Scene Staff Report | Monday, February 27, 2012
1. Billy Crystal’s Movie Montage
Yes, Billy Crystal has taken a humorous trip through the year’s major awards contenders every year he’s hosted the Oscars (this was his ninth time at the job). But even though we all knew it was coming, his lip-lock with George Clooney and exasperation at Billy Bean’s baseball advisors began the show on a high note, setting us up for a night that was funny, even if totally expected.
2. Robert Downey, Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow present award for Best Documentary
This moment was the first genuine laugh of the night, when the duo came out to present the award for Best Documentary and Robert Downey Jr. was followed by a camera crew for his documentary “The Presenter.” The bit itself wasn’t comedic genius, but it was certainly appropriate and it worked because Downey Jr. always seems like sort of a jerk and Gwyneth Paltrow is nice. Plus, he got to say that he turned down doing “The Descendants” with George Clooney in the audience. Now, that’s hilarious.
3. Emma Stone and Ben Stiller present Best Visual Effects
Emma Stone burst on to the Oscar’s stage with a beautiful Giambattista Valli couture gown. Some may say she copied Nicole Kidman’s Balenciaga gown from 2007, but we say, who cares? The color, the bow and the lanky silhouette were a class act. It drew even more attention to her gingery hair and her equally spicy sense of humor. She held her own with Ben Stiller, overplaying her excitement to present her first award to humorous effect. Emma has a sneaky, subtle sarcasm that goes perfectly with her snarky smile.
4. “Wizard of Oz” Focus Group
This hilarious short from the Oscars broadcast gave insight into the inner workings of the film industry. Or at least satirized them. Suggestions to improving the classic movie included removing Dorothy, who they called annoying, to featuring more flying monkeys. The clip made light of an important part of the filmmaking process, but in an informative way, with spot-on jokes and excellent delivery.
5. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis present Best Original Song
If anything proves that Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis can make an audience laugh at next to nothing, it was their entrance as award presenters at the Oscars. Ferrell and Galifianakis entered the stage together Sunday night in white tuxedos, carrying (and fumbling) giant hand cymbals and mispronouncing names before announcing the winner for Best Original Song.
6. 2011 “In Memoriam”
The Oscar’s annual “In Memoriam” should always be a moving part of a night that is otherwise for celebrating. Unfortunately, the awards often make a misstep with the video of those lost in the last year and don’t do the segment full justice. This year, however, the “In Memoriam” was perfectly understated and a wonderfully tasteful celebration of some of Hollywood’s lost visionaries.
7. Meryl Streep wins Best Actress
With a surprise win over admittedly deserving Viola Davis, poised and charming Meryl Streep proved yet again why she’s the classiest, most beloved woman in Hollywood. Her acceptance speech deftly mixed humor and emotion. “When they called my name,” she joked, “I had this feeling I could hear half of America going, ‘Oh no! Oh come on, why her? Again!’” Add a loving tribute to her husband and humble gratitude to her friends and peers and it was enough to move anyone to tear up along with her.