General rule of thumb for the Academy Awards. If your ceremony begins on Sunday, it needs to end before Monday. Audience members on the East Coast who stayed up to watch Birdman soar to a Best Picture win are likely dragging this morning, and it’s going to take more than a few cups of coffee to get the internal motors running.

But as long as the Oscars ceremony was on Sunday evening, I don’t think you could say that it ever dragged. (No, that is not a "rushing or dragging" joke, Whiplash fans.) As the ceremony stretched on into the night, there were more than a few standout moments that kept us engaged and entertained. Not Neil Patrick Harris’ interminable suitcase bit. That joke needed a better payoff. Instead, these are the five highlights from the Oscars telecast, the moments that we will be talking about and sharing for weeks. What were yours?

Neil Patrick Harris’ Tribute to Moving Pictures
It’s so important to set the right tone, and I thought the evening’s host, Neil Patrick Harris, struck that perfect balance between honoring Oscar’s past while celebrating the groundbreaking contemporary nominees. As the host sings, it was a magic trick done in plain sight, placing the talented NPH into famous scenes alongside everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Darth Vader. Anna Kendrick was a sweet addition. Jack Black was a distraction. ("Screens in our jeans?") In general, though, this was a tremendous kick off to what would end up being a largely enjoyable ceremony.

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