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Oscars had international flavor

It was more "Ooo la la, Paris" than "Hooray for Hollywood."

The 84th Academy Awards, Tinseltown's annual bow to itself and those who best represent it, this year was dominated by international flavor.

Best picture, best actor and best director all were carried off by French professionals whose enthusiasm and fractured English added to their appeal.

On top of that Jean Dujardin, best actor winner, uttered a grateful "I love your country" while hugging Uggie, "The Artist" dog-star who wagged approval.

Black-and-white and silent, "The Artist" recounts the downfalls of Dujardin and sizzling 'It Girl' Peppy Miller as the coming of sound to films spells their downfall.

The silent film - except for two spoken words, "With pleasure!" - was a rare choice for Hollywood voters who might have turned their backs on such a throwback.

Not a surprise to see Meryl Streep named the winning actress. She's won before and has perennially been nominated. Her close contender, Viola Davis of "The Help", however, previously had, by many been considered a shoo-in.

Besides the stars and the films, however, were the dresses.

Many were knockouts; many were not (J-Lo's funny thing with the peek-a-boo sleeves, and Meryl Streep's gold dress that looked like an Oscar.) And did Angelina Jolie come off as some kind of show-off?

Penelope Cruz's grayish-lavender gown was my way-out-front favorite.

Critics lampooned the jewelery. But what's not to like about big, flashy diamonds?

Overall, the Academy Awards this year appeared to me as a celebration of those who - lifelong - have had a love affair with movies.

Presenters, photographers, and various other technical types talked of their growing up days, with Saturday matinees as the week's highlight.

A different interesting comment was by an award-winning writer who thanked his parents for never having asked him, "When are you going to get a real job?"

Always a fun night, this year's extravaganza however, was something less. In paring down to fit the time frame, producers have cut out some of the fun.

Next year's producers, please note: Corny our not, "Hooray for Hollywood" is a perfect ending for Oscar night.

Thank you!

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