84th Annual Academy Awards Results and Commentary (2012)

  • Date of Ceremony: Sunday, February 26, 2012
  • For films released in: 2011
  • Host(s): Billy Crystal (video)
Other years:

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85th >

Welcome to our coverage of the 84th Annual Academy Awards.

8:31 pm ET

Morgan Freeman comes out to greet everyone and introduce a film segment with host Billy Crystal.

8:36 pm ET

Billy walks out from a box office set on the stage. “Extremely loud and incredibly close…that’s how my relatives are watching.”

“We’re here at the Chapter 11 Theatre,” he says, referring to the fact that due to its bankruptcy, Kodak’s name is no longer on the theatre.

8:42 pm ET

Tom Hanks is tonight’s first presenter. He’s presenting Best Cinematography. And the Oscar goes to Hugo’s Robert Richardson.

I can’t believe somebody put cinematography up first because it can only go up from this point.” – Robert Richardson

Hanks then presents Best Art Direction. And the Oscar goes to Hugo’s
Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo.

This is for Martin and for Italy.” – Francesca Lo Schiavo

8:51 pm ET

“Welcome back to the ‘your name here theatre’,” says Billy as he intros a clip segment of movie moments.

8:54 pm ET

“Please welcome a recurring dream of mine, Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez,” says Billy as he intros the actresses who are presenting Best Costume Design. And the Oscar goes to Mark Bridges for The Artist.

I was just a kid from Niagara Falls who dreamed, ate, and slept movies and so I want to thank the Academy for this honor and for making a lifelong dream come true. Thank you.” – Mark Bridges

Jennifer and Cameron then present Best Makeup. And the Oscar goes to The Iron Lady’s Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland.

Thanks Meryl, for keeping me employed for the last 37 years. Your brilliance makes my work look good no matter what. I’m a child of the Saturday and Sunday double-double features so getting to work in the movies is a dream come true.” – J. Roy Helland

9:00 pm ET

Ben Stiller, Morgan Freeman, Adam Sandler, Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell, Hilary Swank, Tom Cruise, Helen Mirren, Barbra Streisand appear in a filmed segment where they talk about their first experiences watching movies.

09:06 pm ET

Sandra Bullock takes to the stage she says she has a message in Mandarin but actually speaks in German. She’s presenting the Best Foreign Language film. And the Oscar goes to Iran’s A Separation, the first time an Iranian film has won an Academy Award.

I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, the people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment.” – Asgar Farhadi

09:09 pm ET

Christian Bale strolls out to present tonight’s first acting award, Best Actress in a Supporting Role. And the Oscar goes to The Help’s Octavia Spencer. She gets a standing ovation.

09:18 pm ET

Billy talks about test screenings and focus groups and shows some “rare footage” of a focus group for Wizard of Oz. The segment stars many of the cast of Christopher Guest’s improv films.

09:22 pm ET

Tina Fey and Bradley Cooper present the nominees for film editing. And the Oscar goes to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’s Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall. The pair won last year for The Social Network.

Fey and Cooper then present Sound Editing. And the Oscar goes to Hugo’s Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty.

I just want to thank everybody who’s here tonight and everybody who isn’t and everybody who’s ever been born or may be born or be born again or reborn. If I’ve forgotten anybody then you probably know who you are.” – Philip Stockton

The Academy gets a three for one deal out of Fey and Cooper as they also present Sound Mixing. And the Oscar goes to Hugo’s Tom Fleischman and John Midgley.

09:34 pm ET

Kermit and Miss Piggy talk about their first movie experiences. They then introduce a performance by Cirque de Soleil.

09:39 pm ET

“Wow, I pulled a hamstring just watching that,” says Billy. “Puppets, acrobats…we’re a pony away from a Bar Mitzvah.”

09:41 pm ET

Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr. are next. Robert’s being followed by a camera crew as he says he’s filming a documentary. The bit falls flat. They presenting Best Documentary (Feature). And the Oscar goes to Undefeated’s
TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Rich Middlemas.

A year ago today we were sitting in our editing room, depressed thinking nobody was ever going to see this movie and a friend said, ‘don’t worry, next year you’ll be at the Oscars’ and we said, ‘you’re an idiot.’ So we’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to him and say you’re a lot smarter than we thought.” – Dan Lindsay

Time now for Chris Rock to present Animated Feature. And the Oscar goes to Rango and director Gore Verbinksi.

Someone asked me if this film was for kids and, I don’t know, but it was certainly created by a bunch of grownups acting like children and we just had the best time. I want to thank the real-world chameleon, Mr. Johnny Depp, and the entire cast for coming out and playing.” – Gore Verbinski

09:52 pm ET

Ben Stiller and Emma Stone are presenting Best Visual Effects. Their shtick involves Stone being excited about presenting for the first time. And the Oscar goes to Hugo’s Robert Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann and Alex Henning.

Well, I didn’t expect this. I know it’s a huge thrill to be nominated, but it’s awesome to win and it’s really underrated.” – Robert Legato

09:58 pm ET

Crystal introduces last year’s Best Supporting Actress winner, Melissa Leo, who is presenting Best Actor in a Supporting Role. And the Oscar goes to Beginners’ Christopher Plummer. This win puts the 82 year-old in the record books as the oldest actor to win an Oscar.

You’re only two years older than me darling, where have you been all my life? I have a confession to make, when I first emerged from my mother’s womb, I was already rehearsing my Academy thank you speech. But it was so long ago, mercifully for you, I’ve forgotten it.” – Christopher Plummer

10:08 pm ET

“Congratulations to Christopher Plummer,” says Crystal. “…the average age of winners is now 62.”

AMPAS President Tom Sherak now takes to the stage to talk about the Academy’s mission to promote excellence in filmmaking both in front of and behind the camera. “Thank you for whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Mr. Excitement,” says Billy.

A giant piece of sheet music rises from the stage. “Meh. This is why there’s a buffet,” says Billy, unimpressed. Owen Wilson and Penelope Cruz then present Best Music (Original Score). And the Oscar goes to The Artist’s Ludovic Bource.

I’d like to thank the Academy; with this Oscar you have given a man a special honor. And to all of you, please accept me because I’ve got so much love to give.” – Ludovic Bource

10:16 pm ET

Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis emerge from the orchestra pit crashing cymbals to present Best Song. And the Oscar goes to The Muppets’ “Man or Muppet” by
Bret McKenzie.

I grew up in New Zealand watching “The Muppets” on TV. I never dreamed I’d get to work with them. And I was genuinely starstruck when I finally met Kermit the Frog. But once you get to know him, he’s just a normal frog. And like many stars here tonight, he’s a lot shorter in real life.” – Bret McKenzie

10:24 pm ET

“Front row…why don’t we chip in and buy the Dodgers,” asks Billy. He then introduces a leg-baring Angelina Jolie. She’s presenting Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay). And the Oscar goes to The Descendants’ Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash.

Jolie then presented Best Writing (Original Screenplay). And the Oscar goes to Midnight in Paris’ Woody Allen. As per usual, Woody is not there.

10:31 pm ET

A filmed segment has stars talking about what makes a great film.

10:37 pm ET

Milla Jovovich, who hosted the Science and Technical Awards earlier this month, talks about some of the winners.

10:38 pm ET

“This has been a great year for strong women, like the Iron Lady and J. Edgar,” says Billy as he introduces the cast of The Bridesmaids. They talk about the qualities of length before presenting Best Short Film (Live Action). And the Oscar goes to The Shore and father-daughter team Terry George and Oorlagh George.

Our little film was inspired by the people of Northern Ireland, Protestant and Catholic, who after 30 years of war, sat down, negotiated a peace, and proved to the world that the Irish are great talkers.” – Terry George

Rose Byrne and Melissa McCarthy then present Best Documentary (Short Subject), not before partaking in the Scorsese drinking game introduced at the SAG Awards. And the Oscar goes to Saving Face and Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.

Daniel and I want to dedicate this award to all the heroes working on the ground in Pakistan including Dr. Mohammad Jawad who’s here with us today, the plastic surgeon working on rehabilitating all these women, Rukhsana and Zakia who are our main subjects of the film whose resilience and bravery in the face of such adversity is admirable, and to all the women in Pakistan who are working for change, don’t give up on your dreams.” – Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Ellie Kemper and Wendi McLendon-Covey present Best Short Film (Animated). And the Oscar goes to The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore and William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg.

Like look, we’re just these two, like swamp rats from Louisiana and this is incredibly grand. We love the movies. We love the movies more than anything. It’s been a part of our lives since we were both kids.” – William Joyce

10:50 pm ET

Our next presenter was occupying Wall Street before it was cool,” says Billy to introduce Michael Douglas. He’s presenting Directing. And the Oscar goes to The Artist’s Michel Hazanavicius.

I have an Oscar. I forgot my speech. Okay, I am the happiest director in the world right now. Thank you for that.” – Michel Hazanavicius

10:56 pm ET

As we draw closer to the end, Meryl Streep is here to talk about the Governors Awards, which honored James Earl Jones and Dick Smith with Honorary Awards and Oprah Winfrey with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. The trio are in the audience and get a standing ovation.

11:03 pm ET

Billy pays tribute to two late Oscar producers, Gil Cates and Laura Zikin as he introduces the In Memoriam segment. Esperanza Spalding sings “What a Wonderful World” with the Southern California Children’s Choir.

11:11 pm ET

Another taped segment has actors talking about the movies and pushing the clock closer to 11:30.

11:14 pm ET

Natalie Portman presents Best Actor. She talks about each actor’s performance as she introduces the nominees. And the Oscar goes to The Artist’s Jean Dujardin.

Thank you. Oui! I love your country. Thank you to the Academy. It’s funny because in 1929 it wasn’t Billy Crystal, but Douglas Fairbanks who hosted the first Oscar ceremony. Tickets cost five dollars and it lasted 15 minutes. Times have changed.” – Jean Dujardin

11:24 pm ET

Colin Firth takes to the stage to present Best Actress in a Leading Role. And the Oscar goes to The Iron Lady’s Meryl Streep. She gives a kiss to fellow nominee Viola Davis as she heads to the stage.

I really want to thank all my colleagues, all my friends, I look out here and I see my life before my eyes, my old friends, my new friends and really this is such a great honor but the thing that counts the most with me is the friendships and the love and the sheer joy we have shared making movies together. My friends, thank you, all of you, departed and here for this inexplicably wonderful career.” – Meryl Streep

11:32 pm ET

Tom Cruise is here to present the night’s final award, Best Picture. And the Oscar goes to The Artist. Producer Thomas Langmann accepts and in his peech pays tribute to his late father.

I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. To you members of the Academy, to you Harvey, not only because we received tonight the award that any filmmaker would ever dream to receive, but because you’re offering me tonight the opportunity to pay tribute to a member of this Academy that I miss so much, the Oscar winner Claude Berri.” – Thomas Langmann

11:39 pm ET

Billy wishes us a good night. Thanks for joining us.

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