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Category: Helen Mirren

Oscars: Behind the scenes at rehearsals

Swank bigelowJeff Bridges gave a lead actress Oscar to Natalie Portman on Saturday afternoon at the Kodak Theatre. "Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!" Bridges shouted, signaling that Portman's acceptance speech was running long. Two minutes later, Bridges gave the same Oscar to Nicole Kidman. "Oh, you're Nicole Kidman? Hi, Nicole," Bridges said.

Neither actress was offended by Bridges' informal manner, since  neither was actually there. Bridges, who is nominated for lead actor this year for his performance in "True Grit," was one of dozens of stars who arrived to rehearse their roles in Sunday's Academy Awards, with the help of a small army of stand-ins. Celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, Robert Downey Jr., Halle Berry, Javier Bardem, Reese Witherspoon, Hilary Swank, Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Russell Brand, Helen Mirren and Jennifer Hudson practiced key skills like teleprompter reading, crossing the stage without tripping and pronouncing the foreign language nominees' names.

Some had pieces of their wardrobe along -- Swank brought some steep crystal-encrusted heels to try out, and her co-presenter for best director, Kathryn Bigelow, carried her gold shoes -- while most kept it casual.

"We're movin' around! We're everywhere!" said a hoodie-and-jeans-clad Kunis as she practiced her stage walk and waved at a very enthusiastic seat filler, who turned out to be Hudson's 18-month-old son.

Timberlake moonwalked downstage between takes.

"A pop-up mike?! That's cheeky," said Brand, as he practiced announcing with Mirren. "Don't stand over that, Russell," Mirren cautioned him with a wink.

"Do you want your publicist to have this or do you want it?" Downey was asked about his Oscar credential, which had a photo of the actor. "I want my hairdresser to have it, to duplicate that look," Downey said, before stepping into place to rehearse.

"They changed my words!" Bardem said, while squinting into the teleprompter. Told teasingly to breathe, he said, "I can't breathe in this," smoothing his hands over his blazer.

By day's end, the real Nicole Kidman had turned up. Dressed in a slinky red dress, Kidman, no stranger to the Academy Awards as a previous winner, got some direction on one of Oscar's new wrinkles. "We have substantial envelopes this year, so you can get a feel for them," Kidman was told, as she was handed her rehearsal prop.

Gazing out into the crowd, Kidman looked for her seat and smiled when it was finally pointed out to her. She'll be sitting in the front row.


 -- Rebecca Keegan

Photo: Hilary Swank, left, and Kathryn Bigelow on Saturday practice presenting for the Oscars. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times


Oscars: Bardem, Mirren and McConaughey added to list of presenters

JavierII 

Three more presenters for the Academy Awards were announced Wednesday by Oscar telecast producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer.

Javier Bardem, who won the supporting actor Academy Award three years ago for "No Country for Old Men" and is nominated for lead actor this year for "Biutiful";  Helen Mirren, the lead actress Oscar-winner for 2006's "The Queen" and Matthew McConaughey, have been added to the list of presenters at the 83rd Academy Awards this Sunday evening.

The Academy Awards will be telecast live on ABC from the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood and Highland. James Franco, a lead actor nominee for "127 Hours," and Anne Hathaway are the co-hosts.

 

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Producers Don Mischer and Bruce Cohen join to put on Oscar show

Oscar-winners Alan Menken, Randy Newman, Gwyneth Paltrow performing at Academy Awards

--Susan King

Photo: Javier Bardem, who just won the Goya Award for "Biutiful," will be a presenter at the Academy Awards. Credit: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images



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