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Women ruled the Oscars

The women killed it at the musical variety show that was the 85th Academy Awards.

Barbra Streisand, Adele, Shirley Bassey, Jennifer Hudson, Michelle Obama, my wife (well, singing along from our lofty perch at the Dolby Theater) and Catherine Zeta-Jones were just some of Sunday’s highlights.

Streisand sung a deliciously soft version of The Way We Were during the In Memoriam segment by way of tribute to her late friend, the composer Marvin Hamlisch. She hasn’t lost it. Sheer majesty.

Adele belted out her Oscar-winning Skyfall song accompanied by a string section that sawed away furiously to keep up with the Brit’s massive voice. She was one of several winners who seemed genuinely moved to tears during her acceptance speech.

Earlier in the evening none other than Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey took to the stage for a nostalgic blast of Goldfinger that instantly yanked me back to Boxing Day TV marathons of yesteryear. She looked great and was clearly thrilled to be there as part of the show’s 50th anniversary tribute to James Bond.

The sonic thunderstorm that is Jennifer Hudson bossed the stage when she delivered And I Am Telling You from Dreamgirls, while Catherine Zeta-Jones tore through a number from Chicago with typical lustiness. It was fun to watch her join Chicago cohorts Queen Latifah, Rene Zellweger and Richard Gere in presenting the Oscar to Adele.

Channing Tatum hoisted Charlize Theron into the air during an early dance number, Jennifer Lawrence tripped on her way to collect her lead actress Oscar but made it look funny, Michelle Obama bantered with Jack Nicholson via satellite link from the White House – these women were classy, confident and cool as hell.

The cast of Les Misérables performed a rousing rendition of Do You Hear The People Sing and what was rather cool about this was the way household names were prepared to take part in unfussy ways.

Oscar winner Anne Hathaway took stage alongside Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, while in the background stood Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, just being part of the song without any need to hog the limelight.

George Clooney echoed their modesty at the end of the night when he stood to the side, beaming away while Ben Affleck delivered his touching words of thanks.

Academy telecast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron know that an army of viewers marches on its stomach, so it was a nice touch when attendants handed out popcorn to those of us up in the gods. Just one request: can you dust them with sugar next time?

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