Before the 84th Annual Academy Awards began, Billy Crystal was already bringing the comedy. Kind of. “Opening number changed. War Horse broke his leg, had to put him down,” he tweeted a couple hours prior to the show.
Crystal, who returned as host of the Oscars for the ninth time since his first show in 1990, replaced Eddie Murphy as host after some Brett Ratner-related controversy late in 2011.
The Warhorse may not have been available, but Morgan Freeman was, and he opened the show with some reverent words about the art of filmmaking. We were then treated to the opening movie montage.
Crystal’s parody of “The Artist,” in which he refused to host… and then remembered that he could promote his movie “Parental Guidance,” which comes out in November. He then inserted himself into “The Descendants,” complete with a highly sought-after smooch from George Clooney and some Batman-related platitudes. In the writers’ room, Jonah Hill (who shall heretoforth be known as Oscar Nominee Jonah Hill) warned Crystal that he just doesn’t have enough jokes.
Luckily, Justin Bieber was brought in to help out with the 18-24 demographic. “So how long do you want me to sit here for?” he wondered. Cue awkward pause. “Good luck, Bob!” he told Crystal.
Then Crystal ate some of Octavia Spencer‘s pie, and we all know how that story ends… in the bathroom, with Melissa McCarthy, apparently. When Crystal tried to catch up on the Best Picture nominees, he was interrupted by Tom Cruise and some very familiar theme music, and took a moment to enter the magical world of “Hugo” before impatiently requesting that Voldemort and Harry Potter kiss and make up already.
When he finally got on stage, he quipped, “So tonight… just call me Warhorse.” Full circle via social media, everyone!
Of course, Crystal wouldn’t be Crystal without a musical number about the Best Picture nominees — with some friendly jabs about Hill’s fluctuating weight, Martin Scorcese‘s not-so-Scorcese turn with “Hugo,” and Clooney being “leid” by Oscar.
What did you think of the opening montage and number? Did it bring back memories of the good old days, or are you still scarred by James Franco and Anne Hathaway‘s abysmal turn last year? Drop us a line in the comments with your two cents.