Welcome to Screening Room's all-in-one live blog of the 84th Academy Awards, where you can get up-to-the-second updates on everything going down at the Oscars -- including the winners in all the categories, instant analysis on the major awards and a tally of the biggest winners. Screening Room has been off all week and I know you've missed me, but that doesn't mean you've been left wanting for Oscars coverage. I made my predictions known on Friday, and it's going to be big things for The Artist if my instincts are correct. I've covered my conflicted feelings about the film's front-runner status, detailed my pet picks in a few categories and, of course, shared my favorite dozen films of 2011.
In short, you've got plenty of background on Hollywood's big night (get all the nominees over at the official website). All that's left to do now is join me below at 8 PM ET for comprehensive coverage of the Academy Awards as the winners are revealed and host Billy Crystal tells safe and stale jokes sure not to offend his pals in the front few rows.
Major Award Winners and Analysis
Best Picture: The Artist Instant Analysis: And with that, The Artist becomes the most decorated film of 2011, winning five Academy Awards, the same total as Hugo. While Hugo won a number of technical awards, this was clearly The Artist's night. In the major categories in which it was nominated, it only fell short in the Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay category. I'll get into this more on Monday morning, but this is really a triumph of the narrative of the making of this film rather than the film itself. That's a shame because it's a nice film, and it doesn't seem like it was judged on those merits. Movie fans don't care how the proverbial sausage was made, but more and more the Academy seems to pay that the most mind.
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, The Artist Instant Analysis: Dujardin is extremely likeable as is The Artist, but it's truly difficult to see how he was better than George Clooney, who portrayed a much deeper and wider range of emotions in The Descendants.
Best Actress: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady Instant Analysis: Just a lazy, lazy choice. Not a great category this year, though.
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners Instant Analysis: He's the oldest actor ever to win an Oscar at 82 and so this feels like a lifetime achievement award no matter how good he was in Beginners. It's a deserved honor all the same. Well done, Colonel von Trapp.
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help Instant Analysis: This was a wide open category with a number of roughly equal nominees, so Spencer's victory is well deserved. She was fairly easily the most memorable character in The Help, so if anyone is going to win from that movie, I'm glad it's her.
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist Instant Analysis: Here's the first hint that The Artist is going to end up having a very big night. Hazanavicius, an unknown, topples some real heavyweights in Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Alexander Payne and Terrence Malick -- all four of whom boast richer and more famed pedigrees.
Best Original Song: "Man or Muppet" -- Bret McKenzie, The Muppets Instant Analysis: Had Rio won, it would have been a bigger travesty than Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close winning Best Picture. The night's not a total failure ...
Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, The Descendants Instant Analysis: There were many, many great choices in this category, but The Descendants is a cut above the rest. It's interesting, too, because it's the first big loss for Hugo of the night, which up to this point had close to a clean sweep.
Best Original Screenplay: Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris Instant Analysis: They might as well name the category after Allen who is prolific and terrific. He's not for everyone, but Midnight in Paris was truly brilliant -- light and whimsical and joyous. The strength of the film was certainly its script.
Hugo: 5 The Artist: 5 The Iron Lady: 2 12 others: 1
Best Animated Feature: Rango Best Cinematography: Robert Richardson, Hugo Best Art Direction: Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo, Hugo Best Costume Design: Mark Bridges, The Artist Best Documentary Feature: Undefeated Best Documentary Short: Saving Face Best Editing: Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation Best Makeup: Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland, The Iron Lady Best Original Score: Ludovic Bource, The Artist Best Animated Short Film: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore Best Live Action Short Film: The Shore Best Sound Editing: Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty, Hugo Best Sound Mixing: Tom Fleischman and John Midgley, Hugo Best Visual Effects: Rob Legato, Josh Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning, Hugo