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Oscars 2012: Academy Awards Attract Big Stars (LIVE UPDATES)

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It's Oscars time again in Hollywood, and HuffPost Entertainment and our friends at Moviefone are here with live updates all throughout the show.

The 84th Academy Awards show was broadcasted live from the Hollywood & Highland Center in the heart of Los Angeles' Hollywood. Billy Crystal is hosting the program.

Here's a brief summary as reported earlier by the AP, followed by our exclusive HuffPost live blog.

Meryl Streep might join the acting three-peat club with a third Academy Award. Jean Dujardin could become the first Frenchman to win best actor. Christopher Plummer is in line to become the oldest acting winner ever at 82.

And "The Artist" is favored to become the only silent movie to take the best-picture prize since the first Oscar ceremony 83 years ago.

Along with Streep, Hollywood's big night on Sunday has plenty of returning stars, too, with past Oscar winners and nominees such as George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Glenn Close, Michelle Williams and Nick Nolte in the running again.

The show also has a returning favorite as ringmaster: After an eight-year absence, Billy Crystal is back for his ninth time as host.

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And "The Artist" has done it! The final award of the evening went to the picture that said the least.

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Colin Firth presented the award to Streep, who was on her 17th nomination. This is her third win.

"Oh my god, oh come on!" Streep said when she realized that the entire auditorium had taken to its feet for a standing ovation. "When I heard my name I had these feeling that half of America went 'Oh, come on, why her, again.' But ... whatever."

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Natalie Portman presented the award to the French star of 'The Artist,' who took to the microphone with a throaty, "Ouais!" before launching into a pre-written speech that mentioned the birth of the Academy Awards show itself. "Tickets were and the show lasted 15 minutes. Times have changed."

No mention of Uggie was made.

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@ vulture : Only three awards left: Best Actor, Actress, and Picture. And the in memoriam. #oscars

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The little silent film that could has won another big one at tonight's awards.

No surprises here. Despite the possibility of a Martin Scorsese upset, Michel Hazanavicius ended up bringing home the Best Director trophy at the 84th annual Academy Awards on Sunday.

This was the first nomination and win for the French director, who burst onto the scene this year with the critical darling, "The Artist," a semi-silent film that captured the rise and fall of George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), a silent movie star coming to grips with the increased popularity of talkies.

"I am the happiest director in the world right now," Hazanavicius said while accepting the award.

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A leggy Angelina Jolie presented the award for Best Original Screenplay, but Allen wasn't there to accept. The filmmaker just isn't one to attend the award shows.

The biggest star of the past segment, however, was certainly Angelina's leg. Crystal introduced her as the "original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," and a high slit over her right leg briefly stole the show.

The screenwriters who followed Jolie on stage aped her sexy pose to great applause.

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And then Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis came out in white tie and banged some cymbals in the lovely faces of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

Best original song went to "Flight of the Conchords" member Bret McKenzie, who wrote the soundtrack for "The Muppets."

Many have noted the poor quality of the microphones on the Oscar stage, and the TV audience is getting quite a bit of feedback.

@ alecbaldwin : I am officially announcing that I am re-making THE ARTIST with sound.

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After mocking Nick Nolte in a "what are they thinking" bit and joking about the Oscars' decision to not include any live music at the show, host Billy Crystal seems to be gaining some fans, like one of our fellow HuffPost editors Jessie Heyman.

@ jessieheyman : Has Billy just started trying? #oscars

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"You're only two years older than me, darling, where have you been all my life?" Christopher Plummer asked his Best Supporting Actor Oscar statuette. Plummer, who at 82 is the oldest winner in the Academy's history, joked that he came out of his mother's womb practicing his Oscar's speech. Plummer won for "Beginners."

"My wife Elaine deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for coming to my rescue every day of my life," he said.

Given Plummer's effortless grace and poise, we're going to believe him. This was a speech worth watching twice.

@ vulture : Christopher Plummer wins Best Supporting Actor: in 10 seconds before he takes stage, we wish our hardest he will sing Edelweiss #oscars

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Perhaps Billy Crystal's predictable performance is to blame, but Chris Rock isn't the only presenter that Twitter users seem to wish was hosting instead. While introducing the nominees for Best Visual Effects, Stone charmed the audience (both in person and at home) with her portrayal of a starry-eyed young actress basking in the limelight of the Oscars' stage. And she was actually funny!

Stiller, of course, was quick with a retort: "Look, kid, I get it. You're new. But perky gets old quick with this crowd."

The award went to "Hugo," its fourth win of the night.

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Chris Rock introduced the Best Animated Feature nominees with aplomb, mocking those who think acting in an animated film is hard work and wondering aloud why black actors can only play "a donkey or zebra" in animated films (Eddie Murphy, he's looking at you). In the end, "Rango" won the award many felt it richly deserved.

@ moviefone : Warning: If Rango does not win Best Animated Film, I will freak out on all of you!

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The Cirque du Soleil bit was theatrical, in a completely non-filmic way. Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow followed the high-flying circus folk with a sketch in which Paltrow was maligned by her co-presenter for being boring.

What's less boring, however, is that the widely favored "Paradise Lost 3" was snubbed in favor of "Undefeated," which took home Best Documentary Feature.

@ HuffPostCulture : And the Oscar for best documentary goes to "Undefeated" #Oscars #ParadiseLost3snubbed

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The magazine will honor the late journalist at its annual Oscars' fete, the Los Angeles Times reports:

Each table will hold a lighter engraved with the Hitchens quote, "Everyone has a book inside them, which is exactly where I think it should, in most cases, remain." The writer passed away Dec. 15 after a battle with cancer.

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@ HuffPostCulture : And "Hugo" sweeps the sound category, taking another for sound mixing #Oscars #technical awards

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Thought "Tree of Life" was expected to take the prize, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" pulled a very surprise win.

@ moviefone : Best Editing goes to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. You know it's a boring Oscars when a surprise Editing win causes 12 people to gasp.

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And we thought Paul McCartney had it rough. A tip of the hat to Buzzfeed for this sad roundup of Twitter users who have never heard of this year's Oscars' host.

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Spencer took home the award for Best Supporting Actress. She was heavily favored to win and choked back tears as she accepted and thanked her family, the state of Alabama and the Academy for "pairing me with the hottest man in the room" (she was referring to presenter Christian Bale).

@ moviefone : Christian Bale is about to read Octavia Spencer's name off of a card. And she will act surprised, because it is polite.

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Bullock joked that she was asked to speak in Chinese and asked the audience to forgive her "slight" German accent. Then she spoke briefly in German before announcing that "A Separation" won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film.

The movie is from Iran. Asghar Farhadi, the film's director, spoke fondly of the Iranian people and offered his film as a testament to a people who "despise all hostility."

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Be sure to keep checking back to this article for a list of all the night's winners.

Here's where we are so far:

Best Cinematography: Robert Richardson, "Hugo" Best Art Direction: Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schavo, "Hugo" Best Costume Design: Mark Bridges, "The Artist"

Best Makeup: Mark Coulier, J. Roy Helland, "The Iron Lady"

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From Billy Crystal's memory of watching movies with his wife in the '60s to Morgan Freeman telling us that "the original 'King Kong'" was his first movie, there's a heavy emphasis on film history at this year's awards show.

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@ HuffPostMedia : Yes. Yes it was. RT @HuffPostStyle: Was that a J.Lo nipslip? #Oscars

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Moviefone explains:

The Academy Awards Red Carpet is usually known as the glitziest and most glamorous event in pop culture, but the 2012 Oscars features a unique guest stepping into the spotlight: Reverend Mother Dolores Hart, the only nun to be a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the subject of this year's Oscar-nominated documentary: "God is the Bigger Elvis."

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After taking Best Cinematography, "Hugo" also won for Best Art Direction. Husband and wife team Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo accepted the award.

"I can't believe somebody put Cinematography first. It can only go up from here," Bob Richardson, the film's cinematographer said just moments ago.

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As Tom Hanks announced that "Hugo" won the first award of the night, for Best Cinematography Many took to Twitter to express disappointment with Crystal's opening.

@ marklisanti : Not enough Skrillex in this opening medley.

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"Nothing can take the sting off the world's economic problems like watching millionaires present each other golden statues," Crystal quipped before launching into a musical number.

Actors Jean Dujardin and Brad Pitt and directors Stephen Spielberg and Martin Scorcese were among the many stars to receive shout outs during his opening number, which was quite lighthearted and distinctly un-Gervais-ian in its tone.

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We'd recognize that voice even if we couldn't see him, but Freeman appeared on stage to introduce the 84th Annual Academy Awards with an opening video that featured host Billy Crystal in a number of this year's films, from "Moneyball" to "The Descendants," "Midnight In Paris" "The Help" "Bridesmaids" and more.

And yes, Justin Bieber was in the "In Paris" vignette of the reel "to get the 18 to 34 demographic."

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As we wait for the show itself to kick off, here's an in-depth look at an often overlooked Oscar category: Best Makeup.

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HuffPost's executive entertainment editor Michael Hogan picks his quote of the night. What was your favorite pre-show moment?

@ m1keh0gan : "Billy's got an amazing piece." - best quote of the night, by Brian Grazer

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He may need a new tux, but at least E!'s red carpet host didn't lose his sense of humor.

@ RyanSeacrest : My mom always told me to pack two jackets for red carpets, always wondered why. Now I know.

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Earlier on the red carpet, Ryan Seacrest mentioned that he heard George Clooney wasn't afraid of death or failure, and joked that Stacy Keibler wasn't afraid of anything.

"She's 7 feet tall. What's she afraid of?" Clooney joked. "She's afraid of low-flying planes ... She hit her head on the blimp."

"I love when they say 'Who are you wearing?' ... You're carrying someone on your back," Clooney joked.

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Academy Awards 2012: Red Carpet Arrivals
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