February 22, 2015 11:00 PM

British accents make everything sound better – even a burn.

That was the theory tested by Oscars host Neil Patrick Harris with an assist from Selma star David Oyelowo.

“We’ve got some fine nominees from the U.K. with us tonight. David Oyelowo, so powerful as Dr. Martin Luther King,” said Harris to applause from the crowd.

“Oh, sure, now you like him,” Harris quipped when the room quieted.

The British star was, of course, snubbed from the Best Actor category this year, setting off a debate about race and the Academy Awards.

Following some uncomfortable laughs, NPH continued with the joke.

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“Help me prove everything sounds better in a British accent,” said Harris. “I’m going to give you the setup of a joke, and then I’ll let you do the punch line, and I think it’ll be way funnier because you’re a Brit.”

Said Harris, setting up the joke: “This year, we said goodbye to some beloved movie franchises …”

Oyelowo, reading the kicker from a cue card: “We saw the last ever Hobbit movie, the last ever Night at the Museum movie and the last ever attempt to remake Annie.”

“See! See! No, with a British accent, it’s not at all insulting. At all,” said Harris of the dig at the critically slammed reboot.

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