It Started Off Well Enough …
"And the quest to make Tommy Lee Jones laugh begins," first-time Oscar host Seth MacFarlane said to open the 85th Oscar ceremony.
And Then …
Through a 16-minute long session that included sock puppets (for real), a tap-dancing Harry Potter, a song about actress' boobs, politically incorrect jokes about Chris Brown and Rihanna, Don Cheadle and Quentin Tarantino, a Captain Kirk-ed William Shatner (for real), an admittedly graceful dance by Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum, and what felt like a little infomercial for a MacFarlane album of standards, the newbie host had us wondering what kind of trippy scene we'd tuned in to.
[ Photos: Red carpet report card ]
Speaking of Trippy …
Those set pieces, those retro backdrops and a curtain that looked like it had been swiped from an NBC trash bin after Johnny Carson decided to replace it in 1979 … you set your TiVo to record the Oscars, and it finds an episode of "Laugh-In" instead.
Rob Lowe to Oscar Viewers: How You Like Me Now?
Twitter reaction to Seth MacFarlane's opening routine: We'd give anything to see that Rob Lowe/Snow White number again.
How Many 'Avengers' Stars Does It Take to Make An Oscar Presentation Unfunny?
Five. That wasn't a joke set-up. It took five stars of "The Avengers" -- Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, and Chris Evans -- to present a pair of Oscars for Visual Effects and Cinematography, awkwardly, and while stepping on jokes mean to poke a little fun at each other. In fact, several A-listers seemed to be tripping over the bits penned for them, even the (almost) always funny Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy.
Duran Duran Wasn't Available?
Shirley Bassey sure belted out that "Goldfinger" theme song at the end of a rather lame tribute to 50 years of James Bond films. Belted it right out. Some might even say she yelled it out.
What Is Happening?!
Yes, we were warned, er, told, that music in the movies was the evening's theme, and a performance by the cast of current nominee "Les Miserables" made sense. But "Chicago"? "Dreamgirls"? Random.
This, We Can Get Behind
Out of place at the Oscars? Maybe, but far be it from us to ever turn down a good Kardashian joke. MacFarlane on "Argo" director Ben Affleck's facial fur: "The first time I saw him with all that dark facial hair, I thought, 'My God, the Kardashians have finally made the jump to film.'"
Wahlberg & the Stool
Admit it … when you saw Mark Wahlberg take the stage carrying that stool, you thought he was going to make a Clint Eastwood joke, right?
It's Better Than an Actual Hook
The Oscar orchestra played "Jaws" theme music to cut off "Life of Pi" Best Visual Effects winner Bill Westenhofer, who was unspooling an acceptance speech so lengthy a Best Picture winner wouldn't dare to take as much screen time. And before you feel too bad for him for getting the hook, remember, his wordiness prevented his fellow winners from getting a second at the mic. And this wasn't even his first Oscar win.
Adele = Perfection
Adele, as always, sounded terrific singing her Oscar-winning theme song from "Skyfall." Too bad she was often drowned out by the orchestra backing her.
"Twilight" star Kristen Stewart yet again stood in front of an audience of her peers and could barely look directly at the crowd while reading the nominees for Best Production Design. That shy routine is fine for less formal affairs like the MTV Movie Awards, we guess, but these are the Oscars, sister. If you can't at least make the effort not to stare at the floor half the time, just decline the invitation to be a presenter.
In Memoriam MIA
Hey, Oscar producers, a quick perusal of IMDB.com would have told you that you left Larry Hagman and Andy Griffith out of the In Memoriam tribute. Surely that wasn't on purpose?
Oh, Now We Get It
If you were also asking yourself why "Chicago," a movie from more than a decade ago, and its stars were getting so much screen time at this year's Oscars, this year's Oscar producers, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, were also producers on what movie? Surprise, "Chicago."
Cocaine Trees and Hollywood Kids
"Our next presenters are Hollywood legends going back to the 1970s and '80s. They remember when this town was nothing but cocaine trees as far as the eye could see. These two are the children of screen legends, who then went on to become screen legends themselves. Which only goes to prove what everyone always says, Hollywood parents are the best parents in the world." -- Seth MacFarlane, introducing Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas.
I Dreamed I Fell in Front of a Billion People
"You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell, and that's really embarrassing, but thank you." -- best Actress winner Jennifer Lawrence, whose heavy gown caused her to take a little tumble while walking up the stage stairs to accept her statue.
Who Else Would He Be Talking About?
"Ladies and gentlemen, our next presenter needs no introduction." So he didn't give her one. That was MacFarlane, not introducing Best Actor presenter Meryl Streep.
He's Funny, Too?
"It's a strange thing, because three years ago, before we decided to do a straight swap, I had actually been committed to play Margaret Thatcher," Best Actor winner Daniel Day-Lewis joked about Streep. "And Meryl was Steven's firs choice for 'Lincoln.' I'd like to see that version." We'd all pay to see that version. Oh, but wait, he's not done yet. "Steven didn't have to persuade me to play Lincoln, but I had to persuade him that perhaps, if I was going to do it, 'Lincoln' shouldn't be a musical."
In Sexy Company
"I know what you're thinking … three sexiest producers alive," said Oscar-winning "Argo" producer Grant Heslov, a.k.a. the "Argo" producer who isn't George Clooney or Ben Affleck.
Jack Nicholson: FLOTUS Opening Act
So, Jack Nicholson was just there to introduce Michelle Obama -- via video -- so she could announce the Best Picture winner? Lame. And presenters don't even get those swanky gift baskets anymore, right? Can't believe Jack agreed to leave home for that.
The Last Song
We'd gotten quite enough of self-referential red carpet interviewer Kristen Chenoweth during ABC's pre-show. By the time she and Seth MacFarlane broke into a song tribute to the evening's losers, it was time for everyone to head off to those post-Oscar parties … and those of us at home to head off to bed.
Maybe not the first name you'd guess if you were asked to predict who would give one of the classiest acceptance speeches of the night, but give it up to Best Original Screenplay winner Quentin Tarantino, who used part of his speech to praise his fellow screenwriters. "I would like to say it's such an honor to get (an Oscar) this year, because … the writing is just fantastic," the "Django Unchained" writer and director said. "This will be the writer's year, man. I love the competition."
"Argo" director and co-producer seemed genuinely humbled to find himself back on stage accepting an Oscar (15 years after his "Good Will Hunting" win), but while thanking his wife, Jennifer Garner, he also mentioned that "marriage is work, but it's the best work there is." Just guessing, but it might be a little more work than usual after that very public comment on his private life.
You Know He Created "Family Guy," Right?
The joke about Chris Brown and Rihanna's relationship, a bit about nine-year-old Best Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis being too old for George Clooney in 16 years, and describing "Zero Dark Thirty" as the film about a "woman's innate ability to never let anything go" did not win MacFarlane much social media love from some viewers, who accused him of sexism. Politically incorrect, frat boy humor is kinda his thing, though, people. Being surprised at those jokes is like being surprised about violence in a Tarantino flick.
Best hair: Adele. Weirdest hair: Barbra Streisand's flat-ironed blond 'do. Best dress: Jennifer Lawrence's amazingly fluffy Dior Couture gown was among them, at least until it tried to eat her when she went to snag her Oscar. Weirdest dress: Naomi Watts' odd silver Armani cut-out dress. It wasn't exactly ugly, but just looked like a big piece had been, maybe accidentally, snipped away from the top.