Hollywood’s finest stepped away from the bright lights of the sound stages for the most important event of the year for silver screen enthusiasts — the Oscars.

The Oscars was the final film achievement award show of this year’s awards season. Like other awards shows, the night began with an hour-long look at the stars on the red carpet, asking the famous question, “Who are you wearing?”

“Bridesmades” star Kristen Wiig commented on what she hoped to see in Billy Crystal’s opening as host for the prestigious night: “I’m hoping he does something jazzy.” Crystal didn’t disappoint Wiig as he started the night with a small musical number and a comedic film introduction. A variety of jokes were peppered in throughout the night.

Aside from the jokes and commentaries, all of the stars in attendance could agree that the Oscars is a one-of-a-kind night that represents all of the creativity and hard work that makes an exceptionally great film.

All awards season long, “The Artist” created a huge buzz over its surprising wins for Best Picture at a variety of film festivals, including the Golden Globes, Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards and the BAFTA Awards.

When it came to the Oscars, “The Artist” gave every film a run for its money. Literally. “The Artist” won Best Picture, beating out Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo,” which had more nominations than “The Artist.”

In reality, it is no surprise that “The Artist” had such a momentous impact on the awards scene, with its silent film approach, depth of storyline and depth of acting techniques. “The Artist” is the first silent and foreign film that has won the Oscar for Best Picture in more than 80 years.

“The Artist” depicts film’s golden age of silence and black and white pictures, and managed to win in the modern day dominated by special effects. The elaborate production focusing on the art of acting, cinematography and all other vital film techniques allowed film enthusiasts to take a step back in time to powerful films that go beyond sound and effects.

In addition to Best Picture, “The Artist” took home awards for Best Costume Design, thanks to Mark Bridges; Best Original Score, by Ludovic Bource; Best Director, Michael Hazanavicius; and Best Actor, Jean Dujardin.

Dujardin’s win was astonishing for many, as the French actor beat out big names like Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Gary Oldman and Demian Bichir.

Dujardin brought life to the Oscar stage, passionately thanking everyone for his win and shouting in French with a joyous smile on his face.

It may have been “The Artist” who stole the night away, but Scorsese’s “Hugo” put up a tough fight for the wins in some of the smaller categories of the night, including Best Cinematography, with a nod to Robert Richardson; Best Art Direction, by Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo; Best Sound Editing and Sound Mixing, under the direction of Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty, Tom Fleischman and John Midgley; and Best Visual Effects, done collaboratively by Rob Legato, Josh Williams, Ben Grossmann and Alex Henning.

The audience lept to its feet with applause as Colin Firth announced Meryl Streep as the winner of Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance as Britain’s Margret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.”

Streep came to the stage, humble about her win. “I want to thank my colleagues, since I understand that I will never be up here again,” Streep said with tears in her eyes. “This is an honor, but what counts the most to me are the friendships and the love and the sheer joy we have shared making movies together.”

It is almost understood within the large community of actors and actresses that Streep is more than deserving of the awards she is nominated for. Her strength as an actress has been applauded by so many that no one would second-guess her win for Best Actress.

Streep also thanked her makeup artist, J. Roy Helland, for being there throughout her career. Helland, along with Mark Coulier, won the Oscar for Best Makeup for their work in “The Iron Lady.”

This is Streep’s third Oscar win out of her total 17 nominations.

Another crowd-pleaser of the night, complete with a standing ovation, was for Best Supporting Actress winner Octavia Spencer for her role as Minnie in “The Help.”

Spencer came to the stage in tears, unbelieving of her win and rushing through with breathy thank yous for her first Oscar win as an actress.

Christopher Plummer won Best Actor in a Supporting Role for the film “Beginners.”

Plummer is no stranger to great acting, as the 82-year-old actor portayed Captain Von Trapp in the classic film “The Sound of Music” early in his career. Plummer is now the oldest actor to receive an Oscar award.

Past Oscar winner Woody Allen won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for “Midnight in Paris.”

Allen is infamous for not showing up to award shows, but he is consistently recognized by the Academy for his exceptional screenplays and for his films overall.

“The Descendants” made up for its losses for Best Picture and Best Actor with its win for Best Adapted Screenplay, recognizing Alexander Payne for his written work rather than his directorial work.

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” may have lost its biggest award nomination of Rooney Mara for Best Actress in a Leading Role, but came through with the win of Best Film Editing, thanks to Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall.

“Iran, A Separation,” gained the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, an outstanding achievement.

The underdog football documentary, “Undefeated,” won for Best Documentary Feature, beating out culturally-serious contenders

“Saving Face,” the controversial documentary on love outside cultural norms, won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short.

Family-favorite “Rango” snatched up the Oscar for Best Animated Film, while “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” won for Best Animated Short Film.

A tale of friendship overcoming cultural issues, “The Shore” won the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film.

A first in Oscar history, there were only two nominated songs for Best Original Song: “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets” and “Real in Rio” from “Rio.”

“Man or Muppet” won the Oscar, recognizing Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Concords for the music and lyrics of the song.

Like many past Oscar years, this year’s awards had consistently outstanding nominees, with films like “The Help,” “My Week With Marilyn,” “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “Midnight in Paris,” “Moneyball,” “The Tree of Life,” “The Descendants” and “War Horse.”

More coverage on the Oscar nominations and wins can be found at www.oscar.go.com, along with photos and videos from the night.

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