After years of flipping the formula, the 84th Academy Awards returned to its roots—winners returned as presenters, Billy Crystal delivered a worn routine and even Oscar icon Meryl Streep went home a winner. Amid the by-the-book telecast, these five women brought their own spirit to the ceremony—and elevated the Awards in the process.?
1. Viola Davis
Despite losing a close race for Best Actress, Davis—boldly wig-free–was the first nominee to leap to her feet to congratulate winner Meryl Streep.
2. Octavia Spencer
Through a tearful speech, the Best Supporting Actress winner managed to quip, “Thank you Academy for putting me with the hottest guy in the room.”
3. Emma Stone
The reliably hilarious star made a risky bit—playing an over-enthused first-time presenter desperate for An Oscar Moment—work. Begging Jonah Hill to join her onstage for a dance showed the kind of youthful comic energy the Academy must have had in mind when they hired Anne Hathaway and James Franco last year.
4. Esperanza Spalding
The jazz singer famous for snatching the Best New Artist Grammy away from Justin Bieber and Florence and the Machine last year performed “What A Wonderful World”– a perfect soundtrack to an In Memorium reel that spotlighted legends such as Whitney Houston and Elizabeth Taylor.
5. The Bridesmaids
Fifth is a six-way tie for the fabulous Bridesmaids who showcased their sisterhood, taking the stage hand-in-hand in a parade of diverse dresses. The comedy that followed showed what could have been had the gang been given hosting duties.