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RECAP: The Highlights From The Academy Awards

The 82 Annual Academy Awards started off with quite a surprise with a line-up of its biggest stars and nominees from Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock, Morgan Freeman and Meryl Streep taking the stage. RadarOnline.com gives you all the highlights from the big show!

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Neil Patrick Harris took over after the opening introductions, doing a song-and-dance complete with his own glitzy chorus line, before the real hosts of the night-Steve Martin and Alex Baldwin- were literally lowered onto the stage from the rafters. After sashaying into the foreground, they quickly got into their comedic acts, lampooning everyone from Meryl, Dame Helen Mirren, Woody Harrelson and Vera Farmiga.

Starting off the accolades, Penelope Cruz handed out the award for Best Supporting Actor. Not a surprise, the award went to Inglourious BasterdsChristoph Waltz. After a speech covering all the people who brought the film to life, Waltz exited the stage to make way for Ryan Reynolds who introduced the first Best Picture nominee: The Blind Side.

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After the commercial break, Cameron Diaz and Steve Carrell introduced an animated montage of the top cartoon characters of the past year talking about being nominated. The winner for Best Animated Feature went to Up, one of the most heartwarming films of the year. Young Hollywood made their first appearance of the night thanks to Amanda Seyfried and Miley Cyrus introducing Best Original Song, which went to Ryan Bingham and T. Bone Burnett for Crazy Heart’s A Weary Kind.

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Star Trek’s Chris Pine soon followed, giving his introduction on Best Picture nominee District 9 from a platform in the middle of the auditorium. Tina Fey and Robert Downey Jr. then had their moment, riffing off one another as they highlighted the tension between actor and writers. Mark Boal from The Hurt Locker walked away with the prize. Eighties stars Molly Ringwald and Matthew Broderick followed up Boal’s sweet dedication to his recently passed father with a tribute to John Hughes. After clips from his biggest films, the biggest stars from those movies also took the stage to offer their own words in honor of Hughes.

Zoe Saldana and Carey Mulligan shared the stage next to announce the winners for Best Animated Short (Logorama),  Best Documentary Short (Music by Prudence), Best Live-Action Short (The New Tenants). Funnyman Ben Stiller added a welcomed burst of energy, coming onto the stage dressed as a character from Avatar to present the award (fittingly) for Best Makeup to the team from Star Trek.

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A cool and collected Jeff Bridges then introduced Best Picture nominee A Serious Man. After a short break, Rachel McAdams and Jake Gyllenhaal (hmm, they make a great-looking couple!) awarded Geoffrey Fletcher with the award for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on Precious: Based on the Novel Push’ by Sapphire. Host Martin made a brief appearance to introduce his former co-star Queen Latifah who honored Roger Corman and Lauren Bacall who won the Governors Award.

On to a bigger prize, Robin Williams gave away the Best Supporting Actress Award (fun fact: Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem actually sat next to each other, even holding hands as the cameras panned over to them while she was introduced) to the favorite to win: Mo’Nique. Surprisingly, she kept it short and sweet! She showed a lot of class and gratitude. Speaking of class, handsome Colin Firth (also a nominee) was up next, introducing the montage for An Education.

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Avatar finally got a win (given out by one its stars Sigourney Weaver) for Best Art Direction. For Best Costume Design, fashionistas Tom Ford and Sarah Jessica Parker handed the award to Sandy Powell for Young Victoria. Speaking of fashion favorites, Charlize Theron made an appearance to introduce nominee Precious.

After a spoof of Paranormal Activity by Baldwin and Martin, Twilight stars Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner took the stage (as the symphony bizarrely played over their introduction of some top horror moments). Afterwards, other young stars Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick paved the way for a Morgan Freeman-narrated montage about last year’s Best Sound Editing winners for Dark Knight. The Hurt Locker won this year for editing and for Best Sound Mixing. Keeping up with the technological part of film, Elizabeth Banks did a quick recap of this years Scientific and Technical Oscars.

Next up, John Travolta paid tribute to his Pulp Fiction director Quentin Tarantino by introducing Inglourious Basterds.

Sandra Bullock was next up, warming up her vocal chords to announce the winner for Best Cinematography: Avatar. This was followed by a stunning Demi Moore who led a tribute to the fallen industry names who passed away this year by introducing James Taylor singing a somber, beautiful acoustic version of My Life.

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Increasing the sexiness factor, Jennifer Lopez and Avatar’s Sam Worthington appeared to introduce interpretive dance performances for the Best Original Score nominees. The award went to Up. Bradley Cooper next awarded Avatar the Best Visual Effects statuette before Jason Bateman introduced Up In The Air.

Matt Damon may have lost in his category earlier in the night, but he was still dapper and charming as he gave the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature to The Cove. Industry heavy weight Tyler Perry then announced the Best Film Editing winner The Hurt Locker. Keanu Reeves then introduced the war movie’s Best Picture nominee montage (Hurt Locker‘s Kathryn Bigelow directed Reeves in Point Break).

After a break, Pedro Almodovar and Tarantino awarded El Secreto de Sus Ojos with the Best Foreign Language Film. Kathy Bates, who was in Titanic, introduced the montage for Avatar.

For the Best Actor category, the nominees were introduced by fun anecdotes from past co-workers. Michelle Pfeiffer did Jeff Bridges (who teared up as she spoke), Vera Farmiga introduced her Up In The Air partner George Clooney, Julianne Moore gave heartfelt remarks for Colin Firth, Tim Robbins feted his Shawshank Redemption co-star Morgan Freeman and Colin Farrell roasted and toasted Jeremy Renner. The honor of passing out the award however went to last year’s Best Actress winner Kate Winslet. As expected, Jeff Bridges walked away with the golden prize, jubilant as he shook his statuette in the air while the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Ending his speech filled with thanks to everyone who helped bring him to the moment, he thanked his wife Sue and gave shout outs to their three children.

After a commercial break, it was the ladies’ turns. Forest Whitaker introduced Sandra Bullock (who he directed in Hope Floats), Michael Sheen did Helen Mirren, Peter Sarsgaard feted Carey Mulligan, Oprah Winfrey honored a teary Gabourey Sidibe, and Stanley Tucci gave effusive praise to Meryl. Last year’s Best Actor winner Sean Penn followed up the heartfelt words to announce the winner: Sandra Bullock! After a standing ovation, Bullock started out joking about simply wearing voters down and then turned to honor her fellow nominees.

How to follow up her terrific speech? By bringing legendary Barbara Streisand to the stage to read the Best Director nominees, handing out the prize to Bigelow- the first woman to ever receive the honor. Tom Hanks was next up, hurrying to the stage to announce the Best Picture win for The Hurt Locker. Not bothering to read off the nominees, the actor got right to it, tearing open the envelope and quickly rattling off the news. The jubilant cast hit the stage, throwing their arms up in the air in celebration.

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