Capping off an incredible season that included BAFTA, SAG and Golden Globe wins for Best Supporting Actor, 82-year-old Canadian thespian Christopher Plummer took home his first ever Academy Award Sunday night for his role in "Beginners," becoming the oldest person to ever win the award. The actor received a standing ovation as he took the Oscar stage, sporting his Order of Canada pin on his lapel.
"I have a confession to make: When I first emerged from my mother's womb, I was already rehearsing my Academy thank-you speech," Plummer quipped during his acceptance speech. "It was so long ago, mercifully for you I've forgotten it."
Plummer earned rave reviews for his portral of Hal, an elderly man who comes out of the closet to his son (Ewan McGregor) shortly before finding out that he is dying of cancer. The Toronto-born actor accepted the win with all the class and grace that he has been known for throughout his career.
"To my screen partner, of course, Ewan McGregor, that superb artist who I would happily share this with if I had any decency -- but I don't," said Plummer. "And to my long-suffering wife, Elaine, who deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for coming to my rescue every day of my life."
With a career spanning nearly six decades, it's hard to believe that the nomination was only the veteran Canadian actor's second. In 2009, Plummer was nominated for the same prize for his turn as Leo Tolstoy in "The Last Station." (He lost to "Inglourious Basterds'" Christoph Waltz.)
Plummer was seen by many as the favourite in the Best Supporting Actor category going into Sunday night's awards show, and a loss here would have been the definition of an upset. Plummer's recent success at other major award shows may have helped his case with Academy voters, but the fact remains that his performance in "Beginners" was simply one of 2011's best. A well deserved and long overdue win for the Canadian.