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The Oscars’ least exciting moment

It's the moment the entire night has been building toward -- the envelope denoting which film has been voted best picture is about to be opened. And the voice asking for a drumroll, please, belongs to one of the same four or five people.

The best picture presenter, the marquee spot of the evening, is a low-pressure, high-reward job -- and it used to reward rarely seen legends of Hollywood (Lillian Gish in 1981, Loretta Young in 1982, Laurence Olivier in 1985), or exciting, ascendant stars (Eddie Murphy in 1988, Cher in 1989, Jack Nicholson in 1972 -- before he'd won an Oscar). Given to the right person, it can honor a new star or pay homage to a star who isn't so familiar as to be unremarkable.

But these days, it's more likely to be a present-day Jack Nicholson than either a hot young thing or an intriguing recluse; the actor has presented seven times, and was one of the two final presenters announced by the academy today. (The other one? Dustin Hoffman, who's presented the trophy twice.)

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