Martin, Baldwin give stars comic one-two punch

Mon Mar 8, 2010 1:07am EST
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Comedy stars Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, the first duo to share the Oscar stage as co-hosts in the television age, traded punch lines and barbs in Sunday's show as they gently roasted this year's nominees.

Working the room like a pair of Hollywood insider insult comics, Martin and Baldwin singled out many of the assembled Oscar contenders for some light, deflationary ribbing, starting with each other.

After they were lowered to the stage from the rafters of the Kodak Theater on a glittering, circular contraption adorned with showgirls, Baldwin introduced his partner as "one of the most enduring entertainers of all time, Mr. Steve Martin."

Martin reciprocated, sort of, by presenting his co-host: "And this is Alec Baldwin."

Much of the evening's humor continued in that vein, politely irreverent, at times silly and often self-deprecating on an institutional scale.

After one commercial break, Baldwin welcomed television viewers back to what he called "the biggest night in Hollywood -- since last night."

By contrast, the night's biggest Oscar champion, Iraq war drama "The Hurt Locker" -- winner for best original screenplay, best director and best picture -- was deadly serious. Both the director, Kathryn Bigelow, and screenwriter Mark Boal used the occasion to salute members of the U.S. military around the world.

In one emotional high point, comedienne Mo'Nique, accepting her supporting-actress Oscar for playing an abusive welfare mother in "Precious," thanked her husband from the stage "for showing me that sometimes you have to forgo what is popular in order to do what is right, and baby, you were so right."   Continued...