Oscars 2012: Billy Crystal opens the show with humor, grace

Billy Crystal brought familiarity.

If there is a moment during the Academy Awards that is analyzed more than any other, it is the man who steps on stage as a host. For evidence of just how heavily-scrutinized this role is, just ask last year’s co-hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco how they are recovering from the gig.

Thankfully, Billy Crystal started things off by reminding us about why he is perfect for the show in the first place — he’s funny, but does so while still being classy for the nominated awards. During his introduction video, Crystal kissed George Clooney, had fun with the women of “Bridesmaids,” and even received a visit from Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible” character Ethan Hunt.

After all this was over (and we saw the beginning of a theme for the night — making fun of the now-unnamed Kodak Theater), Crystal began a song-and-dance number the brought to mind just about every awards show we have seen in recent years — and while it was strong, we also tend to judge everything of this nature to Neil Patrick Harris. There were shout-outs to everyone from Clooney to Martin Scorsese to even Tom Hanks — whose movie “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” was not directly mentioned.

Overall, Crystal opened the show on a positive note — it brought out several belly laughs, reminded us that we loved the movies, and made us smile. Why should we ask for anything more?

What did you think about Crystal’s opening?

Photo: ABC

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