Sunday, April 22, 2018
Features and More

This time at the Oscars, out with the forced hipness, in with the feeling

After last year's flippant, hipper-than-thou Academy Awards debacle, which forgot what the show should celebrate, Sunday's 84th Hollywood hoedown got back to what the Oscars do best: big, bloated self-congratulatory spectacle complete with a head-scratching Cirque du Soleil number. Huzzah! We cried (for Octavia Spencer), we groaned (at Billy Crystal's jokes), we swooned (George Clooooney). Glad we watched? Absolutely! Here are highlights, lowlights ... and more white-hot Clooney action.

And away we go... Looking like his evil twin in a slightly nefarious goatee, Tom Hanks kicked things off by presenting the gorgeous Hugo with a double shot of wins for cinematography and art direction. Before rumors of a sweep could start, J.Lo and Cameron Diaz presented The Artist with the hardware for costume design

Pie in the sky time

Fighting back tears, but still incredibly charming, Octavia Spencer, who plays sassy maid Minny in The Help, won for best supporting actress. This wasn't an upset — unless you consider that only 12 African-American actors had won Oscars in the previous 83 shows.

Plummer makes history

There's a new answer for the trivia question "Who's the oldest actor to win an Oscar?" Christopher Plummer, 82, won for his role in Beginners as a terminally ill man who comes out of the closet. "You're only two years older than me. Where have you been all my life?" Plummer said as he beamed at his shiny new statue. Nice moment.

"I love your country!" And we dig you, too, Jean Dujardin, best actor for The Artist, which also won best picture.

I could hear half of America saying, Oh no, not her again!'"

Meryl Streep, best actress winner for The Iron Lady, totally caught us. We had Viola Davis from The Help in the office pool.

Clooney is cool...

He was totally at ease appearing on the red carpet with a woman who could easily dunk on him: leggy gal pal Stacy Keibler, aka the Luckiest Girl in the Whole Wide World. Talk about statuesque: She was even dressed like an Oscar trophy. Later, Clooney gamely smooched host Billy Crystal in the show's marginally amusing opener.

...but Seacrest is cooler

After getting faux ashes dumped on his tux by Sacha Baron Cohen's "Dictator" — a red-carpet publicity prank to hype his new flick — E! host Ryan Seacrest handled the mugging so smoothly, he made one of the night's buzziest moments more about his grace under fire rather than Cohen's shtick.

When Adam cries, we cry

After last year's Oscars, which were hijacked by a too casual James Franco, high-haired producer Brian Grazer restored reverence to the proceedings, bringing back movie montages (time to see Planes, Trains and Automobiles again) and solemn pre-taped bits celebrating the art form. In an altogether sweet bit, Adam Sandler recalled seeing his first movie, Diamonds Are Forever: "I remember talking about Sean Connery, his performance and his chest hair and saying, 'Can I please do that?' "

Best presenters goes to...

Not a ton of sparkling tete-a-tete up on the dais, but kudos to Ben Stiller (money in the bank on awards shows) and the incandescent Emma Stone for sporting much-needed fun, flirty chemistry in presenting the award for visual effects, which went to Hugo. That sound you hear is screenwriters all over Hollywood whipping out quickie rom-coms intended for Stiller and Stone.

Oh yeah? Well we had two different kinds of Bugles!

About the time you're reading this, those heathen celebs in Hollywood are probably just finishing up chowing down at the post-show Governor's Ball. Celeb chef Wolfgang Puck once again had the honor again of whipping up the elite feast, which included items as pedestrian as mac 'n' cheese to sin-laden Lobster Louie. For dessert? Everyone gets a chocolate mini-Oscar statue dusted with edible gold.

Catwoman is a scratch

Halle Berry, always stunning on Oscar night, was scheduled to present an award Sunday night alongside Tom Hanks. But she pulled out at the last minute because she's still recovering from a broken foot suffered back in September while filming in Spain.

We're just jealous, okay?

A few snarky comments made in our bustling Oscar-night newsroom:

"Yikes. Viola Davis' cleavage needs a little 'help' staying in her dress."

"In her awkward white smock, Rooney Mara looks like Marion Ravenwood after she came out of the Well of Souls."

"I agree that Bradley Cooper can do it all .. .except pull off that porn star mustache he's wearing now."

They're jealous, too

A few notable (and snarky) tweets: "Paltrow looks like she's about to give medals to Luke and Han for blowing up the Death Star." — Rotten Tomatoes

"The Artist was silent and in black and white. What will they think of next?" — Norm Macdonald

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