Plummer and Streep Shine at Oscars
As far as most Canadians are concerned, Christopher Plummer needn’t win a gold statuette to validate what we’ve known for almost six decades: that from Stratford to Broadway, and from stage to screen, he is one of the most gifted actors of our time. That’s why, whether you’ve enjoyed Plummer’s work throughout the years, or if you’re of the ilk who gauge a person’s legacy with the same stick used to measure their trophy case, you can’t help but be moved by his win in the best supporting actor category for his role in Beginners at last night’s Academy Awards ceremony. At 82, and proudly sporting his Order of Canada pin on his lapel, the Zoomer magazine cover man became the oldest actor to ever win an Oscar.
“You’re only two years older than me darling,” Plummer remarked to his statuette when accepting it. “Where have you been all my life?”
Notes of congratulations for Plummer continue to roll in. Among fans who took to social media to applaud Plummer’s win was another Canadian icon (and, coincidently, a fellow Zoomer cover man) William Shatner, who posted on Twitter: “Congratulations to my dear friend Christopher Plummer for his win tonight!”
Even elected officials of varying political stripes found something they can agree upon. Prime Minister Stephen Harper released a statement praising all Canadian nominees at this year’s ceremony, and specifically, “On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to congratulate Christopher Plummer.”
Meanwhile, Jason Kenney, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, expressed his opinions about the Oscar win being long overdue: “Bravo to Canada’s Christopher Plummer! Too long in coming to win this recognition for an amazing artist.”
On the other side of the political fence, interim Liberal leader Bob Rae tweeted: “Congratulations to Christopher Plummer ! Wonderful tribute to a great Canadian actor, who was typically gracious and eloquent.”
The Plummer win stood as a highlight on an Academy Awards broadcast that included some high-profile wins, the return of one of Oscar’s most famed hosts, and a Martin Scorsese drinking game.
Overall, the 84th installment of the ceremony lacked the buzz and excitement that past broadcasts provided. After last year’s uninspired offering, producers decided to put the show in the tried and true hands of Billy Crystal (well, technically they put it in Eddie Murphy’s hands, but he backed out when a producer friend of his was fired, so eventually they put it in Crystal’s hands).
However, even Crystal, hosting the Oscars for a 9th time and cementing his status as the Bob Hope for a new generation, couldn’t save a broadcast cluttered with groan-inducing comedy and self-serving video montages.
Much of Crystal’s comedy elicited little more than polite chuckles. To be fair, he did offer up the odd memorable line here and there, such as his quip at the top of the show, announcing that, “We’re here at the beautiful Chapter 11 Theatre” (Kodak, the venue’s namesake, filed for bankruptcy in January), but the script the writers put together for him largely fell flat.
Other Zoomer’s, however, did shine on stage. Aside from Plummer, the most notable was, of course, Meryl Streep, who set a record this year with 17 Oscar nominations – the most by any actor in history. She won her third statuette in the best actress category for her uncanny turn as former British PM Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.
Woody Allen, who wasn’t at the ceremony, won his third Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay (and fourth overall) for Midnight in Paris, ending an Oscar drought for the 76-year-old that’s lasted more than 20 years.
As well, Alexander Payne, 51, took home an Oscar for a screenplay offering – his adapted script for the hit film The Descendants, which he also directed.
Speaking of directors, one of the evening’s more lighthearted moments came in the form of a drinking game that paid tribute to the legendary Martin Scorsese. With members of the cast of Bridesmaids on stage to present an award, someone in the audience yelled out the Hugo director’s name, prompting the ladies to stop mid-sentence, pull out mini bottles of liquor, and take a swig. At first Scorsese seemed unsure of what just happened, but he got a chuckle out of it nonetheless.
In non-official award news, comedian Chris Rock (yes, he’s a Zoomer too) deserves an honorary statuette for best presenter of the evening for making light of how easy he believes is to perform in an animated film before announcing the award for best animated feature.
At the top of the show, Crystal observed, “Nothing can take the sting out of the world’s economic problems like watching millionaires presenting each other with golden statues.” In part, the sentiment became a self-fulfilling prophecy. The broadcast itself ran three hours, and aside from a few real laughs and a handful of touching moments, it proved an otherwise unremarkable ceremony.
Still, the Plummer and Streep wins offered opportunities to pay tribute to two of the finest actors of this, or any, generation. Factor in the previously mentioned highlights, and an incredible performance by Canadian performance troupe Cirque du Soleil, and all-in-all it wasn’t a bad evening for Canadians, and Zoomer, fans everywhere.
– Mike Crisolago