Latin artists left the 84th Annual Academy Awards unrewarded, even as “The Artist,” a French silent film in black and white, took home five Oscars including the one for the year’s Best Picture.
As expected, Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” was the biggest rival to “The Artist,” winning five gold statuettes, though all were for technical achievements.
Neither the Mexicans Demian Bichir and Emmanuel Lubezki, nor Argentina’s Berenice Bejo, nor the Brazilians Carlinhos Brown and Sergio Mendes, nor Spain’s Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal and Alberto Iglesias, had any luck at a ceremony that produced few surprises.
Lubezki wasn’t kept in suspense for long, being the first to know that an Oscar wasn’t in the cards for him, though he had been a top pick to win the Best Cinematography award for his work in “The Tree of Life.”
This was the fifth time Lubezki was nominated for an Oscar, but could only look on as Robert Richardson took the cinematography prize for “Hugo.”
More predictable was the Best Actor category, in which Jean Dujardin took the golden trophy for “The Artist,” while Bichir, nominated for his role in “A Better Life,” watched his chances vanish from his seat in the Hollywood & Highland Center, formerly called the Kodak Theatre.
Something of a foregone conclusion was Bejo’s unsuccessful grab for the Best Supporting Actress prize despite the box-office success of her film “The Artist.”
The Argentine who grew up in France lost to a teary Octavia Spencer, whose part in “The Help” captured the vote of most members of Hollywood’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Brazilian musicians Carlinhos Brown and Sergio Mendes competed in the Best Original Song category with their tune “Real in Rio,” from the animated film “Rio,” against just one rival, “Man or Muppet,” from the feature puppet film “The Muppets.”
Despite the enthusiasm shown by Brown and Mendes when they arrived at the theater and danced on the red carpet, the prize went to the song created for Jim Henson’s wacky characters.
Spaniards had no better luck, not even Fernando Trueba, who had already won an Oscar in 1994 with “Belle Epoque” for Best Foreign Language Film.
Trueba directed, together with designer Javier Mariscal, the animated film “Chico y Rita,” a love story about two musicians in pre-Castro Cuba.
“Rango,” the strong favorite, took the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film.
The other Spaniard in the fray, Alberto Iglesias, went home empty-handed for the third time in his bid to win the Best Original Score award, bestowed this year on Ludovic Bource for “The Artist.”
Iglesias, composer of soundtracks for almost all Pedro Almodovar’s films, had been nominated for his music in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.”
“The Artist,” nominated for 10 Oscars, collected Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Original Score, with the prize for Best Director going to Michel Hazanavicius - husband of Berenice Bejo - and for Best Costume Design to Mark Bridges.
“Hugo,” with one nomination more than “The Artist,” in the end had to settle for technical awards, and together with the golden statuette for Best Cinematography was also honored for Best Art Direction, Sound Editing and Visual Effects.
Veteran film star Meryl Streep came out on top in a category that had been considered a toss-up - Best Actress - against Viola Davis’ performance in “The Help.”
Streep won her third Oscar for playing Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady,” a role that won her a 17th Oscar nomination, an absolute record for most lifetime Academy Awards nominations.
“The Iron Lady” also took Best Makeup to make it the only movie besides “The Artist” and “Hugo” to win more than one award.
Christopher Plummer set a record by winning Best Actor in a Supporting Role for “Beginners,” at 82 becoming the oldest person ever to win an Oscar.
Woody Allen won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for “Midnight in Paris,” the fourth of his career and the third in this category, while Alexander Payne took his second statuette for Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Descendants.”
The Iranian movie “A Separation” was honored as the Best Foreign Language Film.