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‘The Artist’ Wins Big at Oscars

‘The Artist’ Wins Big at Oscars Joel Ryan / AP Photo

Meryl Streep beats Viola Davis for Best Actress.

French favorite The Artist picked up beaucoup awards at the Oscars last night, winning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and two other smaller prizes. The silent film’s march to the stage was largely expected, as were Christopher Plummer’s and Octavia Spencer’s wins for their supporting roles in Beginners and The Help, respectively. It was Meryl Streep, however, who provided the night’s biggest surprise, as she trumped The Help’s Viola Davis to take home Best Actress for her role in The Iron Lady—her third career Oscar. Jennifer Lopez also had an eventful night, arguably exposing a nipple while presenting an award alongside Cameron Diaz.

Read it at The Daily Beast

Oscars

Daring ’Do

Why Viola Ditched the Wig

Davis looked stunning with a natural Afro at the Oscars last night.

Whether she knows it or not (she does), Viola Davis made Sunday night at the Oscars a teachable moment, giving the world a crash course in the ever-complicated politics of African-American hair.

Actress Viola Davis at the Oscars

Actress Viola Davis arrives at the 84th Annual Academy Awards held at the Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Michael Buckner / Getty Images)

Davis, a Best Actress nominee for The Help, arrived at the awards ceremony in a stunning emerald-colored gown and a natural, curly Afro, instantly lifting the lid from the bubbling pot of anger, judgment, and debate often directed toward African-American women and the varying states of their textured tresses.

Through most of the awards season, Davis had donned a dizzying array of wigs and hairpieces to complement her tasteful choice of vibrant-hued cocktail dresses and elegant evening gowns. Many were attractive enough, but some of the follicle support had appeared stiff, ill-fitted, and aging to her lean frame and glowing ebony skin.

Red-Carpet Follies

Oscars’ Best, Worst, and Wilted

oscars-best-dressed-tease

Rooney Mara had a fashion moment, Michelle Williams was the belle of the evening, Viola Davis stunned in green, Kristen Wiig drooped, and the men were winning in their tuxes. Robin Givhan assesses the Oscar red carpet’s hits and misses.

If there was any Oscar nominee whom the world’s fashion aficionados were breathlessly awaiting, it had to have been Rooney Mara. As the fall 2012 collections have unfolded—first in New York and now in Milan—the influence of her film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo has been on countless runways. Stylists just can’t seem to get enough of her severe bangs, her steely gaze, and her porcelain skin, which stands in stark contrast to her dark, dark hair.

Fashion folks love her for her striking looks, that tiny clothes-hanger frame, and her willingness to take a risk. (She had her own private part pierced for the role of Lisbeth Salander, after all.) And when she arrived on the red carpet dressed in a Givenchy couture gown stitched from panels of cream-colored mixed lace, it was a fine fashion moment. The dress had exaggerated details at the bust line, giving the effect of tail fins shooting off her bosom. It was odd and fascinating, strangely enticing but not exactly pretty. It was the most interesting garment to make an appearance on the red carpet at the 84th annual Academy Awards.

The prettiest dress, however, most surely had to be the bright orange, strapless Louis Vuitton gown worn by Best Actress nominee Michelle Williams. It was feminine and delicate; it conjured the romance of old Hollywood without giving in to va-va-voom clichés. Williams paired it with a Bottega Veneta knot-top clutch in charming pink. Her look was an antidote to a red carpet dominated by white, ivory, and black.

Best Actress nominee Viola Davis was one of the few other women who embraced bold color. She chose a jade-green Vera Wang gown that showed off her glamorous and sexy side. And surely a thousand cheers went up among her fans for her new close-cropped hairstyle. It makes her look younger and edgier and gives her a double dose of red-carpet personality. Not every starlet needs Rapunzel hair.

Tinseltown Surprise

Traditional Values From Hollywood!

Box-office champ ‘Act of Valor’ lauds sacrifice and heroism. At the Oscars, Meryl Streep thanked her spouse, and Jean Dujardin declared his love for America. Hollywood is showcasing bedrock values and giving hope to beleaguered conservatives.

For conservatives and traditionalists, unusual good news from Hollywood—in terms of both weekend box-office results and, amazingly enough, the Oscar ceremonies.

Academy Awards

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Among all new films released Friday, Act of Valor counted as the runaway winner, with the public eagerly endorsing a breathlessly paced, passionately pro-military, hyperpatriotic action film about heroic Navy SEALs protecting the public from diabolical cooperation between Islamo-Nazis and drug cartels. The movie delivered its stunningly choreographed scenes of combat on a miniscule budget of $12 million, earning back more than twice that amount ($24.7 million, an impressive $8,128 per screen) in just its first three days in release. By comparison, the top new release from the big studios, Jennifer Aniston’s intermittently amusing hippie-commune comedy, Wanderlust, earned just $6.6 million and a $3,297 average per screen.

Like The Hurt Locker, the Oscar-winning Best Picture from 2008, Act of Valor attempted to give moviegoers an intimate, visceral sense of personal participation in danger and combat, but unlike The Hurt Locker, this new film connected with a mass audience—earning considerably more in its first three days than its much-acclaimed predecessor brought home in its entire run.

Watch This!

11 Best Oscar Moments

Big wins for Meryl Streep and ‘The Artist’ helped balance out an Oscars telecast that was peppered with bizarre moments—Billy Crystal in blackface, anyone? The buzziest moments from Hollywood’s big night.

The Red-Carpet Dictator

Despite reports saying otherwise, Sacha Baron Cohen was allowed to walk the red carpet dressed as the character from his upcoming movie The Dictator. And he totally behaved himself. Kidding! He stopped to talk to Ryan Seacrest, where he said he was wearing John Galliano (naturally) and then upended an entire urn of ashes—“Kim Jong-il!”—on the host.

The New Old Face of the Oscars

OSCAR SLIP

J.Lo Has Wardrobe Malfunction

J.Lo Has Wardrobe Malfunction Mark J. Terrill / AP Photo

Presents too much when presenting at Academy Awards.

Where were you when J.Lo had a wardrobe malfunction? Jennifer Lopez wore a stunning Zuhair Murad gown, but—sadly for her—the night will forever be remembered for one slip of her top. When presenting with Cameron Diaz, the American Idol host's dress may have shifted enough to expose her nipple. The Internet immediately was set on fire, searching for the truth. It even spawned this Twitter account. Will we ever know the truth?

Read it at People

NOT BEST SOUND

Sound Glitch Annoys Oscar Viewers

Odd noise when people speak into microphone.

Who keeps dialing a phone? What is that noise?! Annoyed viewers watching the 84th annual Oscar awards took to Twitter to complain about the incessant ringing noise they heard every time anyone spoke into the microphone. Some joked that the telecast wouldn’t win any awards for sound mixing, and that someone needed to tell the Oscars to stop “dialing a phone” every time someone won an award. All we can say is: beep beep.

Read it at Twitter

Shenanigans

'The Dictator' Dumps Ashes on Seacrest

'The Dictator' Dumps Ashes on Seacrest Matt Sayles / AP Photo

Sacha Baron Cohen says Ryan now wearing Kim Jong-il.

Maybe the academy should have kept that ban in place. Funnyman Sacha Baron Cohen showed up on the Oscars red carpet in full costume as Admiral General Shabazz Aladeen, his character from his upcoming film, The Dictator. The actor was also carrying an urn, which he claimed held the remains of Kim Jong-il. “It gave me the opportunity to bring my dear friend and doubles tennis partner, Kim Jong-il,” he told Ryan Seacrest, before spilling the ashes all over the TV host. “If someone asks what you are wearing, tell them Kim Jong-il,” he added.

Read it at The New York Daily News

FASHION SHOW

Stars Hit the Red Carpet at Oscars

Stars Hit the Red Carpet at Oscars Matt Sayles / AP Photo

Clooney says best actor will speak French.

The stars are arriving on the red carpet for the 84th annual Academy Awards. Two actresses from The Artist, Penelope Anne Miller and Missi Pyle, were among the first to arrive. Several women, including Melissa McCarthy and Milla Jovovich, have shown up wearing Greco-Roman gowns. Meanwhile, Wolfgang Puck has been serving Oscar-inspired food on the red carpet to keep everyone’s hunger at bay. As far as award predictions go, George Clooney told one reporter on the carpet, “At the end of the Best Actor race, you’re going to hear someone speaking French.”

Read it at The Washington Post

It’s Hollywood’s big night. See winners and more breaking news.

The Artist won awards for best picture, best director, and best actor. Meryl Streep beat out Viola Davis to win the best actress award for her performance in The Iron Lady. Octavia Spencer got a standing ovation when she won the supporting actress award for The Help. Christopher Plummer won best supporting actor for Beginners; at the age of 82, he is the oldest person ever to win an acting Oscar. Bret McKensie, of Flight of the Conchords fame, won the award for best original song for "Man or Muppet" from The Muppets. Here's some excitement: During the acceptance speech for best documentary, one of the winners got bleeped for using inappropriate language, before the entire group was cut off by the music. Meanwhile, earlier in the evening, J. Lo may have had a slight wardrobe malfunction. As for the host of the show, Billy Crystal shared some screen time with Justin Bieber in a parody of Midnight in Paris.

While last year's award show was mainly about James Franco and Anne Hathaway, this year's show--if you ask Twitter--was about two things: J.Lo's wardrobe malfunction and Angelina Jolie's right leg.

The Winners

Best Picture: The Artist
Actress in a Leading Role: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Actor in a Leading Role: Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Directing: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Actress in a Supporting Role: Octavia Spencer, The Help
Actor in a Supporting Role: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Foreign Language Film: A Separation
Animated Feature Film: Rango
Original Screenplay: Midnight in Paris
Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants
Documentary Feature: Undefeated
Original Score: The Artist
Original Song: "Man or Muppet" from The Muppets
Short Film (Live action): The Shore
Short Film (Animated): The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Documentary Short: Saving Face
Visual Effects: Hugo
Film Editing: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Sound Editing: Hugo
Sound Mixing: Hugo
Makeup: The Iron Lady
Costume Design: The Artist
Art Direction: Hugo
Cinematography: Hugo

ITS AN HONOR

Adam Sandler Sets Razzies Record

Adam Sandler Sets Razzies Record Charles Sykes / AP Photo

With 11 nominations for worst films.

Adam Sandler doesn’t give a damn about the Oscars tonight—he’s dominating the Razzies. Sandler set a dubious record with 11 nominations as actor, producer, and writer for not one, but three horrible 2011 movies: Jack and Jill, Just Go With It, and Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star. The Razzies are the Academy Awards of bad movies, singling out the year’s, uh, less critically acclaimed works of art. Sandler leads the nominations for worst actor for Jack and Jill and Just Go With It, but he also got the distinction of being nominated for worst actress—he plays a woman in Jack and Jill, too.

Read it at Entertainment Weekly

OUI OUI

'Artist’ Sweeps Anti-Oscars

Charging toward a Best Picture win tonight, the French film cleaned up at the dressed-down Independent Spirit Awards. Have Hollywood and the indie scene finally merged? Richard Rushfield reports.

Held the day before the Academy Awards each year, the Independent Spirit Awards have long postured as the anti-Oscars: an informal gathering honoring obscure little films over giant studio productions. Celebrated in a tent on the Santa Monica beach as opposed to the august Kodak Theatre, the Spirits have been the traditional casually dressed, profanity-at-the-podium tonic to the bloated hype of awards season, held just as the process staggers to its denouement. Nontraditional hosts like John Waters and Samuel L. Jackson have dryly tweaked the assembled members of Hollywood’s fringes while otherwise overlooked subcultural films like After Hours and River’s Edge took home the trophies.

the-artist-sweeps-indie-spirit-awards

Of late, however, the Spirits and the Oscars have grown ever closer together as the films the Academy has nominated have gotten smaller and more niche—and the independent world has become a certified genre of Hollywood filmmaking. Like the Sundance Film Festival, the Spirits crowd has grown ever more entrenched in showbiz, with the presence of agents, corporate functionaries, financiers, and official sponsors overshadowing the clusters of grubby little artists around the tent. This year, as Oscar stands ready to award its most outsider film yet, The Artist, one question reigned: would the film’s triumphal march storm right over the Spirits, finally merging the two awards?

Only once before have the Spirits voters picked the same film as the Academy: Platoon in 1987. Instead it has more served to give a consolation prize to the smaller, critical-favorite also-rans that just fall short on Oscar night, films like Lost in Translation, Sideways, and The Wrestler. For the two awards to converge now, however, as the big studios more and more get out of the prestige adult-drama game, could signal that for all intents and purposes, the Oscar race has become a race of the best small or independent film.

STUNT

Sacha Baron Cohen Back at Oscars

Sacha Baron Cohen Back at Oscars Paramount Pictures

Will wear his dictator costume.

What’s an Oscar broadcast without a little controversy? The Academy will allow British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen to attend this year’s ceremony after all—even if he dresses as a dictator. Cohen plans to be dressed as Admiral General Shabazz Aladeen, the fictional character from his upcoming movie The Dictator. He complained that the “gangsters” at the Academy had “banned” him, but Oscar producer Brian Grazer said Friday they are “thrilled” to have him, even if he is on the red carpet as a dictator. Cohen is one of the stars of Hugo, which is nominated for 11 Oscars.

Read it at New York Daily News

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streep-Dujardin-box

Video: 11 Best Oscar Moments

Meryl Streep upsets, 'The Artist' triumphs, and Billy Crystal...does blackface? Watch video.

'The Artist' Triumphs

‘The Artist’ swept the major Academy Awards Sunday evening. Watch as the silent film wins best picture at the end of the show.

  1. Oscars 2012: Best Supporting Actor and Actress Play

    Oscars 2012: Best Supporting Actor and Actress

  2. The Red Carpet Dictator Play

    The Red Carpet Dictator

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Ridiculous Dresses! George Clooney! Uggie!

The Daily Beast's Oscars Chat

The Daily Beast's Oscars Chat

Richard Rushfield and a team of Daily Beasts hosted an irreverent discussion of the Academy Awards' winners and losers. See the transcript.

The 2012 Oscar Roundtable

George Clooney, Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Viola Davis, Christopher Plummer, Tilda Swinton, and Uggie the Dog are in one room. Welcome to Newsweek’s Oscar Roundtable.