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Contrary to what one might expect, precious few movie trailers actually aired during the Oscars (Academy regulations, surprise surprise). By our count, we got Oz, the Great and Powerful, The Heat, and a G.I. Joe: Retaliation spot during the pre-show, and not much else.
The real celebrity power was to be found in other advertisements. In addition to Natalie Portman doing the "J'adore Dior" thing, Tommy Lee Jones for Ameriprise, and that Brad Pitt Chanel No. 5 ad that Saturday Night Live had so much fun with, there were some brand new, star-studded ads. So whose celebrity came out looking the best?
Willem Dafoe for Mercedes
A good bunch of the ads on Sunday night were carry-over Super Bowl ads, including the "Sympathy for the Devil" Mercedes spot, featuring Dafoe, Usher, and Kate Upton. As far as image enhancement goes, Dafoe hasn't been Oscar-nominated since 2000's Shadow of the Vampire, so maybe playing the Prince of Lies here will remind people what an effective villain he can be.
Jennifer Aniston for Aveeno
It's a good ad for Jen's image — she's active! She's relatable! She's picky about the products she endorses! It's like a less-funny version of those ads Julia Louis-Dreyfus did for Healthy Choice. It doesn't hurt Aniston's image, but it doesn't necessarily help it.
Tim Burton for Samsung
The six-part Samsung ad revolving around "Unicorn Apocalypse" was funny and played into Burton's weirdo image pretty well. The ads were entertaining, while Burton was likeable and juuuuust a bit aloof, which is the secret to pitching ads without looking like you're pitching ads.
David Fincher, Indiana Jones, and the Delorian from Back to the Future for iPad
The best way to do an ad is to not actually do an ad. Apple's spot touting the movie- watching and making ability of the newest iPad featured movie clips from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Back to the Future, as well as Fincher's name on a movie slate. All that iconic imagery without having to lift a finger? Mr. Fincher, we salute you.
More from Tribeca:
Tribeca's Alternative Oscars