Nostalgia ruled at the Oscars, with the classic film homages The Artist and Hugo dominating with five awards each, Meryl Streep winning her first best-actress prize in nearly three decades and longtime favorite Billy Crystal returning as host.
It was a rather safe, predictable affair all around, with the winners who've heard their names throughout awards season being called up on stage one last time Sunday night. The Artist, a black-and-white love letter to silent film, won best picture, best director for France's Michel Hazanavicius and best actor for Jean Dujardin as an actor who finds his career in danger with the arrival of the talkies. It also earned prizes for costume design and original score.
Hugo, Martin Scorsese's 3-D mixture of family adventure and plea for film preservation, collected its prizes in the technical categories: cinematography, art direction, sound mixing, sound editing and visual effects.
Streep found herself in the unusual position of playing the sentimental, underdog favorite. Many had chosen Viola Davis as the likely favorite to win best actress for her formidable portrayal of a maid in the 1960s South in The Help. But Streep, who's been nominated more than any other actor in Oscar history 17 times hadn't won since 1982's Sophie's Choice.
Crystal, overseeing hosting duties for the ninth time, was a familiar, reliable replacement after Eddie Murphy stepped down in solidarity with Brett Ratner, who was supposed to produce the show but resigned after making a gay slur.The winners