Billy CrystalWhen Billy Crystal hit the stage last night in his much anticipated Oscar return, I definitely noted there were a few awkward moments, both in the audience and on stage alike.

Watching him was like watching an old friend return–that I got. But, to me, the fact that he didn’t acknowledge his absence of eight years was both good and bad.

Interestingly enough, Crystal didn’t really say anything about it at all; he just picked up from where he left off. His opening montage which featured him re-imagined in key scenes from the nominated pack was great. George Clooney’s kiss as he lay in a supposed coma was priceless, especially when he said to him: “Say I’m Batman!”

When he aped “Midnight In Paris,” Justin Bieber appeared in the horse-drawn carriage,and Sammy Davis, Jr. was in the back too! Always loved when Crystal did that impression, although he was criticized for being racially insensitive for appearing in blackface.

Hollywood is a company town, and he’s a company man. They like him,they really do!

Overall, he kept the show moving and his observations on several wins and winners were spot-on perfect. The In Memoriam piece was just terrific, with last year’s Grammy winner, Esperanza Spaulding just outstanding.

I wish my personal favorite “The Decendants” had won more awards. I thought Clooney gave the performance of a lifetime; but, it did win for best Adapted Screenplay.

It was also great to see Meryl Streep win again. The Iron lady wasn’t one of my favorites this year, but her portrayal of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was stunning.

It was also terrific to see Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” win award after award, although sadly he was passed over for Best Director. I haven’t seen it, but I hear it’s nothing short of terrific.

Crystal tweeted before the show: “Opening number changed. War Horse broke his leg, had to put him down.” That was one of his funniest lines, too bad he didn’t save it for the show.

One of the funniest lines I heard this morning was from Deadline Holywood’s Nikki Finke: “Presenter Tom Hanks loves to pretend he’s The Mayor Of Hollywood. Onstage with that beard, he looks like the boat captain on a box of frozen fish sticks. Isn’t he in a movie about skipper vs the Somali pirates?”

All in all, a pretty tightly-knit show, and you know what? I didn’t even miss Eddie Murphy!

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Movie “50/50 Powerful

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

I just saw over the weekend the movie “50/50” with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anna Kendrick and was blown away. Levitt’s character is diagnosed with cancer.

Levitt plays a 27-year-old journalist with a girlfriend Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard), who is disliked by his best friend and co-worker Kyle (Seth Rogen).

Adam must undergo chemotherapy and learns that his chances of survival are 50/50. After Adam reveals his diagnosis, his overbearing mother, Diane (Anjelica Huston), is determined to move in with him. He rejects this offer, however, in favor of Rachael.

Rogen, as his best friend, is just stellar and Kendrick (“Up In The Air”) is dazzling as an inexperienced therapist who forms an unusual relationship with her patient.

I’ve always liked Rogen, but here, especially in the more emotive moments, he’s stunning. If you haven’t seen this, please do. It’s memorable, moving and terrific!

Names in the News

Mary Wilson, Mark Bego, Norby Walters, Bobby Mcleod, Tony Noto, Roy Trakin, Joel Diamond, Rebecca Holden, David Adelson, Bob Austin, Mike Sigman, Marcia Bird, Clay Cole, Keith Girard, James Edstrom.