At the 84th Annual Academy Awards, the big nominees were the big winners. Coming into the 2012 Oscars, Hugo and The Artist were the most nominated films, and both walked away with five wins each. The big winner was The Artist, a silent, black-and-white movie that won for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor.
The bigger story for me was how darn boring the entire thing was, and I put most of that blame on Billy Crystal. He may have been a hilarious host back in the day, but his entire time this year just reminded me how completely irrelevant he is in today’s pop culture world. His stale jokes weren’t funny, his delivery seemed half-hearted and the whole thing felt like Crystal was recycling the same jokes he used the last time he hosted eight years ago.
I guess the Oscars wanted to do the opposite of last year’s disastrous, young-skewing hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway, but they went too far in the other direction. Next year they’d be wise to look at which presenters were the best, namely Chris Rock and Robert Downey, Jr., both of whom would make solid hosts.
See the full list of this year’s Oscar winners
Here’s my take on the best and worst moments from this year’s Oscars telecast.
The Wizard of Oz Focus Group: All you need to do is give Christopher Guest and his usual troupe of actors a chance and they can make something hilarious. Fred Willard’s obsession with flying monkeys stole it for me. I just wish, as soon as it was over, Billy Crystal didn’t feel the need to shatter the illusion by immediately calling it out as fake. Of course it wasn’t a REAL focus group, but there was no need to break the fourth wall about it.
Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Rock and Emma Stone: Who was the funniest presenter? I can’t decide between these three. Downey, Jr.’s “live documentary” was so damn charming it made me wish he was the host, Rock’s jokes about animated films were spot-on and Stone seemed quite comfortable and confident doing comedy.
Jim Rash: As a huge fan of Community, it was so cool to see Dean Pelton as one of the winners of Adapted Screenplay for The Descendants.
The Bridesmaids Scorsese Drinking Game: In a brilliant callback to the drinking game the ladies revealed at the SAG Awards, people in the audience shouted “Scorsese,” prompting Rose Byrne and Melissa McCarthy to drink. It was hilarious, so long as you watched the SAG Awards and got the joke.
Meryl Streep: I know she joked about how people watching at home were exhausted of seeing her win, but the surprising truth is that this is her first Oscar win in almost 30 years. She may have three wins overall, but that seems like far too few given her stellar career.
Billy Crystal’s Opening Song: In the biggest sign that Crystal should NEVER host the Oscars again, this whole song and dance number just felt so dated. I can imagine my grandma finding it mildly amusing, but that’s it.
The Most Pointless Montage Ever: The Oscars always have a few random montages of scenes from classic movies, but none has ever seemed so useless as the first one of this year about going to the movies that started with Forrest Gump and ended with When Harry Met Sally. There was absolutely no connection between all of the chosen scenes from such non-Oscar-worthy films as Twilight, Austin Powers and The Hangover.
Cirque du So-Lame: What do acrobats have to do with going to the movies? It made no sense, but the schadenfreude fan inside of me loved it when those four guys were being flipped around on human chairs, because one of them fell.
Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis: These two just tried way too hard to be funny with their cymbals gag, and it reeked of desperation. Getting a laugh should take that much effort.
The Supporting Winners: I’m sure Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer were great, and their speeches were nice, but this is the third year in a row where the supporting actor and actress who won the Golden Globe and SAG Awards ALSO wins the Oscar (and it’s the fifth year in a row for the men). It just makes these supporting awards so darn boring and takes away all suspense.
(Image courtesy of ABC)