Two movies dominated the 84th Academy Awards ceremony held Sunday night in Hollywood. Hugo and The Artist won five Oscars apiece.
Hugo, the 3-D movie based on the book of the same name by popular children’s book author and illustrator Brian Selznick, won many technical awards, including cinematography, art direction, sound mixing, sound editing and visual effects.
The Artist, a black-and-white silent film, won awards for costume design and original score, as well as three of the event’s major awards—best picture, best director and best actor, for Jean Dujardin.
Hugo had the most chances to win an award. It was nominated for an award in 11 categories. The Artist became the first silent film to win the best picture since the first Oscar ceremony in 1929, when Wings won the prize.
The Muppets was also an award winner. The fan favorite won the best-song award for "Man or Muppet." Jason Segel and his Muppet brother in the film sang the funny duet. This film was the first time in 12 years that the Muppets were back on the big screen.
"I grew up in New Zealand watching the Muppets on TV. I never dreamed I'd get to work with them," said songwriter Bret McKenzie.
Another animated film that found Oscar success was Rango, a film about a desert lizard that ends up as a hero for a Western town short on water. Film director Gore Verbinski thought the film was a lot of fun. "Someone asked me if this film was for kids, and I don't know. But it was certainly created by a bunch of grown-ups acting like children.”
Jean Dujardin became the first Frenchman to win a Best Actor Oscar, and he was thrilled to be awarded the prize. "I love your country!" he said. Looking at the audience, which was filled with Hollywood’s top talent, Dujardin added, “So many of you here tonight have inspired me.”
The woman who won best actress is no stranger to the big screen. Meryl Streep claimed her third academy award for her performance as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.
Streep has been nominated for more awards than any other actor in Oscar history—17 times. But she was grateful to win again for the first time in 33 years. "Really, this is such a great honor, but the thing that counts the most with me is the friendship and the love and the sheer joy we've shared making movies together," said Streep.
Octavia Spencer won the best supporting actress award for her performance in the movie The Help. Spencer was emotional during her acceptance speech. "This is one of those evenings in my life that I'll never forget," she said.
Best supporting actor went to Christopher Plummer, who won for his role in Beginners. The 82-year-old actor is best known for his role as Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. He is the oldest acting winner ever. When he was on stage to accept the award he looked at his Oscar statue and said, "You're only two years older than me, darling. Where have you been all my life?" It was a funny and fitting note in a heartfelt acceptance speech.