With all his talk of taking his proper place back at the Oscars helm after watching duo James Franco and Anne Hathaway sleepwalk their way through last year's ceremony, Billy Crystal steered the 84th Academy Awards into safe but surprisingly tame waters last night, at Los Angeles' Kodak Theatre.
Crystal launched into one of his trademark musical montages to start proceedings, enlisting stars including George Clooney and Tom Cruise as he lampooned this year's crop of recognised films.
Here is the night in quotes:
"You inspired the movie and you're the soul of the movie and the positive feeling of the movie. Thank you for being in the movie and in my life" - Winner of the best director Oscar for The Artist Michel Hazanavicius to his wife, Berenice Bejo, who starred in the film.
"It's six in the morning in Paris. Go to bed" - Hazanavicius again, this time to his children watching the ceremony at home in France.
"I really want to thank all my colleagues, all my friends, I look out here and see my life before my eyes, my old friends, my new friends and really this is such a great honour but the thing that counts the most with me is the friendships and the love and the sheer joy we have shared making movies together" - Meryl Streep after winning the third Oscar of her career for her role in The Iron Lady.
"You're only two years older than me darling, where have you been all my life?" - Supporting actor winner 82-year-old Christopher Plummer addresses his Oscar statuette.
"Please wrap up, I'm wrapping up, I'm sorry I'm freaking out. Thank you world" - An emotional Octavia Spencer after winning the supporting actress gong for The Help.
"This is my ninth time, my ninth time hosting the Oscars, so tonight just call me war horse" - veteran host Billy Crystal opening the awards show.
"At this time many Iranians all over the world are watching us and I imagine them to be very happy. They are happy not just because of an important award or a film or a filmmaker, but because at the time when talk of war, intimidation, and aggression is exchanged between politicians the name of their country, Iran, is spoken here through her glorious culture, a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics. I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, the people who respect all cultures and civilisations and despise hostility and resentment" - Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi who won the Oscar for best foreign film.
"I'm wearing John Galliano but the socks are from K-Mart. As Saddam Hussein once said to me 'socks are socks - don't waste money'" - Sacha Baron Cohen who walked down the red carpet in character from his film The Dictator.
Pictures from inside the Oscars: