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Peter Travers: Oscar Moments

Nine highlights – funny, emotional, eye-popping

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Host Billy Crystal recycled old material but was a huge improvement over last year's Franco/Hathaway debacle. Best Crystal line: "Enjoy yourselves, because nothing can take the sting out the world's economic problems like watching millionaires present each other with golden statues."

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Sacha Baron Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen hit the Oscar red carpet dressed in the costume he wears in The Dictator and carrying what he claimed were the ashes of deceased North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il. Flinging ash at visibly annoyed E host Ryan Seacrest, Baron Cohen said, "When somebody asks what you are wearing, you will say, 'Kim Jong-Il."

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Octavia Spencer

Big emo moment when The Help's Octavia Spencer won a standing ovation from the crowd after winning the Oscar as Best Supporting Actress. "Thanks for putting me with the hottest guy in the room," she said, which sparked a sharp retort from Crystal about how The Help made him want to hug the first black woman he saw, "which in Beverly Hills is about a 45 minute drive."

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Christopher Plummer

Beginners supporting actor Christopher Plummer, at 82, became the oldest actor ever to win an Oscar. The Academy has been stupidly ignoring him for years (he was great as Mike Wallace in The Insider). Hugging the golden dildo, Plummer whispered: "You're only two years older than me, darling. Where have you been all my life?"

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Meryl Streep

With more nominations (17) than any actor in Academy history, Meryl Streep was refreshingly honest after grabbing the Oscar for The Iron Lady. "When they called my name I could hear half of America going, 'Oh no. Oh, come on. Why her? Again?'" Streep also promised that her third Oscar would be her last. Oh, come on. She's about to film one of the juiciest female roles ever written in the film version of the Tony-winning August: Osage County.

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Jean Dujardin

French charmer Jean Dujardin left his Best Actor rivals George Clooney and Brad Pitt in tears (OK, maybe just acutely disappointed – they're still pretty) by walking off with the Best Actor trophy for The Artist. "Oui! I love your country," he said before slipping into his native tongue and dropping the word merde, which is what Melissa McCarthy did in the sink in Bridesmaids.

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Uggie

Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier who stole The Artist, made Oscar history by climbing to the stage to accept the Best Picture trophy. Oscar saved the best for last. Throw this dog a bone.

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