LOS ANGELES — Silent romance “The Artist” won five Oscars on Sunday including best film, and Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” also took five of the world’s top movie honors on a night where stories about movies felt the love of Hollywood.
“The Artist,” a black-and-white tale of a fading star who finds redemption through romance in the era when silent movies were overtaken by talkies, added to its best film victory with Oscars for its French star Jean Dujardin and director Michel Hazanavicius, as well for musical score and costume design.
“I am the happiest director in the world right now. Thank you for that,” Hazanavicius told the audience of stars including George Clooney, Michelle Williams, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Dujardin was equally excited, exclaiming “I love this country” before thanking the Academy, fellow filmmakers and his wife and recalling silent actor Douglas Fairbanks as an inspiration.
Meryl Streep won for her role as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who is slipping into dementia in “The Iron Lady.” It was Streep’s third Academy Award out of 17 nominations. She joked that the audience was probably tired of seeing her, then added, “whatever.” But Streep couldn’t hide her emotion as she choked up while thanking her husband and talking about her long career.
Director Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo,” which tells of a boy lost in a train station and serves as an ode to early filmmaking, came into the night with a leading 11 nominations and picked up five wins for cinematography, art direction, sound editing and mixing and visual effects.
Veteran Plummer, a star of classic film “The Sound of Music,” won his first ever Oscar for his portrayal of an elderly gay man who comes out to his family in “Beginners,” making Oscar history becoming the oldest ever Academy Award winner at age 82.
“You’re only two years older than me, darling. Where have you been all of my life,” he said, looking at his golden Oscar, which was celebrating its 84th awards ceremony.
Spencer, a relative newcomer in contrast to Plummer, had to hold back tears as she accepted her trophy for her portrayal of a black, southern maid in civil rights drama “The Help.”
“Thank you Academy for putting me with the hottest guy in the room,” she said holding her Oscar in her hand. She then went on to talk about her family in Alabama and could not hold back her tears as she joyously accepted her trophy.
In other major wins, the foreign language film award went to Iranian divorce drama “A Separation.”
“I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, the people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment,” said its director Ashgar Farhadi.