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At the Oscars, even the jokes had wrinkles

Out with the new. Back with the old.

And that's not just because The Artist, a largely silent film set in 1920s Hollywood, won so many awards, including best picture, actor and director at the Academy Awards ceremony.

The Descendants was the only one of the nine films nominated for best picture set in the present. "The Help" took place in the Jim Crow South. Terrence Malick's Tree of Life was set in 1950 Texas -- with an occasional flip back to the Dinosaur Age.

The whole night looked like an AARP pep rally, starting with an introduction by Morgan Freeman, who was followed by Billy Crystal, returning to host his ninth Oscar ceremony.. And age was his theme of the night. He did his usual comic medley of movie moments, including a sketch with George Clooney in The Descendants, urging Mr. Crystal to host the show. He promised "the youngest, hippest writers in town" and the camera panned to a group of drooping, old white men from the film Moneyball.

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