Having previous winners laud nominees in specific categories got good reviews.
We found the approach touching in the actress categories. It didn't work quite as well for the men.
Especially when Michael Douglas repeatedly praised Frank Langella's Oscar-nominated performance as Richard Nixon in "Frost/Nixon" as having rendered all others obsolete. Anthony Hopkins, who played Nixon in Oliver Stone's 1995 bio-pic, was standing practically right next to him onstage.