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Image: James Franco, Anne Hathaway
Gary Hershorn  /  Reuters
James Franco and Anne Hathaway may be brilliant actors, but Oscar hosts? Perhaps not quite as fantastic.
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updated 2/28/2011 12:01:33 AM ET 2011-02-28T05:01:33

Hollywood's Super Bowl was supposed be a match-up between Colin Firth and "The King's Speech" versus the nerds billionaire boys of "The Social Network," with some gimmes involving Christian Bale thrown in.

But that's so not what everybody is gonna be talking about now:

RELATED: Best quotes from the Oscars red carpet

Worst Oscars Ever? This was sizing up to be everything the Oscars are not supposed to be: clunky, amateurish, and pretty much lacking in actual entertainment value for those of us not picking up awards.

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Worst Moment of the Pre-Show: Sitting through the ABC countdown chatfest, which featured the biggest stars in the world and still managed to be really boring. Stop that!

Story: A royal night for 'The King's Speech'

Best Moment of the Opening: The two montages opening the show were one too many, but as we are fans of a) "Inception"; b) host-inserted award show videos; and c) Alec Baldwin and Morgan Freeman; we will give this part a pass, mainly because we have a sick feeling that the whole thing about to go downhill from here...

Worst Moment of the Opening: Realizing that James Franco and Anne Hathaway actually were going to keep hosting through the whole thing and it wasn't all an "Inception" dream. Blame Hugh Jackman for making us think good actors must be good hosts.

Worst Segue: One minute Hathaway is yelling something about lesbians and then...

Biggest WTF: And then Tom Hanks comes talking about "Gone With the Wind"...which already won, we're fairly sure. Like 60 years ago.

Best Save: Kirk Douglas isn't the obvious choice for a show aiming at a younger demographic, but the screen idol proved that his charm is undiminished, though the show did seem to kind of get sidetracked by his antics.

Story: Best Oscar quotes: No squirrel for Lawrence

Biggest Takeaway, Part One: For all the talk about Melissa Leo turning off voters with her personal For Your Consideration ad, she not only won, but she probably ensured that next year we'll see more of them.

Biggest Takeaway, Part Two: Oh, and that they'll keep using the dump button to bleep out inadvertent cursing.

Best Written Speeches: A tie. "Social Network's" Aaron Sorkin and "King's Speech" scribe David Seidler offered up wry, well-written speeches, which just got us wishing they'd been around to help out with this telecast.

Video: ‘King’ rules at the Academy Awards (on this page)

Best Commercial: Christian Bale dropping in a plug for the website of Dickie Eklund during a speech that ended on a moving note as he talked about his wife and daughter.

Worst Commercial: ABC letting us know that they were going to be airing the show for the next ten years, which didn't make us feel comforted at all.

Best Quip: "That's gross," said the divine Cate Blanchett, while presenting the make-up award to "The Wolfman." We already love her, but she wins geek points for knowing the sci-fi term for "Excellent work."

Best Star-Making Performance: Luke Matheny's vibrant, funny speech for Live Action Short Film was not only a jolt of energy for the show, but it made us want to watch whatever he does next. And really if you're going to be charming, it's probably not a bad idea to do it in a roomful of film executives.

Latest Entrance: Billy Crystal showed up and got a standing ovation, both for his past hosting work and in hopes he might stay and host the rest of this one.

Slideshow: 2011 Academy Awards (on this page)

Biggest Disconnect: Maybe we missed the memo, but for a show that was supposed to draw in the youth, it seemed to rely on old folks for its best bits.

Best (Delayed) Comeback: Robert Downey Jr. may have seemed a little prickly at the Golden Globes when Ricky Gervais made a stale joke about his past mishaps, but he andJude Law managed to mine his past for a funny bit on stage.

Best Musical Performance: As much asFlorence Welch andGwyneth Paltrow were terrific, Randy Newman not only got a deserved Best Song win but he gave a drily comic speech that killed.

Best Mom: Tom Hooper won for "The King's Speech," and then told how his mother basically found "The King's Speech" for him. Isn't that like a mom: First, she finds where you left your bookbag, then she finds you an Oscar-winning script.

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Best Host: Sandra Bullock delivered the goods while introducing the Best Actor nominees, making the whole thing seem fun and funny and unpretentious. Everything that this night wasn't, but could have been.

Best Firth Place Finish: "I have a feeling my career has just peaked," Colin Firth, who gave a charming, gracious speech that  belied the fact that him winning was kind of a lock.

Least Surprising: The show ran late, "The King's Speech" won Best Picture and those adorable kids from PS 22 who closed the show were terrific. (Next time, start with the kid singers, OK?)

OSCAR VIDEO! Ryan Seacrest vs. Mila Kunis

© 2012 E! Entertainment Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Photos: Awards show

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  1. In the beginning ...

    Hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway opened the show at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theatre on Feb. 27 in Hollywood, Calif. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. James Franco and Anne Hathaway

    Hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway had a laugh during the show's opening. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis

    "Social Network" star Justin Timberlake and "Black Swan" actress Mila Kunis presented the award for best animated feature to "Toy Story 3." (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Aaron Sorkin

    Writer Aaron Sorkin accepted the award for best adapted screenplay for "The Social Network." (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Melissa Leo

    Actress Melissa Leo dropped the F-bomb after winning the trophy for best supporting actress. Kirk Douglas (center) presented Leo with the award. (Gabriel Bouys / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem

    Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem presented the award for best adapted screenplay, which went to Aaron Sorkin. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Lee Unkrich

    Director Lee Unkrich accepted the Oscar for best animated feature film for "Toy Story 3." (Gary Hershorn / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Anne Hathaway

    Co-host Anne Hathaway sang a song that brought laughter from the audience as it teased actor and former Oscar host Hugh Jackman. (Gary Hershorn / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Anne Hathaway and James Franco

    The show's hosts got some laughs when they swapped attire (Hathaway in the tux and Franco in the gown) in a skit that followed a song performance by the actress. (Mark J. Terrill / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Christian Bale

    British actor Christian Bale accepted the Oscar for best supporting actor for his role in "The Fighter." At the end of his speech, Bale choked up as he thanked his wife and daughter. (Gary Hershorn / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. David Seidler

    Screenwriter David Seidler accepted the Oscar for best original screenplay for the film "The King's Speech." (Gary Hershorn / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman

    Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, who starred together in the 2008 movie "Australia," presented the award for best score, which went to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for "The Social Network." (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Russell Brand and Helen Mirren

    Russell Brand and Helen Mirren presented the award for best foreign film to "In A Better World." (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Richard King

    Richard King, the winner for best sound editing for the movie "Inception," addressed the audience as presenters Scarlett Johansson, second from right, and Matthew McConaughey looked on. (Gabriel Bouys / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law

    Robert Downey Jr., left, and Jude Law, who were co-stars in "Sherlock Holmes," presented an award. (Gabriel Bouys / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Oprah Winfrey

    Oprah Winfrey handed Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs their Oscars for best documentary feature for "Inside Job." (Mark J. Terrill / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Florence Welch

    Singer Florence Welch performed the song "If I Rise" from the movie "127 Hours." She sang with A.R. Rahman, who co-wrote the song with Dido. (Mark J. Terrill / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Randy Newman

    Randy Newman performed the Oscar nominated song "We Belong Together." Newman went on to win the award for best original song for "Toy Story 3" (Gary Hershorn / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Gwyneth Paltrow

    Actress Gwyneth Paltrow performed "Coming Home" from the motion picture "Country Strong," which was a nominee for best original song. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Billy Crystal

    Billy Crystal, who has hosted the Oscars several times in the past, made an appearance and told the crowd, "Some things never change: The producers asked me to say we're running a little long ... so here are the nominees for best picture." (Gary Hershorn / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Natalie Portman

    Natalie Portman addressed the crowd after winning the Oscar for best actress for her leading role in "Black Swan." (Mark J. Terrill / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Colin Firth

    Actor Colin Firth accepted the award for best actor for his role in "The King's Speech," which also won the award for best picture. Firth opened his speech with the quip, "I have a feeling my career has just peaked." (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. The big winners

    From left to right, "The King's Speech" producers Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Gareth Unwin stood in front of cast members as they accepted the award for best picture. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. The last song

    At the end of the show, the student choir from the New York City/Staten Island School PS 22 performed "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" with all of the Oscar winners on stage. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: 83rd Annual Academy Awards - Show
    Kevin Winter / Getty Images
    Above: Slideshow (24) 2011 Academy Awards - Awards show
  2. Image: 83rd Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
    Ethan Miller / Getty Images
    Slideshow (29) 2011 Academy Awards - Red Carpet
  3. Image: Anne Hathaway
    Chris Pizzello / AP
    Slideshow (44) 2011 Academy Awards - After parties
  4. Image: 83rd Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
    Ethan Miller / Getty Images
    Slideshow (29) 2011 Academy Awards red carpet - Red carpet
  5. Image: 83rd Annual Academy Awards - Show
    Kevin Winter / Getty Images
    Slideshow (24) 2011 Academy Awards red carpet - Awards show

Video: ‘King’ rules at the Academy Awards

  1. Closed captioning of: ‘King’ rules at the Academy Awards

    >> let's begin with highlights from the 83rd annual academy awards .

    >>> with stars showing old world style and flair, the oscars are always regal. but it was a movie about brittle royalty that stole the show.

    >> and the oscar goes to -- "the king's speech".

    >> the academy didn't stammer in crowning "the king's speech" with best film , best director for tom hooper and best actor for colin firth .

    >> i have a feeling my career's just peaked.

    >> a pregnant natalie portman earned best actress for " black swan ." she thanked her choreographer and fiance for her next role.

    >> my beautiful love benjamin who choreographed the film and who's now given me my most important role of my life.

    >> reporter: "the fighter's" christian bale and melissa leo both took home oscars for supporting actor and supporting actress .

    >> bloody hell. what a roomful of talented people. what am i doing here?

    >> reporter: leo who campaigned for the award seemed genuinely stunned she'd won.

    >> golly sakes, there's people up there, too.

    >> "inception."

    >> reporter: kwo.z

    >> reporter: "inception's" wins all came in technical categories for sound and cinematography.

    >> the dance of the brown duck.

    >> reporter: first time hosts anne hath and james franco even poked fun at charlie sheen .

    >> the weird part is i just got a text message from charlie sheen .

    >> reporter: withal all the pressure of a more contemporary oscar, a couple of known faces shared the spotlight.

    >> no, no. [ applause ]

    >> well, so, where was i?

    >> you know -- [ laughter ]

    >> reporter: afterle all the anticipation this was a night of few surprises where favorites took home the gold.

    >> reporter: and proved that hollywood dreams can come true. we'll have much more on the oscars throughout the morning from here in los angeles . for now, back to matt in new york.

    >> all right, meredith. thank you

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