Even Justin Bieber can’t save the Oscars.

The teenage pop sensation appeared for an awkward few seconds in a pre-recorded montage (below) starring host Billy Crystal in nominated film sequences in a blatant move to reach out to the younger demographic and more importantly, a recognition (or admission) by the Academy that the awards show tonight celebrates old Hollywood and throws its youth out onto the proverbial street.

Turns out this is possibly one of the most boring Oscar nights ever.

And who could possibly blame the 6,000 member strong Academy made up mostly white men aged 50 and above in a survey done by the Los Angeles Times? Taste was as old as Christopher Plummer’s five-decade career the moment Morgan Freeman appeared onstage at the “Chapter 11” Theatre (the Kodak name was removed due to its bankruptcy suits) to introduce Crystal (below), a “war horse” who was hosting his ninth show.

All 9 nominated Best Picture films combined had box-office revenue of less than a Harry Potter film, an evident statement of its lacklustre appeal with the masses. The films in competition were also set in an alienating past from Midnight in Paris with characters like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald in the 1920s, Hugo also in Parisian 20s, to The Tree of Life, which literally spanned the entire universe with cameo from dinosaurs in what was considerably the weakest Oscar year for nominations. At the rate the Academy continues to recognise smaller pictures that are more art-house than a tent-pole movie such as Lord of the Rings or Avatar, the awards is in danger of becoming irrelevant, high-brow even to the point of being obnoxious.

Old-school was indeed the theme for the night written according to a predictable script. The Artist, a paean to a forgotten era of silent black-and-white films, swept the biggest prizes of the night for Best Picture, Director and Actor, including Costume Design and Original Score, which was hardly a surprise. “I want to thank Billy Wilder,” said French director Michel Hazanavicius (above) repeatedly, referring to the famous writer-director who made classics like The Apartment, The Seven Year Itch and Some Like It Hot.

Hazanavicius beat sentimental favourite Martin Scorsese to the director prize, whose film Hugo, about silent actor and filmmaker Georges Méliès, picked up 5 awards in the craftsmanship categories for Cinematography, Art Direction, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects.

The supporting categories were lock-ins, as Octavia Spencer (above) won Supporting Actress for her feisty Minny Jackson role in The Help and Christopher Plummer (above), the 82-year-old actor whose career spans 5 glorious decades, received a standing ovation when he won a long overdue Best Supporting Actor for Beginners. “You’re only 2 years older than me darling, where have you been all my life?” jested Plummer.

Crystal, in a flat and pained performance throughout the night, quipped: “The average age of the winners has now jumped to 67.” Joining the veteran group was Woody Allen, 76 years old, who won Original Screenplay for Midnight in Paris and stayed true to his fine words with a non-appearance at the awards. The Descendants won Adapted Screenplay, its only win of the night (George Clooney lost Actor to Jean Dujardin of The Artist).

The night was steamrolling in a predictable fashion until an upset shook things up when Meryl Streep (above), appeared as shock as half the nation watching, won Best Actress for The Iron Lady, beating other favourites like Viola Davis. “Oh come on, why her? Again?” remarked the self-deprecating doyenne for her third win and record 17th nomination in history.

Memorable moments were few and far in between, with Emma Stone’s over enthusiastic act (below), Angeline Jolie’s showing off her damned silky leg (below), Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz desperately showing off their rears, and the cast of Bridesmaids all silly and drunk onstage (thank goodness their bowels weren’t affected) worthy of a second look. Chris Rock’s politically incorrect joke about black actors receiving crappy roles in animation movies made the dowdy night a wee exciting.

A highlight that received buzz on Twitterverse did not even happen during the awards show. Sacha Baron Cohen, in character as The Dictator, carried an urn filled with the ‘ashes’ of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and unreservedly spilled it on E! host Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet, who did not look amused at all.

While we loved the modern and devilish Cirque du Soleil acrobatic performance in a tribute to cinema, the usual montage showing off classic films such as Star Wars, The Godfather, Jaws, and When Harry met Sally was tedious and inevitable. The latter summed up the tone of the night – nostalgic, self-indulgent and plain old boring.

For a full winners list, see https://theurbanwire.sg/2012/02/27/oscarswinnerslive/