Best: Neil Patrick Harris' Musical Monologue
You hire Neil Patrick Harris to host your awards show for two reasons: He's very good at the job; and the man knows how to turn an opening monologue into a full-blown, Broadway-style spectacle. Which is exactly what he did at the start of his first time MC-ing the Oscars, breaking into an ode to the movies being like "a magic trick, done in plain sight." He namechecked Chaplin, Brando and Marty McFly from Back to the Future; he inserted himself into scenes from The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars and Into the Woods. When that musical's star Anna Kendrick came onstage, the two started to sing a duet — only to be interrupted by Jack Black, who starting bemoaning an industry devoted to superhero movies and cinema on your iPhone screens. It was a classy throwback and totally tongue-in-cheek, somehow both irreverent to the notion of Hollywood narcissism and reverent to the medium's history. It was, in essence, the complete Neil Patrick Harris package in a little under seven minutes.