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Monday, March 6, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Looking back at the Oscars – and laughing

The Associated Press

You can almost guarantee someone's going to cry at The Oscars. Halle Berry wept like a baby when she won the best actress award a few years ago. Felicity Huffman started weeping before the show even started when she got good luck wishes from her "Desperate Housewives" cast. The audience weeps with joy at their successful friends and family.

Making people laugh, now that's another story. Jokes can go over as big hits or huge flops. And there are usually more of the latter than the former.

The 78th Academy Awards had its share of really funny moments, and here's a few of them.

Let's get something started

The opening sequence featured former hosts Billy Crystal and Chris rock in a teepee — and host Jon Stewart in bed with Halle Berry AND George Clooney (though not at the same time). The opener also featured a host of former hosts — David Letterman and Whoopi Goldberg among them — stoutly refusing to do this year's show.

And you thought "Zoolander" was a crime of fashion

Ben Stiller presented the best visual effects Oscar in a green neon leotard, claiming he was delivering the first-ever award using "blue screen technology." That meant the green parts of his body weren't showing on TV. He put on a neon green mask and said it looked like the award was presenting itself.

A long way from "Facts of Life"

"All right, so I'm not winning director," Clooney joked after winning best supporting actor for "Syriana," adding that an Oscar win always would be synonymous with his name from then on, particularly in his obituary: "Oscar winner George Clooney, sexiest man alive 1997, 'Batman,' died today in a freak accident."

David Mamet would be proud

Was it unscripted? Or were they acting? Whatever it was, the interaction between Lily Tomlin and Meryl Streep was dead-on. The two stars introduced director Robert Altman, who received an honorary Academy Award. Altman is known for his particular style, letting the actors act and picking through the footage. Tomlin and Streep wove in and out of dialogue, talking over each other, and in unison in a funny, witty tribute to the director's famous style.

I'm ready for my extreme closeup, Mr. Demille

Will Ferrell and Steve Carrell walked on stage with false eyelashes, gobs of blush and a mess of eyeliner to present the best makeup Oscar. They delivered their lines deadpan. "You smell great," Ferrell said. Carrell quipped "Thank you. It's called pineapple bliss."

Penguin-on-penguin action

A bunch of guys in penguin suits carrying stuffed penguins headed up to the stage to grab the Oscar for best documentary feature for "March of the Penguins."

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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