder" (1959), one of his many great films.

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10:54 p.m. — In what's probably a sign of things to come, Michel Hazanavicius of "The Artist" just won Best Director.

That likely means "The Artist" will also win Best Picture. There's a strong correlation between the two awards, especially when their nominees are the same.

Hazanavicius, of France, gave a short but heart-warming speech.

"Sometimes life is wonderful," he said. "Today is one of those days."

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10:48 p.m. — "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" wins Best Animated Short Film. That's unfortunate, it was the worst of the five nominees in my opinion.

Despite it's long odds, I was pulling for "A Morning Stroll" — it had zombies, chickens and covered a 100-year span in 7 minutes. Now that's ambition.

Below, a scene from "The Fantastic Flying Books."

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10:40 p.m. — "The Shore" wins Best Live Action Short Film.

It's about best friends reunited after 25 years, who were separated by the Northern Ireland Troubles.

"Saving Face", about acid attacks on women in Pakistan, wins Best Documentary (Short Subject).

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10:27 p.m. — "The Descendants" wins Best Adapted Screenplay. That could be a sign of things to come as we get closer to the Best Picture award.

And in a minor upset, Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" beats "The Artist" for Best Original Screenplay.

(Continued on page 2)

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