<p>Backstage at last night's Academy Awards.</p>

Backstage at last night's Academy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Carlson

Round-up: The post-Oscar shuffle

Gathering reactions to last night's Academy Awards

"The Artist" may have been the big winner last night, but for better or worse, Viola Davis's surprise Best Actress loss to Meryl Streep is set to remain the principal talking point of this year's Academy Awards -- and it's one that is already provoking a range of critical and political reactions. Jesse Washington studies conflicted reactions in the black community to Davis's defeat, and finds many dismayed for the actress while still unable to get completely behind the character she plays in "The Help." One response everyone should be able to agree with, however, comes from diversity consultant Monika Brooks: "The problem is not that Davis played a maid. The problem is there's not more black people in really good roles." [Associated Press]

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Oscar Talk: Ep. 84 -- Special Edition! -- 2011 Oscars postmortem, Meryl Streep's upset, Billy Crystal, 'The Artist''s big night

Oscar Talk: Ep. 84 -- Special Edition! -- 2011 Oscars postmortem, Meryl Streep's upset, Billy Crystal, 'The Artist''s big night

Also: What will we be talking about this time next year?

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

As of last night, the season is over. There are no more predictions to make, no more logic to peddle, no more considerations of how voters are responding to this or that. We know how they responded. Now it's time to pick over the rotting carcass of the season. So, with Guy Lodge in tow once more this season, let's see what's on the docket for today...

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<p>Jean&nbsp;Dujardin after last night's Oscar ceremony</p>

Jean Dujardin after last night's Oscar ceremony

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

My first time

An overview from a recently devirginized Oscar blogger

My first foray into the realm of the Oscar blogger has yielded varied results. I have a sharper set of skills with which to run the metaphorical pool table, but a deeper sense of bemusement in regards to the AMPAS and the awards circuit.

The Oscars are a horse race. Or rather, the Oscars are a series of races on one grandiose and glitzy track. It represents millions of dollars in PR and marketing expenditures alone, a potential revenue increase for the nominated films, and is easily one the of the entertainment industry’s most significant events.

And yet, it remains its own unique niche. In general terms, there are public relations specialists who handle awards, there are marketing strategists who design and unveil awards campaigns. And then, there are Oscar bloggers, those whose business it is to track, judge, evaluate and predict the outcome of the awards season. But there are still people that have, and do, work in various capacities in this industry who do not have a full handle on how or why the season unfolds as it does.

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<p>Best Actress nominee Viola Davis arrives at the 84th Academy Awards.</p>

Best Actress nominee Viola Davis arrives at the 84th Academy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Safety first: putting a lid on the 2011 Oscars

Meryl Streep's upset win typified a conservative night for the Academy

Having had a few hours to quite literally sleep on last night's Academy Awards after blearily turning in at 5.30 in the morning, I've woken up with a post-Oscar feeling that is unfamiliar to me, or at least has been for several years: sincere, sober, slightly stricken disappointment.

That is, I admit, a selfish and somewhat irrational response to an evening in which one of the most singularly delightful films of the year -- and comfortably my favorite of the nominees -- won Best Picture; in which, for the first time in far too long, the routinely dismaying Best Foreign Language Film award somehow found its way to a work of genuine consequence and artistry; in which "Academy Award winner Bret McKenzie" became a legit combination of words for future use and enjoyment; in which, after two straight years of getting it mortifyingly wrong, the Academy managed to stage a swift, entertaining if not especially imaginative show.

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<p>Robert Richardson accepts his Best Cinematography&nbsp;Oscar for &quot;Hugo&quot;&nbsp;at the 84th annual&nbsp;Academy Awards.</p>

Robert Richardson accepts his Best Cinematography Oscar for "Hugo" at the 84th annual Academy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Tech Support: 'Hugo' dominates Oscar's craft categories

Wrapping up the year and the Academy Awards below the line

It’s not usually appropriate for journalists to speak of how their personal experiences affect their views on particular events. But my experience watching the 2012 Academy Awards affects my analysis of it to such an extent that it would be dishonest for me to pretend anything otherwise.

Meryl Streep has been my favorite actress of all time for as long as I’ve had a “favorite actress of al time.” And as much as I loved Viola Davis’s performance in “The Help,” Streep remained my favorite of this year’s Best Actress nominees. Her victory and her speech made me extraordinarily happy last night.

She divided her “thank yous” between her husband, her makeup artist, and her Hollywood family. Notice that second class as a category unto itself. Roy Helland and Meryl Streep have worked together for almost four decades. His win for “The Iron Lady” is oh-so-deserved and I’ll give Streep the utmost in kudos for recognizing the work of the men and women below the line. Recognizing the importance of such work is what we’ve tried to do here at Tech Support.

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<p>Michel Hazanavicius holds his Oscar while being questioned at last night's Weinstein&nbsp;Company after-party.</p>

Michel Hazanavicius holds his Oscar while being questioned at last night's Weinstein Company after-party.

Credit: AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

Congrats to our In Contention Oscar pool winners!

Byron A. Martin, Roberto Paula and Chris Swan, come on down!

Thanks to everyone for joining our Oscar pool at Picktainment for the third-straight season. This year, our victors were (drumroll please)...

First Prize goes to BYRON A. MARTIN, who got 20 out of 24 categories (including picking the Meryl Streep upset) and managed to come dangerously close to the show's run-time in our tie-breaker.

Second Prize goes to ROBERTO PAULA who got the exact same categories right (both winners missed Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects and Best Documentary Feature) and also picked Streep, but came up short in the tie-breaker.

And Third Prize goes to CHRIS SWAN, who, like me, nailed down 19 out of 24 but had the right combination of points to claim that spot all to himself. He missed Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects, Best Documentary Feature and Best Documentary Short.

But you guys have to reach out if you want your spoils so drop me a line with your preferred address and we'll mail out your prizes, a lovely combo of soundtracks and DVDs, ASAP!

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<p>Meryl&nbsp;Streep holds aloft her third Oscar</p>

Meryl Streep holds aloft her third Oscar

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

Off the Carpet: AMPAS hits reset

Last night's kudos season finale felt extremely safe and incredibly easy

So, the Oscars happened.

There were two legitimate surprises at last night's finale to the 2011-2012 film awards season. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" became just the 15th (I believe) film to win Best Film Editing without receiving a Best Picture nomination. The last was :The Bourne Ultimatum" in 2007, then "Black Hawk Down" in 2001. And the last film to win ONLY Best Film Editing was "Bullitt" in 1968. And Meryl Streep finally nabbed that third Oscar her fans and supporters have demanded for her with increasing intensity over the last few years.

Someone on Twitter said they thought Streep's win over Viola Davis will not age well. I don't know what we'll think of it in the future, but I do know Streep and Davis are friends who would hate to know there are discussions and column inches being dedicated to this competition.

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<p>Jean&nbsp;Dujardin accepting the Best Actor Oscar at the 84th annual&nbsp;Academy&nbsp;Awards</p>

Jean Dujardin accepting the Best Actor Oscar at the 84th annual Academy Awards

Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

'The Artist' wins five Oscars, including Best Picture, Director and Actor (with live blog)

'Hugo' also nabs five while Meryl Streep shocks in Best Actress

I haven't live-blogged the Oscars in a while. Usually today is like I just got out of jail, so I'm generally boozing it up at this party or that and just soaking it in.

Not today! And lucky you! I'll be right here at the laptop tap-tapping away as this year's final kudos are handed out on the stage of the Kod...er...Hollywood & Highland Theatre. Will there be upsets? Will there be intrigue? Will there be blood? Whatever there will be, I will be here. I may also have this or that to say on Twitter.

So let's get this puppy started...

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<p>Emilio Fernandez as General Mapache in &quot;The Wild Bunch.&quot;</p>

Emilio Fernandez as General Mapache in "The Wild Bunch."

Credit: Warner Brothers Pictures

The Oscar statuette’s reluctant muse

Hollywood’s coveted prize was modeled after the nude form of a filmmaker

If you’re looking for a tie-breaker for your pool at tonight’s Oscar party, Yahoo! Movies may have just provided it in the form of a little-known piece of trivia. The Academy’s golden statue is not an amorphous rendering of a vague human ideal; rather, it is modeled after one of the entertainment industry’s early (and slightly lesser-known) directors.

Emilio Fernandez (aka “El Indio”) was forced to relocate to Los Angeles from his native Mexico after being exiled for participation in an attempted uprising spearheaded by Adolfo de la Huerta in the 1920s. He forged a career for himself as both an actor and director, helming over 40 films over the course of the roughly 50 years he spent in Hollywood.

It was in the early part of his career that he came into contact with Cedric Gibbons via Gibbons’s wife, Mexican actress Dolores del Rio. Gibbons was the art director for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, an early AMPAS member and the man responsible for overseeing the design of Oscar’s statuette.

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<p>The 2012 HitFix&nbsp;Oscar ballot</p>

The 2012 HitFix Oscar ballot

Credit: HitFix

Join the In Contention Oscar pool and print out the HitFix Oscar ballot!

With a few days to go in Oscar season, it's time to make your picks

(Bringing this back around one more time with all the pertinent stuff for today. Think I'm settled on the points system.)

For the third-straight year it looks like we'll be using Picktainment's set-up for our annual Oscar pool. Some of you may still be members of the site from previous years, but if not, you have to first join up here. After you've done that, go ahead and go to In Contention's Oscar pool here and join the group. After that, you're all ready to make your picks, which you can do by clicking on the "edit my picks" link there.

Meanwhile, HitFix has you all squared away if you're looking for a printable Oscar ballot. You can download ours here and check off your picks to follow along on Oscar night. You can also join the site-wide Oscar pool here. There will be a separate prize for the winner there.

Lastly, Oscar predictions: mine, Guy's, Gerard's, Greg Ellwood's and my Oscar Talk colleague Anne Thompson's. See you in the live blog, which will kick off in a few hours.

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