So in the past, I have honored the Oscars by doing a round up my favorite red carpet looks (2009, 2012, for example). But this year—and don't kill me for this—I just wasn't blown away by many looks. Yes, of course, everyone looked very beautiful but none of the dresses really wowed me.

You know what did impress me? Neil Patrick Harris. I thought, like Ellen last year, he managed to hit just the right note between impish, friendly, and just downright adorable. I thought his opening number was clever and fun, not the least because it was written by one of my fellow Williams College alums! Hosting the Oscars is a thankless job, and I thought NPH pulled it off!

(Also, on a random note, who knew Lady Gaga could sing like that?! Even so, Julie Andrews is still the best (just hearing her say 'Lady Gaga' made me smile) and her award presentation was so spot on classy.)

Did anyone else notice a concerted effort to add a creative eye to the visuals of the award show this year? Many pre-recorded cutaways (the tribute portion, the reading of non-acting-related nominations) involved quite beautiful visualizations. A lot focused on watercolor layerings of portraits and drawings, but my hands down favorites were the screens dedicated to Production Design.* The table top view, styled with emblematic props from the films, was evocative and arresting all at the same time. Plus it reminded me of Todd McLellan's gorgeous work, which is always a good thing, don't you think? Kudos, Oscars Art Directors!

*Note that I had to photograph my television to get these images, so forgive me for a bit of parallax and pixelation.

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