And the best talker is …

The Oscar for best talkers could go to supporting acting winners Michael Caine and Angelina Jolie, the show’s host Billy Crystal and actor/producer/director and father-to-be Warren Beatty.

“It’s a four-hour show,” Crystal said at the outset of the scheduled three-hour show that lasted four hours and nine minutes, the longest in Oscars history.

“Something they produced together may be released tonight,” said Crystal, about Hollywood power couple Warren Beatty and pregnant Annette Bening, who is due with their fourth child anytime now.

“You’re a great actor, but you’re a better father,” best supporting actress winner Jolie said, thanking her father, past Oscar winner Jon Voight. “He’s quite an interesting little man,” Jolie said of her Oscar.

“Some weird things happen when I get excited,” Jolie said about her propensity for jumping into swimming pools after awards shows.

“You’re all alive,” said Haley Joel Osment, who was nominated for his role in The Sixth Sense as a boy who sees dead people, to the 5 000-member audience at the Shrine auditorium.

“This just in, the pope has just apologised for ‘Deuce Bigolow, Male Gigolo,'” said Crystal.

“There ya’ go, another Englishman,” said Phil Collins, winner for best song, as he watched countryman Michael Caine accept an Oscar for best supporting actor for The Cider House Rules.

“Give me a bit of extra time,” said Caine, during his acceptance speech after noting that he was absent when he won his first Oscar.

“It’s heavy, but it feels kind of nice,” Caine said when asked how it felt to have an Oscar.

“I was watching all the others and thinking back when I saw all the performances, thinking how the Academy has changed the phrase from, ‘and the winner is’, to ‘and the Oscar goes to.’ If ever there was a category that this applies to, it is this one, because I do not feel like a winner,” said Caine, saluting his fellow supporting actor nominees.

“I’ve been a visual effect,” said action film hero Arnold Schwarzenegger, presenting the award for best visual effects.

“They searched Erykah Badu’s hat and found the missing Oscars,” Crystal said on the singer/actress’s propensity for towering headdresses.

“Damn this dress,” said the usually daring Cher, wearing an elegant, floor-length black number. “You’ve probably noticed already that I’m dressed as a grown-up … I promise never to do it again.”

“I hope the baby doesn’t look like David Crosby,” said Crystal on what Bening might be thinking. He was making a reference to the veteran rocker who donated sperm to the partner of lesbian rocker Melissa Etheridge.

“Oh, this thong is killing me,” said Crystal, on what dignified actress Judi Dench might be thinking as she sat in the audience.

“He’s seen to it that all of the seat fillers are board-certified obstetricians,” said Jack Nicholson, presenting the Irving Thalberg award to his pal Beatty, in one of the evening’s several jokes about Bening’s pregnancy.

“Please forgive me for not making more of them – I’ll try to do better,” said Beatty about his film career.

“I’m first, last and always an actor – please forgive me for being a producer. I’ll try to do better,” Beatty said.

“Let’s just say that I’ll try to do less,” said Beatty about his three children and fourth on the way.

“I could not ask her to climb stairs, unless of course she wins the Oscar, in which case she’ll crawl up here on all fours,” Kevin Spacey said of co-star Bening.

“You must be trying to get me to reconsider my day job,” said novelist John Irving, winner for adapting his book The Cider House Rules for the screen.

“Who wrote this stuff?” asked Mel Gibson, commenting on his scripted introduction for a screenwriting award.

“This is the highlight of my day – I hope it doesn’t all go downhill from here,” said Spacey on winning best actor for American Beauty.

“I was actually experiencing an aneurysm … I forgot my entire speech,” Spacey, who previously won a best supporting actor Oscar, said on his best actor win.

“The movie opens the door to letting people know what goes on in society and putting an end to intolerance in the future,” best actress Hilary Swank said about her role in Boys Don’t Cry, about a woman who lives as a man and is murdered because of it.

“This really hasn’t sunk in,” said Swank, a relative unknown, on her Oscar win. “It didn’t spoil anything for me, I was very surprised,” she said about the Wall Street Journal‘s poll of Oscar voters that projected her to win.

“This is such an important movie and this is such an honour, although I do feel like a princess,” said Swank, who got to flaunt her elegance and femininity at the awards after playing the sexually confused Brendon Teena in Boys Don’t Cry.

“I think we’re always interested in sex,” said notorious one-time playboy, now-married Beatty when asked about the subject matter of films such as American Beauty and Boys Don’t Cry.

“I cannot describe to you how heavy this thing is,” Beatty said of his Thalberg award.

“I don’t really spend a lot of time thinking about these things and I don’t think Annette does, either,” said Beatty about his wife’s loss in the best actress category.

“Tom, if you had won this one, your price would have gone down fast. Have you any idea what supporting actors get paid?” said Caine to fellow nominee Tom Cruise.

“They cut me off after five minutes,” said Spanish director Pedro Almodovar backstage, referring to his acceptance speech for All About my Mother, named best foreign film.

“The first time, Gregory Peck didn’t know who I was – fair enough,” said best song winner Phil Collins, recalling his mid-1980s nomination for Against All Odds.

“I’m not going to say we’re the best, because we’re not,” Collins said about Brits, several of whom won Oscars on Sunday. – Reuters

The 72nd Academy Awards will be screened on M-Net on Monday March 27 at 7pm

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