The Washington Post

Billy Crystal opens 2012 Oscars with montage, best picture song and Justin Bieber

Billy Crystal performs onstage during the 84th Annual Academy Awards. (Kevin Winter/GETTY IMAGES)

Crystal began his Oscar montage dressed as George from “The Artist.” (The role is really played by best actor nominee/ charming Frenchman Jean Dujardin.)

“I won’t host again,” the nine-time host said via silent film caption. Crystal also put in a not-very-subtle promotion for his film, “Parental Guidance.”

He then moved on to a scene from “The Descendants.” The film’s star George Clooney appeared and gave Crystal, playing the role of Clooney’s comatose wife, a kiss on lips. Crystal opened his eyes and said, “Is this the villa? George, let’s make pasta.”

“Moneyball” was up next, followed by Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris.” With his signature bangs swished over his eyes, Justin Bieber made an appearance in the film’s time traveling taxi.

“So how long do you want me to sit here for?” the teen heartthrob says, after explaining that he’s there to capture the 18 to 24-year-old demographic. Cut to Crystal in makeup and costume as Sammy Davis Jr. saying, “Is Biebs the young Sinatra or am I nuts?”

(Crystal’s decision to wear makeup to make him appear black has been criticized by some Twitter users.)

“Good luck, Bob,” the Biebs told Billy as the action moved to “The Help.”

Oscar nominee Octavia Spencer gave Crystal the very special (and very disgusting) pie from the book-turned-film, which segued nicely into the “Bridesmaids” bathroom scene. Crystal exclaimed, “Don’t eat the pie!”

This was followed by a “Hugo” bit, which was interrupted by Tom Cruise breaking through a window in “Mission Impossible” garb. Next, Crystal appeared as Tintin from “The Adventures of Tintin.” The segment featured a Men’s Warehouse joke. (Seriously.)

Watch the opening montage below.

“That was extremely loud and in­cred­ibly close,” Crystal said as the montage ended. “That’s how my relatives are watching the show.”

He then told the audience, “This is my ninth time [hosting,] so tonight just call me war horse.”

While his early jokes were met with a tepid reaction, Crystal got a big laugh with, “Nothing can take the sting out of the world’s economic problems like watching millionaires presenting each other gold statues.”

He then launched into a song about the best picture nominees: “You didn’t think I wasn’t gonna do this, did ya?”

What did you think about Crystal’s opening? Tell us in the comments.

Read reactions from Twitter below.

The last time Billy Crystal hosted the Oscars he actually looked like Billy Crystal.

— Jenn Med (@AldenteGuida) February 27, 2012

Way to shoehorn an outdated impression into the intro skit, Billy Crystal.#sammydavis #oscars

— Master Pancake (@MasterPancake) February 27, 2012

Why do people rip on Billy Crystal?I’ve enjoyed his movies, he’s doing excellent hosting, what’s the problem?

— John F (@johnjf125) February 27, 2012

Its an unpopular opinion in this room, but I love Billy Crystal as an #oscars host. And I love this opening.

— Jill Mader (@jillemader) February 27, 2012

A Sammy Davis Jr impression! And you thought Billy Crystal wouldn’t be current?#tweetroast

— Paul Provenza (@PaulProvenza) February 27, 2012

Billy Crystal in blackface followed immediately by The Help. We’ve come so far.

— Mike Byhoff (@mbyhoff) February 27, 2012


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