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Published: Monday, February 27, 2012, 4:21 p.m.

Backstage with the stars at the Oscars

  • Sandra Bullock hugs (and holds up) Octavia Spencer backstage after Bullock presented Spencer with the Oscar for best actress in a supporting role for ...

    Associated Press/Chris Carlson

    Sandra Bullock hugs (and holds up) Octavia Spencer backstage after Bullock presented Spencer with the Oscar for best actress in a supporting role for "The Help."

LOS ANGELES -- Backstage at the Academy Awards was a place for unscripted moments of jitters, jubilation -- and doggy treats.
"We're so old and we're so happening!" Meryl Streep shouted, throwing her arms around her longtime makeup artist J. Roy Helland when the two Oscar winners converged in the scrum outside the press room.
Behind Streep and Helland clutching their statuettes, Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier from "The Artist," was collecting rewards for his performance as well: some treats delivered by trainer Omar Von Muller.
It wasn't only the Oscar winners who kept the production crew busy.
"Anybody have a 20 on Brad and Angelina?" a staffer called into his headseat.
Brad Pitt was the one up for an Oscar this year, but backstage he was rooting for his partner, Angelina Jolie, as she presented the two screenplay Oscars. Pitt watched Jolie quietly from a monitor in the wings. When Jolie emerged from the stage she rubbed Pitt's back and wondered what to do with the envelope for original screenplay winner Woody Allen.
"Do we want to get this to Woody," a stage manager asked. "Does he even care?"
Before she won her Oscar, even a veteran like Streep had to collect herself as a presenter. As she waited to introduce the Academy's Governors Award winners earlier in the evening, Streep put on her glasses and read her script. Before she took the stage, the actress threw her shoulders back, straightened her dress, exhaled and peeked outside the curtain.
"You'll push me out when it's time?" she asked stage manager Dency Nelson.
"I'll pull you gently, yes," Nelson said.
Sandra Bullock was a supporting actress -- lower case -- for best supporting actress Octavia Spencer Sunday night.
When Spencer stepped off the stage after accepting her award, she could barely stand. Bullock held her for 30 seconds and then carried the train of her dress as the two walked through the wings.
"Sandy, thank you for that train," Spencer said, before making a quick stop at the official Oscar Thank You Cam. Spencer got just one sentence out before stopping.
"I don't wanna cry. I wanna be pretty," she said.
Moments before stepping onstage together, presenters Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez practiced a stage turn.
"That was genius!" Sandra Bullock wagged her finger at the ladies as she passed them on her way to the stage.
Diaz and Lopez bumped into Oscar producer Brian Grazer backstage as well, and the group discussed the audience's muted reaction.
"It was like, uh, hello?" Diaz said.
Lopez jumped in: "We're trying to entertain you!"
"You livened it up," Grazer told them.
"We gave it our best one-two punch," Lopez said.

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