Billy Crystal performs during the 84th Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Octavia Spencer accepts the Oscar for best actress in a supporting role for “The Help” during the 84th Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
The Oscar telecast takes hours, but it's the moments we remember.
Just a few of them, of course — ones that are so emotional, funny, or bizarre that they'll stand out in our collective memories, candidates for future Oscar montages, of course, but also for office watercooler talk. Here's a running look at some of the Oscar moments we may be talking about in the morning:
AND HE'S BACK!
Last year, the joke-starved Oscar audience was so thrilled to see Billy Crystal by the time he showed up, they gave him a standing ovation before he even said a word. This time, back as host, he was greeted warmly if less ecstatically as he launched into his timeworn routine: first the montage where he inserts himself into films — he even got a kiss from George Clooney in his "Descendants" hospital bed — and then his medley of songs. "You didn't think I wasn't gonna do this, did ya"? he quipped. No, we didn't.
In a clever nod to the need for a bit o' youth, Crystal brought Justin Bieber into his "Midnight in Paris" bit. Later he was even blunter: "We're gonna slam the 78 to 84 demographic," he said. Next year, he added, we'd be in the Flomax Theater, referring to the prostate medication. The old-age reference looked to be a running theme of the night. After Christopher Plummer won the supporting actor prize, Crystal quipped: "The average age for winners has just jumped to 67."
I'M FREAKING OUT!
The first emotional moment of the evening came with Octavia Spencer's expected yet still heartwarming supporting actress win for her turn as a tart-tongued maid in "The Help." From tart-tongued to a little tongue-tied: "Please wrap up ...I'm wrapping up!" she cried. "I'm freaking out!"
EVEN MERYL NEEDS MAKEUP
Even the ever-gorgeous Meryl Streep needs makeup, and she has made no secret of her admiration to her makeup team for transforming her into Maggie Thatcher for "The Iron Lady." Finally it was their time in the spotlight. The nominated best actress whooped and cheered when they won.
"Thanks Meryl, for keeping me employed for the last 37 years," said J. Roy Helland, who won with Mark Coulier.
A MESS ON THE CARPET
Sacha Baron Cohen always has something up his sleeve. This year, the comic actor spilled it all over Ryan Seacrest's sleeves — and the red carpet, too.
Parodying the Moammar Gadhafi-type dictator he plays in his upcoming film, "The Dictator," Baron Cohen showed up carrying what he said were the ashes of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. Then he spilled them all over the E! host's tuxedo.
Said Seacrest: "Anything can happen and it most certainly did, all over my lapel."
A CIRCUS IN THE HOUSE
Wait, was that Spider-Man flying up to the rafters? No, this wasn't the Tonys, it was the Oscars, and those were Cirque du Soleil aerialists in a lavish tribute to the movies. Crystal noted the circus-like atmosphere when he quipped: "We've got puppets, acrobats ... we're a pony away from a bar mitzvah!"