DATE: 2.27 2012


The 84th annual Academy Awards sparkled with glamour, extravaganza and a brilliant host Billy Crystal. The French stole the show with the Artist, which won five Oscars, including best picture, director and male lead. Martin Scorcese’s Hugo tied with five Oscars.

After having spent the previous week on the red carpet, interviewing foreign directors and observing preparations, it was fascinating to see the actual arrivals onto the red carpet. It was actually purple in real life, but through TV magic, appeared as deep red.

Hollywood costume designer Susanna Puisto helped me critique the fashions. Classic 30’s Hollywood mermaid gowns ruled the day. The key word in spring fashion is peplum, a double layer skirt. For example, Michelle Williams wore one. Her coral red dress was designed by Louis Vuitton. Comedian Tina Fey was wearing a purple peplum gown  by Carolina Herrera. Cameron Diaz appeared in an off-white, tight Gucci dress, but her short straight hairdo was too casual. Glenn Close wore a black mourning coat. Susanna was not excited about it, but understood the older woman’s desire to cover her arms. Susanna was also turned off by the Artist’s Berenice Bejo’s pale green dress. Slim Angelina Jolie turned heads in her black black, strapless velvet gown by Ellie Saab. I think she was the queen of the evening. Sandra Bullock shined in a two-colored Marchesa dress. It included a white top and a black skirt. Susanna’s pick for the queen of the night was Gwyneth Paltrow in an off-white Tom Ford gown, which included a cape. Both Susanna and I felt that the turkey of the show was Jennifer Lopez. She was wearing a pearly white Zuhair Murad gown that had a cobweb kind of a pattern. Her dress was tight as a sausage skin. I thought she was like the amazing spider woman and Susanna saw her as a Las Vegas showgirl.

This was one of the best Oscar telecasts I have ever seen. The always brilliant Billy Crystal hosted for the ninth time. The Gala opened with a pre-taped insert that covered all 10 Best Picture nominees. Crystal kissed George Clooney on the mouth and Justin Bieber appeared for a couple of seconds, supposedly to lure the youth audience. Billy sang and knew how to turn embarrassing moments to his advantage. After a dull speech by the president of the Academy, Crystal said: “Thank you fow whipping the public into a frenzy.”  After a joke that fell flat he quipped:  “Well, the band liked it!”  Circue du Soleil’s group of acrobats flew across the auditorium and comedians Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis woke up the audience with their hilarious antics with cymbals. Saturday Night Live’s Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph presented the short subject Oscars.The women brightened up the rather dry category by risqué jokes that pondered about pros and cons of long and short things. The entire telecast lasted 3 hours and 7 minutes, which has the shortest Oscar show in recent memory.

Iran won he best foreign film Oscar with the divorce drama A Separation. Christopher Plummer won the supporting actor Oscar for Beginners, in which he played a dying gay man. “I’m only two years younger than the Oscar – where have you been all my life,” Plummer joked. This is his first win. He is 82 and the oldest Oscar winner ever. Octavia Spencer won the supporting actress category for the Help. Octavia was literally crying out loud and then endearingly urged herself to wrap up her speech. The handsome French actor Jean Dujardin grabbed the male lead Oscar for The Artist. The best lead actress Oscar went to Meryl Streep for her dead-on portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in the biopic the Iron Lady. This was Streep’s 17th nomination and  third win. “Oh, no, that woman again, I heard half of America crying out,” Meryl laughed. The Artist finally won the best picture. After the Wings won in 1929, this is the second time ever that a silent movie has won the top Oscar.