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Even though the ceremony itself ran just 3 hours, 13 minutes - which is comparatively short - it seemed a whole lot longer with the inclusion of comic bits that dragged and felt like filler. The normally solid Christopher Guest mockumentary crew pretended to be a focus group picking apart “The Wizard of Oz,” for example. Presenters Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow bickered while pretending to make a documentary; it had its moments only because Mr. Downey is so charismatic.

But more often, there were montages of nominees describing the movies they love best on a night when the quality of films and the love of a shared moviegoing experience should be self-evident. At the end of an awards season in which films about the silent era dominated, we were repeatedly told how we should feel.