Jeff Bridges, after years of unsung consistency, finally got what was coming to him, scoring the Oscar for the Best Actor for playing Crazy Heart's Bad Blake, an alcoholic country singer in need of redemption. (And he should also win an Emmy for best use of the word man in an acceptance speech.)
"Thank you, Mom and Dad, for turning me on to such a groovy profession," Bridges said, looking skyward in tribute to his late actor parents, Lloyd and Dorothy Bridges.
Making geniuses of all the Oscar prognosticators, however, was Mo'nique, who was favored to win Best Supporting Actress and, without a blink from presenter Robin Williams, did just that.
"First, I would like to thank the Academy for showing that it can be about the performance and not the politics," the 42-year-old comedian said in accepting the award for her breakout dramatic role as a monstrously abusive mom in Precious.
"I want to thank Miss Hattie McDaniel for enduring all that she had to so that I would not have to," Mo'Nique said, nodding to the Gone With the Wind star, the first black woman to win an Oscar, "[Precious producers] Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey, because you touched it—the whole world saw it." She went on to thank her lawyer, her families from Precious and BET, and, as always, her husband.
But while the supporting actress category was about as unsuspenseful as it gets, it's not like its male counterpart was a nail-biter or anything.
Christoph Waltz, a winner at Cannes nearly a year ago, capped off the most dominating awards seasons in recent memory for a European actor with the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
"Quentin, with his unorthodox methods of navigation, this fearless explorer, took this ship across and brought it in with flying colors, and that's why I'm here," the eloquent Austrian said, bringing his metaphorical tale of a journey well taken to a close.
But Inglourious Basterds' winning streak ended there, with the gory reimagining of World War II ultimately only going one for eight.
The Hurt Locker scribe Mark Boal ended up blowing past Quentin Tarantino, the early favorite to win for Best Original Screenplay. In addition to the usual suspects, including Bigelow, he thanked the 200,000-plus troops still serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, the thousands who didn't make it home, and his late father, who died just last month.
Tarantino didn't seem to let the loss spoil his time, though, going on to heartily applaud John Travolta, who introduced Inglourious Basterds as a Best Picture nominee, and to join Pedro Almodóvar in presenting Best Foreign Language Film to The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto De Sus Ojos) from Argentina.
"I want to thank the Academy for not considering Na'vi a foreign language," director Juan José Campanella said, more earnestly than not.