I laughed my butt off. The reason. Billy Crystal.
From Crystal’s brilliant opening spoof on the best picture nominations to the early, and quite touching, reasons we love movies and love them in theaters, the 84th Annual Academy Awards broadcast was a total treat.
It more than made up for the dreadful telecasts of the last several years and was the funniest and most entertaining since Ellen Degeneres in 2006. Hers was the only decent job since Crystal’s last appearance in 2004.
This was Crystal’s 9th time as the Oscar host. He’s second behind Bob Hope for the most hosting jobs. Hope did 19. Crystal has my vote to do the next 11 to set the record. Like Hope, and Johnny Carson who is third on the list with five, Crystal is just the perfect person for the gig.
The highlights started in the opening sequence that included a kiss with George Clooney. Crystal did a very funny song and dance routine to introduce the best picture nominations and brought down the house with constant quips. The best was in the opening few minutes when he mentioned the down economy and how much fun it is to watch millionaires give each other gold statues.
Outside of Crystal’s terrific work and his marvelous sense of humor and comedy timing, there were more highlights than lowlights starting with short, sweet acceptance speeches. The shortest in my memory.
Some of the presenters were funny, too. Robert Downey Jr. had fun with a mock documentary at Gwyneth Paltrow. Emma Stone — pretending to be really excited to be presenting an Oscar — tossed some very funny insults Ben Stiller’s way. Angelina Jolie showed off her wonderful legs and distracted everyone when doing her presentation.
The broadcast — especially early on — talked emotionally and deeply about why we love movies and why we love movies in theaters.
Emphasis — in theaters. Great stuff.
And it came in at just a bit over three hours. Wow. Short, sweet and fun.
As for the awards. No real surprises. The Artist had 10 nominations and took home five Oscars — best picture, best director, best actor, costume design and original score. It was the first silent picture to win a best picture Oscar since Wings in 1929.
Hugo — Martin Scorsese’s homage to the love of making movies — came to the event with 11 nominations and scored five awards. None of them in the major categories. Hugo took cinematography, art direction, sound editing, sound mixing and visual effects.
The awards were a no-brainer for a film that stunned the senses.
The only real mystery of the night was who was going to take home the best actor and best actress awards. I knew if I picked George Clooney for best actor and Viola Davis for best actress that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would cross me up.
If I’d have picked Jean Dujardin for The Artist, then George Clooney would have taken it home for The Descendants. For best actress, I tagged Viola Davis for The Help because Meryl Streep already had two and the Academy loves films such as The Help.
The Academy loved it for best supporting actress and gave the award to a tearful Octavia Spencer. It did not get the big prize. Streep took home her third Oscar — her first since Sophie’s Choice 29 years ago. Her other was for Kramer Vs. Kramer.
Streep is the most nominated actor or actress in history with 17 of them. Streep’s acceptance speech was wonderful and with the third of her career, she leaves no doubt that she is the best actress of her generation and may be the best actress of all time.
Christopher Plummer is the best supporting actor for Beginnings. He’s the oldest person to receive an Oscar. Plummer at age 82 is just two years younger than the Academy Awards.
What did you think of the telecast? Was Crystal as good as I think? Was this telecast entertaining from the opening sequences to the end?