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Backstage at Oscars: Jokes and high-fives fly

Long-winded speechifiers can blab all they want on Thank-You Cam
/ Source: The Associated Press

It was a celebrity mash-up backstage at the Academy Awards as A-list presenters and winners met and mingled in the crowded wings, stage right.

When the show ended, the hallway was jammed with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including best-director winner Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Jack Nicholson, a star of Scorsese’s “The Departed,” which also won for best picture.

Reese Witherspoon teased the newly bald Nicholson, who shaved his head for a role.

“I like your hairdo,” she said. “You’re bringing sexy back.”

Spielberg advised Scorsese to keep an eye on his winner’s envelope.

“I lost mine at the Governor’s Ball, and we searched for it for 85 minutes,” Spielberg said. “We found it, thank goodness.”

Encounters between celebrities occurred nonstop throughout the evening.

Tom Hanks met Anne Hathaway. And Naomi Watts bumped into George Clooney, literally, as he left the stage and she prepared to take it.

And where else but the Oscars could you see a line for the bathroom that included Jack Black, Jerry Seinfeld and Robert Downey Jr.?

Greg Kinnear and Steve Carell were backstage when Alan Arkin, their co-star in “Little Miss Sunshine,” won the supporting-actor award.

“Wow, congratulations,” Kinnear told Arkin.

“I was really moved,” Arkin replied.

Kinnear said he and Carell were so nervous they “were about to puke” before the award was announced.

Ellen offers to adopt young Jaden SmithEarlier in the evening, host Ellen DeGeneres stopped young Jaden Christopher Syre Smith to compliment him on his role in the “Pursuit of Happyness” alongside his father, Will Smith.

“If you ever get sick of living with your parents, I’ll take you,” DeGeneres told him.

Melissa Etheridge, a winner for her song “I Need to Wake Up” from “An Inconvenient Truth,” yelled “you’re funny” when she passed DeGeneres’ dressing room.

“You’re funny and pretty and sweet and a singer,” DeGeneres replied.

Winners had a chance to use a new Web-based “Thank-You Cam” backstage to avoid reading a lengthy list onstage.

Jennifer Hudson thought about using the camera after she won the best supporting actress award but then couldn’t remember who she wanted to thank.

“I can’t think right now,” she said.

Will Smith passed Hudson backstage.

“You’re a pro now,” he told her.

Smith also crossed paths with Nicholson, who asked for directions to the stage.

Al Gore was introduced to Seinfeld after “An Inconvenient Truth” won the documentary feature award.

“Man, global warming has to be the hardest way to win an Oscar,” the comedian told the former vice president.

Elsewhere, Hathaway approached Hanks and said, “I don’t know you, but can I hug you?”