Billy Crystal scored plenty of laughs in his opening skit at the 84th Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday (26 February, 2012). The veteran comedian starred in a promo in which he parodied hotly tipped movies for this year's ceremony, including The Artist, Moneyball and The Descendants.
In one scene lifted from Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, Crystal is seen chatting with teen sensation Justin Bieber about how to improve ratings. Bieber told him, "Come here..I'm here to get you the 18-24 demographic. So how long do you want me to wait here for.we're gonna go head out with Hemmingway and Fitzgerald". Later, he's seen watching this year's nominated movies, including Martin Scorsese's 'Hugo', in which he asked, "Are you sure this is a Scorsese movie? Nobody's gotten whacked yet". In an anticipated singing routine, Crystal poked fun at nominated actor Jonah Hill and his weight loss in particular. On Terrence Malick's avant-garde flick 'The Tree of Life', which gained huge praise but confused some audiences, Crystal sang, "I heard it even freaked out God. Explain it Malick".
The likes of Viola Davis and Tony Bennett were seen clapping enthusiastically after the skit, with Crystal introducing actor Tom Hanks to present the first award and get the evening underway. Hugo won the statuette - which was awarded in the category of 'Cinematography'.