Oscars 2012: ‘The Artist’ reigns, Christopher Plummer gets historic win

February 27, 2012

Christopher Plummer won the Academy Award for best supporting actor Sunday for his portrayal of an elderly man who comes out as gay in the film “Beginners.” Celebritology blogger Sarah Anne Hughes has the highlights from Plummer’s acceptance speech.

“You’re only two year older than me darling,” Plummer said to his Oscar statue. “Where have you been all my life?”

Plummer thanked the Academy and his fellow nominees, as well as his daughter and his “long-suffering wife.” He also thanked his co-star Ewan McGregor, with whom he would share the Oscar with “if [he] had any decency.”

“But I don’t,” he joked.

In the press room after accepting the award, Plummer engaged in some discussion about whether or not he was the oldest actor to win an Oscar. From The Post’s Jen Chaney, who was in attendance backstage:

The first question came from a reporter who somewhat indelicately asked how Mr. Plummer felt about being the oldest Oscar winner in history.

“I don’t believe that for a second,” said the supporting actor winner for “Beginners.” “I think Charlie Chaplin — wasn’t he 83? It was an honorary Oscar, but an honorary Oscar is an Oscar.”

Actually, let’s fact check that.

Chaplin won an Academy Award in 1973 at the age of 83, but according to one of the handy Academy librarians in the press room, it was a prize for best original score for “Limelight,” not an honorary award. That film was originally released in 1952, but was re-released, with an Oscar-qualifying run, in 1972.

So yes, he was older than Plummer. But the librarian confirmed that, at 82, Plummer is the most senior actor to win an Oscar.

Later that evening, Chaney saw Plummer at the Academy-hosted Governors Ball, where his name was added to his Oscar statue.

And then there’s the Oscar bar, a wood-stained counter where anyone who has just won a coveted statuette can belly up and get his or her name affixed to the base of that trophy.

Christopher Plummer — Oscar winner for “Beginners” and self-described “naughty boy” — pulled up a seat and watched Academy technicians place the proper name plate on to his Academy Award using very thin, small screwdrivers.

‘The Artist’ took home the top honor for best film, as well as prizes for best actor in a leading role and best director. As Monica Hesse and Amy Argetsinger explained:

The Artist” swept the competition, winning five awards, including best picture, best directing for Michel Hazanavicius, and best actor for Jean Dujardin. It may be the quirkiest feature in years to find favor with the showbiz establishment here — black-and-white, French, and did we mention it’s a silentmovie? But the charming tribute to Hollywood’s early days had scooped up so many other awards this year it was considered a lock for the Oscar.

“The Artist” and its story of a silent-screen star struggling to stay relevant in those new-fangled “talkies” — well, let’s just say it struck a chord with an industry struggling again with game-changers, from Internet downloading to the global marketplace. For them, “The Artist” provided an inspiring message (we will survive!), a knowing wink (old-school movie-making ruled!), and plethora of familiar American faces (John Goodman, James Cromwell) in roles alongside the little-known French leads. Bonus: At a mere hour and 40 minutes, it’s the shortest best picture winner in decades.

More Oscar coverage:

‘The Artist’ wins best picture; Streep takes home third career Oscar

TV review: Oscar’s wishful thinking

Academy Award winners 2012: Full list led by “The Artist.”

At the Governors Ball, Meryl Streep, Billy Crystal, Melissa McCarthy and more

Oscars 2012: The comprehensive Academy Awards recap

Oscars red carpet Q&A

Jean Dujardin wins Oscar

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