Moments to remember from Oscar 2012

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The Oscar telecast takes hours, but it’s the moments we remember.

Just a few of them, of course _ ones that are so emotional, funny, or bizarre that they’ll stand out in our collective memories, candidates for future Oscar montages, of course, but also for office watercooler talk. Here’s a running look at some of the Oscar moments we may be talking about in the morning:

MAIS C’EST FORMIDABLE!

The evening had a decidedly French accent, thanks to best-picture winner “The Artist,” and one of its most charming moments was the acceptance speech by Jean Dujardin, best actor for his wordless (almost) turn as silent film star George Valentin. “I love your country,” he exclaimed, adding that if Valentin could speak, he’d say: “Wow! Amazing! Great!” and a few other things, including a rather salty colloquialism. It was all still charming. He didn’t seem too upset that a few days ago he was upset for best actor at the Cesar awards, France’s equivalent to the Oscars.

BONJOUR BILLY!

Last year, the joke-starved Oscar audience was so thrilled to see Billy Crystal by the time he showed up that they gave him a standing ovation _ before he even said a word. (Many felt hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway lacked enough comic spark). Now back as host, Crystal was greeted warmly if less ecstatically as he launched into his timeworn routine: first the montage where he inserts himself into films _ he even got a kiss from George Clooney in his “Descendants” hospital bed _ and then his medley of songs. “You didn’t think I wasn’t gonna do this, did ya”? he quipped. No, we didn’t.

LISTEN TO YOUR ELDERS

It was a night that celebrated veterans and those of a certain age, which may be why Crystal, in a search for a bit o’ youth, brought Justin Bieber into his “Midnight in Paris” bit. Later he was even blunter: “We’re gonna slam the 78 to 84 demographic,” he said. Next year, he added, we’d be in the Flomax Theater, referring to the prostate medication. The old-age reference became a running theme. After 82-year-old Christopher Plummer won the supporting actor prize, Crystal quipped: “The average age for winners has just jumped to 67.”

MERYL AND MARRIAGE

From longevity in life to longevity in marriage: One of the most moving moments of the night came when Meryl Streep, winning best actress for “The Iron Lady,” thanked her husband, Don Gummer _ not at the end, but at the beginning of her speech, so that the music wouldn’t drown out the acknowledgement as it often does.

“Everything I value most in our lives, you gave me,” Streep said tearfully.

Then she thanked a man she called her other partner: J. Roy Helland, her makeup artist on every movie for 37 years _ who had quite a night, also taking home a statuette for transforming Streep into Maggie Thatcher.

“Thanks Meryl, for keeping me employed for the last 37 years,” said Helland, who won with Mark Coulier.

I’M FREAKING OUT!

The first emotional moment of the evening came with Octavia Spencer’s expected yet still heartwarming supporting actress win for her turn as a tart-tongued maid in “The Help.” From tart-tongued to a little tongue-tied: “Please wrap up …I’m wrapping up!” she cried. “I’m freaking out!”

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