Canadian Christopher Plummer wins first Academy Award
Canada’s own Christopher Plummer lived out the moment he had been waiting for since, in his own words, “I emerged from my mother’s womb.”
It’s fair to say every actor dreams of winning an Oscar, so for Plummer – having yet to receive one at 82-years-old – he probably thought he wouldn’t see the day. That all changed when he won his first Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Beginners, and was subsequently nominated for the Oscar in the same category.
The win made him the oldest actor in history ever to win a non-honourary Oscar.
Upon the announcement of his win, the audience stood up for what was the longest standing ovation of the night, displaying the massive respect he has earned from the industry in a career spanning six decades.
He joked about how elusive the award had been for him, beginning his speech with what will surely be the most quoted moment of the ceremony: “You’re only two years older than me, darling,” he said to his Oscar statue. “Where have you been all my life?”
There have been times in Oscar history when it seemed older actors were rewarded with the win just out of respect for the span of their career, but for Plummer, this was definitely not the case. His performance as a gay man coming out of the closet to his son, after the death of his wife of 44 years, was the clear standout performance in the Best Supporting Actor category.
Watch the trailer for his winning performance in Beginners below:
Talking about his role in the film to the Star, he said, “I think authors have realized they can’t lie and they have to reveal the truth: that one doesn’t stop having a sex life just because one gets old. I thank God I still have that energy. It would be terrible to be a living corpse. I believe you’ve got to try everything.”
His speech was filled with humour and aplomb, thanking everyone from his fellow nominees, to his Toronto agent Perry Zimel, his co-star Ewan McGreggor, “whom I would happily share this award with if I had any decency, but I don’t,” and of course, his wife Elaine, who he said “deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for coming to my rescue every day of my life.”
Plummer returns to Canada this summer for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival beginning July 25th, in a play he conceptualized – A Word Or Two – which the website says is“an autobiographical journey through the literature that has stirred his imagination since youth. From the sacred to the profane, from Stephen Leacock and A.A. Milne to Ben Jonson and the Bible, these selections of poetry and prose reflect a life-long love affair with the written word.”
Plummer wasn’t the only Zoomer in the spotlight at this year’s ceremony. Meryl Streep won her third Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in The Iron Lady, Woody Allen won Best Original Screenplay for Midnight In Paris, and Billy Crystal hosted for the 9th time. Oprah Winfrey, James Earl Jones, and Dick Smith also received honourary Oscars for their work.
The biggest winners of the night were Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, which took home five awards, almost sweeping the technical categories, and The Artist, which won Best Original Score and Best Costume Design as well as the coveted Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor awards.
Here is the full list of winners:
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christopher Plummer “Beginners”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Octavia Spencer “The Help”
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“A Separation” Iran
“The Descendants” by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
“Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen
“The Artist” Ludovic Bource
“Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets,” music and lyrics by Bret McKenzie
“Hugo,” production design: Dante Ferretti; set decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
“Hugo,” Robert Richardson
“The Artist,” Mark Bridges
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
“The Iron Lady,” Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland
“Hugo,” Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning
“Hugo” Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
“Hugo” Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
DOCUMENTARY SHORT FEATURE
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Sources: Oscars, Star, Stratford Festival