The black-and-white film “The Artist” was the big winner at Sunday’s 84th Annual Academy Awards — the Oscars — capturing best picture and major awards for its director and lead actor.
Frenchman Jean Dujardin won the Oscar for best actor for his role in the film about a struggling silent-era movie star, while Michel Hazanavicius was honored as best director.
Meryl Streep won her third Oscar, taking the award for best actress for her portrayal of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.”
Christopher Plummer made history by becoming the oldest actor to win an Oscar. The 82-year-old won the best supporting actor award for his role in “Beginners” as an elderly widower who embraces his homosexuality.
Octavia Spencer received a standing ovation when she won the award for best supporting actress for her role in “The Help.” She was one of two actresses nominated in the category from the film, which tells the story of African American maids in the racially segregated southern United States of the 1960s.
Another big winner was “Hugo,” a visually rich 3D tribute to a French film pioneer. It won five awards, including cinematography, art direction and sound editing. “Hugo,” which features British actor Sacha Baron Cohen, was one of nine movies nominated for best picture. Baron Cohen showed up at the Oscar ceremony dressed as his character Admiral General Aladeen, a Middle Eastern dictator. The politically incorrect satirist was promoting his his new movie “The Dictator.” He was denied entry. The new movie is described as “the heroic story of a dictator who risks his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.”
In the best foreign language film category, the prize went as expected to Iran’s “A Separation.” Directed by Asghar Farhadi, it tells the story of the difficult lives of a couple seeking a divorce. It already has won numerous awards this year.
The award ceremony by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Hollywood honors last year’s best films, actors, directors and producers, and is viewed by hundreds of millions around the world.