"This has been an extraordinary journey in getting to know what the Academy is about and first and foremost, thank you, Academy, because it's about sellin' motion pictures and respecting the work."
Aaron Sorkin sold "The Social Network" with his adapted screenplay.
"It's impossible to describe what it feels like to be given the same award as Paddy Chayefsky 35 years ago for another movie with 'Network' in the title. His was an original screenplay; this is an adaptation of a book by Ben Mezrich, so I'm accepting this on his behalf as well."
Mr. Seidler, who is in his early 70s, took the original screenplay prize for "The King's Speech," its first honor of the night 50 minutes into the ceremony.
"The writer's speech. This is terrifying. My father always said to me, I would be a late bloomer," the onetime stutterer said with a shrug.
"I believe I am the oldest person to win this particular award. I hope that record is broken quickly and often," Mr. Seidler said, thanking Her Majesty the Queen "for not putting me in the Tower of London for using the Melissa Leo f-word."
He accepted the Oscar on behalf of all the stutterers throughout the world. "We have a voice. We have been heard. Thanks to you, the Academy."
Director Lee Unkrich, whose "Toy Story 3" was named best animated picture, spoke for many winners: "I can't believe I'm actually saying this but thank you to the Academy." To the whoops of the crowd, he also called Pixar "the most awesome place on the planet to make movies."
"Toy Story 3," perhaps the most loved movie of 2010, also turned Randy Newman into a two-time winner (out of 20 nominations) thanks to the song "We Belong Together."
The elder Douglas, walking with the assistance of a cane and his speech bearing residual traces of his stroke, earned the first standing ovation of the night as he came out onto the Kodak Theatre stage to present the award for best supporting actress.
He toyed with the audience and tarried in reading the name sealed in the newly designed envelope but no one seemed to mind that early in the show.
In what might be a first, winner (Luke Matheny who made the live-action short "God of Love") thanked his mom for doing craft services or providing snacks and other treats for the cast and crew.
The initial awards of the night went to "Alice in Wonderland" for art direction and "Inception" for cinematography and winners in both categories paid tribute to their respective directors, Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan.
Later in the show, "Alice" also took the gold for costumes, "Inception" scored both of the sound Oscars and the visual effects award while Denmark's "In a Better World" (not on Pittsburgh's radar yet) won the foreign film prize. Mercer native and former Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross won for their "Social Network" score.
The show opened with expertly edited highlights from the 10 best picture nominees and then inserted hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway into the "dreams" of Alec Baldwin, "Inception" style (with Morgan Freeman narration), and later allowed the hosts to rocket into the present from a "Back to the Future" car.
"You look very appealing to the younger demographic as well," Ms. Hathaway said to her co-host, acknowledging the conventional wisdom about why they were picked. Mr. Franco suggested they both were nominees but Ms. Hathaway was not, despite getting naked for "Love & Other Drugs" shot in Pittsburgh.
A couple of other previous hosts popped up, too. Hugh Jackman was a presenter and an easy laugh from the audience while Billy Crystal was given a standing ovation as he paid tribute to the man who hosted more than any other: Bob Hope.
The prestigious final slot in the In Memoriam tribute belonged to Lena Horne, who died in 2010 at the age of 92. Halle Berry introduced a salute to the iconic performer who moved to the Hill District as an 18-year-old to live with her divorced father, Ted Horne, co-owner of the Belmont Hotel on Wylie Avenue.
It was in the Hill District that Ms. Horne met her mentor, Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington's principal collaborator. She credits him with giving her the confidence to move into the first ranks of American singers.
The brief salute closed with Ms. Horne's words: "It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it."
Behind the scenes, Pittsburghers Carol O'Laughlin and Cindy Popovich safely made it to their seats in the outside bleachers -- wearing their neon yellow T-shirts and red scarves with white hats and sunglasses.
They were required to arrive by 9:30 a.m. and found themselves in a long line and got to their assigned spots (eighth row back) by 10:45 a.m. California time. No snow, no rain, a gentle breeze and direct sunlight -- you can't ask for more.
Mrs. Popovich of McKeesport won the two seats and invited Ms. O'Laughlin, who scored four seats in 2007 and alerted her friends to the random drawing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences holds every fall. Participants enter online and then hope for a rare e-mail acceptance.
In other local connections, eagle-eyed TV viewers could have spotted Carnegie Mellon University graduate Aron Ralston, whose story is told in "127 Hours," with his wife on the red carpet outside the Kodak Theatre.
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