FORTUNE — At $1.6 to $1.8 million per 30-sec. spot, the Academy Awards are second only to the Superbowl as a high-value stage for advertisers to strut their stuff before a massive TV audience.
Apple (AAPL) ceded the Superbowl to Samsung, whose ad-agency sendup starring Seth Rogan and Paul Rudd ended up going viral on YouTube with more than 21 million hits.
The Oscars were a different story. The two companies went head-to-head Sunday night with Hollywood-themed commercials that highlighted their contrasting approach to the medium this season.
Samsung once again went for story-telling and star-power with a series of interconnected spots that dropped Lebron James’ name (again) and delivered director Tim (Frankenweenie) Burton but soft-pedaled Samsung’s Galaxy line.
There was nothing soft about Apple’s focus on its product line. Although the iPad commercial it debuted Sunday night showed the versatility of the format the company introduced last week, it’s not likely to go viral any time soon.
Below: Samsung’s spot with the Burton cameo and Apple’s Hollywood iPad ad.
UPDATE: See Apple’s “Think Different” man likes Samsung’s ad campaign