Many Oscar viewers likely gasped in disbelief during the final moments of Sunday's ceremony, but not due to the winner of the night's most anticipated award.
The shock came from the fact that Tom Cruise -- who presented the best picture Oscar -- is apparently physically immune to the passage of time. Seriously...did anyone else notice his failure to age?
Predictably, he announced that "The Artist" won best picture.
The outcome seemed obvious from the show's onset. The acting categories didn't offer major shocks, either. In a mild surprise, Meryl Streep ("The Iron Lady") beat Viola Davis ("The Help") in the lead actress category.
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Jean Dujardin ("The Artist") won in the lead actor category, Christopher Plummer ("Beginners") won supporting actor and Auburn University alum Octavia Spencer ("The Help") won supporting actress. Call me biased, but I think Spencer's emotional acceptance speech was one of the night's most memorable moments.
For the most part, the show was pretty good, even if it lacked a sense of suspense and shock value. Host Billy Crystal was, well, standard Billy Crystal. Overall, consistent and enjoyable.
Here's a full recap of the ceremony.
Quick recap of the red carpet...don't miss our red carpet photo gallery HERE.
Auburn University alum Octavia Spencer, who's nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for her role in "The Help," said "War Eagle" during a red carpet interview. And Sacha Baron Cohen gave us this moment with Ryan Seacrest:
The show kicks off around 8:30 p.m. with a cute pre-taped montage that features host Billy Crystal going in and out of some of the night's Oscar-nominated films. My favorite part? Justin Bieber's cameo in the "Midnight in Paris" spoof. "I'm here to get you the 18-24 demographic," Bieber says. Funny but true.
Billy does his standard musical tribute to the best picture nominees, and I enjoy it overall. Jonah Hill looks a little mad when Billy jokingly tells him cupcakes will be available after the show. OK, let's present some awards!
8:41 - Achievement in Cinematography goes to "Hugo."
8:44 - Achievement in Art Direction goes to "Hugo."
8:54 - Best Costume Design goes to "The Artist."
8:56 - So, um, when are we going to get a cool award?
8:57 - Achievement in Makeup goes to "The Iron Lady." The noteworthy thing about this moment isn't so much the award, but online discussion about a wardrobe almost-malfunction from presenter Jennifer Lopez. I'll leave you with this:
9:06 - Best Foreign Language Film is "A Separation" from Iran.
9:09 - Best Supporting Actress is Octavia Spencer. Auburn University alum! Woo hoo! She gets a standing ovation and cries upon reaching the podium. She thanks her family in Alabama and is very emotional. We love you, Octavia!
9:21 - I enjoy the little comedy skit about a fake "Wizard of Oz" focus group, but I kind of just want the ceremony to move along at this point.
9:22 - Achievement in Film Editing goes to "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo."
9:25 - Achievement in Sound Editing goes to "Hugo."
9:27 - Achievement in Sound Mixing goes to "Hugo."
9:35 - A Cirque du Soleil performance at the Oscars? Really?!? OK, this is kind of cool, but still...is it strange when this is one of the most exciting parts of the show so far?
9:42 - Best Documentary is "Undefeated."
9:46 - Best Animated Feature Film is "Rango."
9:54 - Achievement in Visual Effects goes to "Hugo."
10:00 - Best Supporting Actor is Christopher Plummer for "Beginners." He gets a standing ovation and says he's been rehearsing his acceptance speech since he emerged from his mother's womb. He thanks the Academy, his fellow nominees and his "Beginners" co-star, Ewan McGregor. He says he'd share the trophy with Ewan McGregor "if I had any decency...but I don't." Finally, he thanks his wife and says she "deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for coming to my rescue every day of my life." At 82, he's the Oscars' oldest acting winner.
10:09 - Did you enjoy Billy's bit about what the nominees are thinking during the ceremony?
10:12 - Best Original Score goes to "The Artist."
10:16 - Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. Together on stage. I'm nervous. They entertain/annoy us with a little cymbal chaos, but things could be much worse. They're presenting the best original song award. I appreciate the reference to "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp."
10:17 - Best Original Song is "Man or Muppet" from "The Muppets."
10:26 - Best Adapted Screenplay goes to "The Descendants."
10:28 - Best Original Screenplay goes to Woody Allen for "Midnight in Paris." He's not at the ceremony.
10:38 - The cast of "Bridesmaids" is on stage! They present short film awards, which leads to all sorts of jokes about whether size matters...in films, of course.
10:39 - Best Live Action Short Film is "The Shore."
10:41 - Best Documentary Feature is "Saving Face." Side note: I love how Melissa McCarthy and Rose Byrne apparently take a shot of liquor while on stage.
10:45 - Best Animated Short Film is "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore."
10:51 - Best Director is Michel Hazanavicius for "The Artist."
10:58 - Honorary Oscars go to James Earl Jones, Oprah Winfrey and makeup artist Dick Smith.
11:06 - "In memoriam" segment includes Whitney Houston. Esperanza Spalding sings "What a Wonderful World" while faces flash across the screen.
11:18 - Best Actor is Jean Dujardin for "The Artist." He says, "So many of you here tonight have inspired me." It's a pretty standard acceptance speech, but I love the few lines in French.
11:22 - On a semi-unrelated note, are you guys enjoying Ellen's J. C. Penney commercials?
11:29 - Best Actress goes to Meryl Streep for "The Iron Lady." Standing ovation. At the podium, she says she knows a bunch of viewers just groaned at home. "But, whatever," she says. She thanks her husband right away, gets emotional and also thanks a hairstylist/makeup artist. "The thing that counts the most with me is the friendships and the love," she says, thanking everyone for her "inexplicably wonderful career."
11:32 - Tom Cruise is presenting Best Picture.
11:35 - Best Picture is "The Artist." Nice acceptance speech...but my favorite thing is that the dog is on stage!!!
11:38 - We're done!!! What did you think?