Everyone's favorite narrator, Morgan Freeman, has opened up the 84th Annual Academy Awards. It would've been really funny if James Franco showed up again, but the show kicked off with a comedy bit from host Billy Crystal.
In a video montage, Crystal recreates a bunch of scenes movies that came out in the past year including, 'Bridesmaids,' 'The Help,' and 'Hugo.' It also included a kiss from George Clooney, a Jonah Hill cameo, and a meeting with Justin Bieber. Bieber pretends to know who Hemingway is. Probably thinks it's one of his backup dancers.
The only Oscar bet I made was the fact that Billy Crystal would say 'you look mahvalous!' within the first thirty seconds of his hosting. I lost. But he did remind us that it was his ninth time hosting the Oscars. And of course, a song and dance kicked off immediately.
"We're here at the beautiful Chapter 11 theater," Crystal said, referring to recent news of Kodak taking their name off of the theater to save $4 million a year.
Woah, there, Billy. Getting kinda edgy! If the Academy wanted smarm, they would've gone with Ricky Gervais.
Billy did his customary song and dance, a very literal song and dance talking about all the movies that are nominated this year.
Tom Hanks then took the stage to give away the first two Academy Awards of the night. Both Achievement in Cinematography and Art Direction went to 'Hugo.'
The two take the stage, looking stunning, like any good Oscar presenter should. They introduce the award for Costume Design, and the Oscar goes to…Mark Wiggins for 'The Artist.' My guess is this is the first of many awards for 'The Artist' tonight.
"This years nominees for makeup run the gamut," J.Lo says, looking a little bit scared that Cameron Diaz's arms are going to put her in a headlock. Also, are we allowed to call her J.Lo at the Oscars? Anyway, for some reason before they announce the award, Lopez and Cameron are standing backward. With their backs facing the audience.
"You take a chance," Cameron joked, and I'm pretty sure no one has any idea what's going on. The Academy is probably like, "if we knew this was gonna happen we would've just invited Franco back." But anyway, 'The Iron Lady' wins.
Sandra Bullock is the next presenter onstage, introducing the Award for Best Foreign Film. Of course, they're all depressing. That's life outside of America, folks. While they're making movies about war and suffering and all that, our best picture nominees are about baseball and living in Hawaii. Go figure.
'A Separation,' an Iranian movie wins.
Christian Bale takes the stage, and I wonder how scared all the Academy light crew are right now. The Award for Best Supporting Actress is presented, and it goes to Octavia Spencer. She was up against Melissa McCarthy, Jessica Chastain, Janet McTeer, and Berenice Bejo.
"Thank you Academy, for putting me with the hottest guy in the room," Octavia said. Then through tears, she added: "I have to thank…my family in Alabama, the state of Alabama."
"Thank you world," Spencer said before breaking into full blown crying. And I admit, I couldn't help but get choked up, too. You go, Octavia! Now go get those new boobies! * sniff *
And Billy Crystal is back! You know, he's been criticized for being a lukewarm and boring host, not as edgy as Eddie Murphy would've been. But he's wearing a white tie people. 'Nuff said.
A funny bit paying tribute to mockumentary King Christopher Guest commences, starring Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara. I really feel like watching 'Best In Show' right now.
"Here are the nominees for achievement in Film Editing," Tina announces. The Oscar goes to Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall for 'Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.'
'Hugo' then wins for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.
Kermit and Miss Piggy introduce another movie-montage. It involves some trapeze artists and then the whole thing basically turns into a Cirque Du Soleil show. Somewhere, James Franco is especially enjoying this, baked out of his mind.
Ok, that's my James Franco joke cut off for the night.
Billy Crystal gets back onstage and points out an old guy in the audience for no real reason.
Gwyneth Paltrow takes the stage along with Robert Downey, Jr. to introduce the Award for Best Documentary. Robert pretends to be shooting a documentary, telling Gwyneth they want to "put this thing on Netflix by midnight."
'Undefeated' wins. They also utter the first censored word of the night.
Chris Rock, who hosted just a few years back, returns to the stage.
"I love animation because in the world of animation you can be anything you want to be. If you're a White man, you can play an Arabian prince. And if you're a Black man you can play a donkey or a zebra," Chris joked.
"It's the easiest job in the world," Chris said about doing animation voice work. He then presents the award for Best Animated Feature. The Oscar goes to 'Rango.'
Billy Crystal returns, with Melissa McCarthy seducing him. He agrees to give her "one minute" in his dressing room. And you'd think it was a joke, but when Billy returns to the stage, he's wearing a different colored tie.
"This is my first time presenting an award!" Emma exclaims, and the crowd cheers. She tries to convince Ben to do a real presentation number, including a song and dance.
"Kid, I get it. You're new. But perky gets old fast in this crowd," Ben tells his co-presenter.
"Here are the nominees for achievement in Visual Effects," Stiller announces.
The Oscar goes to 'Hugo,' and somebody call LAPD homicide, because this movie is killin' it tonight!
Melissa Leo from 'The Fighter' is the next presenter. She announces the award for Best Supporting Actor. It goes to Christopher Plummer for 'Beginners.' It's his first Oscar. He's also the oldest actor to ever win an Oscar, at 82 years old. Still got time, Jonah Hill. Still got time.
"When I first emerged from my mother's womb, I was already rehearsing my first Academy speech," Plummer joked. He thanked friends, family and colleagues, along with "My fellow nominees…I'm so proud to be in your company."
"My daughter Amanda, and lastly, my long suffering wife, Elaine."
And finally, the segment, 'What Everyone's Thinking'. A camera stops on random people in the crowd, and Billy says what each person is thinking. Uggie The Dog ('The Artist') thinks, "If I had 'em, I'd lick 'em." It'd be really funny if they accidentally panned the camera on someone else during that one.
Penelope Cruz and Owen Wilson take the stage to present the next award. The Oscar for Best Original Score goes to the composer for 'The Artist,' Ludovic Bource, who is announced as having no formal training whatsoever. I'm sure he's real glad the Academy pointed that out.
Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis then take the stage, sort of, while banging some cymbals together, dressed in all-white suits. They present the Oscar for Best Original Song. The award goes to Bret McKenzie, the guy from 'Flight of the Conchords' for his song in 'The Muppets.'
"Please welcome, the original girl with the dragon tattoo, Angelina Jolie."
Yep, Angelina Jolie just took the stage, and she looks even better in HD.
Angelina presents the award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and it goes to Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash for 'The Descendents.'
"My mother is here with me from Omaha," Payne said. "And after watching the show a few years ago she made me promise if I ever won another Oscar I'd dedicate it to her. So mom, this is for you."
The Award for Best Original Screenplay goes to Woody Allen for 'Midnight In Paris.'
"The Academy congratulates Woody Allen and accepts the Oscar on his behalf," Angelina says, with Woody obviously missing. Probably at home watching The Cleveland Show.
The cast of 'The Bridesmaids' just took the stage, with Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph presenting the award for Best Short Film. The two talk about whether size matters. Turns out, it does.
"I'd rather have a short film with some heft that's nice to me, rather than a long film that just lies there," Kristen says.
And the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film goes to 'The Shore.' Where Snooki at?
Terry George and his daughter, Oorlagh George, take the stage to say their thanks. Oorlagh helped produce her dad's movie, despite the fact that he named her Oorlagh.
"Mom, this is for you!" she exclaims. A nice Oscar moment.
The Award for Best Documentary Feature goes to 'Saving Face.'
"To all the women who are working in Pakistan, don't give up on your dreams," the movie's producer declares.
The Oscar for Best Animated Short goes to 'The Fantastic Flying Books Of Mr. Morris Lessmore.'
Michael Douglas announces the award for Best Achievement in Directing. 'The Artist', 'The Descendants,' 'Hugo,' 'Midnight In Paris,' and 'The Tree of Life' are all up against each other.
Michel Hazanavicius wins for 'The Artist.' It's the French director's first Oscar.
"I forget my speech," he says as he takes the stage. "I am the happiest director in the world right now."
He thanks his producer, the Academy, the cast, the crew, and Uggie the Dog. "I think he doesn’t care, I'm not sure he understands what I'm saying," Michel jokes.
Billy Crystal announces an 'In Memoriam' to the people of film we've lost over the past year. Esperanza Spalding sings, 'What a Wonderful World' as we remember names like Jane Russell, Whitney Houston, Sidney Lumet, and Elizabeth Taylor.
Meanwhile, @angiesrightleg is now a Twitter handle. Yep, Angelina Jolie's leg made that much of an impression.
Natalie Portman and her prom dress just took the stage to announce the award for Best Actor—one of the biggest awards of the night. Demian Bicher, George Clooney, Jean Dujardin, Gary Oldman and Brad Pitt are all up against each other. To George Clooney, Natalie said:
"You managed to make us believe you were just a regular guy…we will long remember your great work in 'The Descendents.'"
"It is crazy…that tonight marks your first Oscar nomination." Portman said to Gary Oldman, who is nominated for 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.'
And the Oscar goes to…Jean Dujardin, for 'The Artist!'
"I love your country," Jean said as he took the stage. "So many of you here tonight have inspired me. Thank you Michele, thank you for this incredible gift," Jean said to his director.
"Merci Beaucoup! I love you!" he shouted before leaving the stage.
Colin Firth just took the stage to announce The Best Actress in a Leading Role. Glenn Close, Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Rooney Mara, and Michelle Williams are all up against each other for the role.
Firth calls Davis' role in 'The Help' "breathtaking."
"Meryl, mama mia," Firth says to Streep. "We were in Greece, we danced, I was gay, we were happy." This is Meryl's 17th nomination in the Academy Awards.
"Michelle, you were my mentor when we first worked together. We can leave aside the fact that you were twelve and I was thirty-five."
Firth called her role in 'My Week With Marilyn' both tender and compassionate.
And the Oscar goes to…Meryl Streep for her role in 'The Iron Lady'! It's the third Oscar win for the actress.
"Oh, come on!" Meryl says as she gets onstage. "When they call my name, I got this feeling I could hear half of America going, 'Oh, come on. Her. Again.' But you know, whatever."
Meryl thanked her husband first, and he looked on lovingly, with his hand over his heart. "I look out here, and I see my life before my eyes. My old friends, my new friends," Streep continued. "The thing that counts the most with me is the friendship. Thank you, all of you. Departed and here. For this inexplicably wonderful career."
Tom Cruise took the stage to announce the biggest award of the night—Best Picture. And he did it without jumping on anything! 'Hugo', 'Midnight In Paris', 'Moneyball', 'The Artist', 'The Help', 'Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close', 'The Tree of Life', 'War Horse' and 'The Descendants' are all up against each other. Whew! I need to take a breath.
"All such fine films, congratulations," Cruise says.
And the biggest award of the night, the Oscar for Best Picture, goes to….'The Artist.' Probably the most buzzed-about movie of 2011. With ten Academy Award nominations, 'The Artist' has won five.
The cast, along with Uggie the Dog, took the stage.
"Thank you from the bottom of my heart," producer Thomas Langmann said. "Thank you," director Michele Hazanavicius added, before thanking his family and telling his kids in France they need to get to bed.
And there you have it, the 84th Annual Academy Awards! A full winners list will follow shortly.