SHOW BITS: Stars do their 'Happy' dance

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Show Bits brings you the 86th annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles through the eyes of Associated Press journalists. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.

   Show Bits brings you the 86th annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles through the eyes of Associated Press journalists. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.

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   SOME OSCAR LOVE FOR DARLENE LOVE

   One of Oscar night's best-received musical performances was wholly unexpected.

   Darlene Love belted out that "I sing because I'm happy" when appearing onstage with the winners of the best documentary feature, "20 Feet From Stardom."

   Love, best known for her work with producer Phil Spector in the 1960s, was one of the featured artists in the film about some of the music industry's best backup singers.

   From the audience, Pharrell Williams smiled as she finished her song. Bill Murray pumped his fist and rose, and other spectators joined him in a standing ovation.

   When it was time for U2 to perform their Oscar-nominated song, "Ordinary Love" from "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," Bono ended it with a shoutout: "Darlene Love!"

   -- David Bauder -- Twitter http://www.twitter.com/@dbauder

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   GUESS WHO TOOK THE SUBWAY TO THE OSCARS

   Even Ed Begley Jr. will admit, sometimes it's not easy being green.

   Certainly that's true when it comes to getting to the Oscars.

   The 64-year-old actor and environmentalist decided to forgo a chauffeured limo this year and take mass transit.

   Begley, who serves on the board of governors that oversees the Oscars, tweeted a photo of himself and his daughter Hayden dressed up in front of a Metro station.

   The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority always closes the subway station directly beneath the Dolby Theatre during the Oscars, so the actor and his daughter had to walk from the nearest open station to the big show. He acknowledged his daughter had to make the trek in heels.

   -- Daisy Nguyen -- https://twitter.com/daisynguyen .

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   JARED LETO, MEDIA DARLING

   Best supporting actor winner Jared Leto was a hit backstage with reporters, especially after he shared his moment -- and his award -- with everyone.

   "The first person to give their Oscar away for an orgy in the pressroom," a smiling Leto said as he passed the trophy around to everyone who wanted to have a moment with it.

   "Who's your favorite Oscar winner tonight?" he asked.

   When Leto invited reporters to take selfies, he was cautioned by an Academy representative that no photography was allowed in that particular room.

   "If you want to get media, let the media do what they do," he replied, drawing cheers and applause.

   -- Lynn Elber -- Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/lynnelber

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   SO, WHO WON WHAT?

   There were big screens aplenty at the Elton John AIDS Foundation viewing party.

   But Neil Patrick Harris, Oscar-winner Tatum O'Neal, Sharon Osbourne and other attendees didn't see much of anything when the screens all went blank.

   The picture came back on -- for a bit. Then there was just sound. Then there was a blank screen again.

   The crowd let out a big moan when it happened for a third time.

   -- Nekesa Mumbi Moody -- http://www.com/nekesamumbi

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   CELEBS CUT THE RUG -- EVEN LEO

   By the halfway point of Pharrell Williams' colorful performance of his Oscar-nominated song "Happy" from "Despicable Me 2," all the celebs were on their feet dancing and clapping.

   All except for one lone holdout: Leonardo DiCaprio.

   Eventually, "The Wolf of Wall Street" came around, joining front-row mates Sandra Bullock, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Meryl Streep.

   Immediately afterward, Pharrell and his backup dancers froze in position until a stage manager gave them the all clear. Several of the dancers let out a yelp of excitement once they realized it was indeed over.

   -- Derrik J. Lang -- Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang

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   QUICKQUOTE: ELTON JOHN

   "If Pharrell Williams doesn't win best song, then I'm (expletive) going home early." -- Elton John at his Elton John Aids Foundation viewing party, after Pharrell's performance.

   -- Nekesa Mumbi Moody -- http://www.com/nekesamumbi

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   QUICKQUOTE: JARED LETO

"To all the dreamers out there watching this tonight in places like the Ukraine and Venezuela: We are here and as you struggle to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible, we're thinking of you tonight." -- Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner Jared Leto, sending a message to two countries in turmoil, places where at least some broadcasts of the Academy Awards were blocked Sunday evening.

   -- Anthony McCartney -- Twitter http://www.twitter.com/mccartneyAP

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   WILL SHE STUMBLE AGAIN?

Ellen DeGeneres won't let Jennifer Lawrence forget her stumbles.

During her opening monologue,

the Oscar host recalled Lawrence tripping on her way to accept an Academy Award during last year's ceremony -- under the comic guise of pretending she was not going to bring it up.

Lawrence had a pained smile on her face. And she didn't appear to appreciate DeGeneres bringing up the fact that she tripped again on her way onto the red carpet Sunday.

"If you win tonight, I think we should bring you the Oscar," DeGeneres quipped.

   -- David Bauder - Twitter http://www.twitter.com/@dbauder

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   HANGING WITH MR. COOPER AT THE OSCARS

Bradley Cooper may not have been the winner of the supporting actor trophy, but he was the most social and smiley celeb inside the Dolby Theatre as the show began.

Within about 10 minutes of arriving, the "American Hustle" nominee smooched, in no particular order, Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, Michael Fassbender and John Travolta before making his way to his seat. 

   -- Derrik J. Lang -- Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang

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   MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD

Most stars either strut or speed walk down the red carpet, but the subjects of the Oscar-nominated documentary "20 Feet From Stardom" sang their way down.

The four backup singers featured in the film crooned in soulful a cappella, serenading television personalities and momentarily quieting the screaming fans.

The feature-length documentary chronicles the highs and lows of the backup singers who worked on some of the biggest songs of the past century but were often forgotten by fans and the music industry as a whole.

   -- Hannah Dreier -- Twitter: www.twitter.com/HannahDreier.

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   STARS GET PSYCHED UP FOR SHOWTIME

With just minutes to Oscar showtime, a crush of stars flooded into Hollywood's Dolby Theatre and quickly went through their pre-show rituals.

Jared Leto put in eye drops. Michael Fassbender dipped into the green room for a quick smoke. Kurt Russell waited outside a backstage bathroom for date Goldie Hawn.

Steve Coogan came out of another restroom and walked right into Russell and also Sally Field. Lupita Nyong'o and Jennifer Lawrence quickly joined the group.

Lawrence and Field joked that they might consider wearing adult diapers under their dresses at future awards shows to beat the bathroom line.

Jamie Foxx greeted Kerry Washington with a hug and these words: "I heard you're going to name the baby Jamie. Works for a boy or a girl!"

   -- Sandy Cohen --  www.twitter.com/APSandy .

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   HOW OSCAR'S OTHER HALF WALKS

Of course status-obsessed Hollywood would have an exclusive red carpet, and then an even more exclusive red carpet.

A red velvet rope separated the A-list Oscar red carpet from the B-list one, which was parallel but closer to the fan bleachers. The social rules were as byzantine and strictly enforced as on any studio set. Or in any high school cafeteria.

   -- Taking cellphone pictures from the B-list red carpet of the megastars a few feet away: allowed.

   -- Shaking hands across the velvet rope and telling a star how much you admire them: allowed, but only as long as the tuxedoed security guards don't see.

   -- Walking down the lower-ranking red carpet at a leisurely pace: Not allowed, as evidenced by the guards continually muttering, "Please keep moving."

An A-lister masquerading as a B-lister to get down the carpet quickly: Allowed (and taken advantage of by "Hunger Games" actor Stanley Tucci).

   -- Hannah Dreier -- Twitter: www.twitter.com/HannahDreier.

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   SITTING PRETTY WAITING FOR OSCAR

Inside the Dolby Theatre, stagehands frantically pound hammers on the grey-hued set just before the doors are to open to attendees.

While most folks are still sipping champagne and cocktails in the lobby, a few, including Liza Minnelli, have already strolled inside to take their positions inside the 3,400-seat venue. The star of "Cabaret" and "Arthur" passes the time watching the red carpet coverage being broadcast on giant screens from her third-row position.

Meanwhile, a female announcer calmly informs everyone on the overheard speakers to "please make your way to your seats. The show will begin in 25 minutes."

   -- Derrik J. Lang -- Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang

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   IDINA MENZEL: OF COURSE I'M NERVOUS

Idina Menzel acknowledged some pre-performance jitters before singing "Let it Go," the catchy song from Disney's "Frozen" that has become a tween anthem. But she said that was only normal.

"If I wasn't nervous, something would be a little off," the veteran Broadway songstress, who voices a main role in "Frozen," told AP Live on the Oscar red carpet.

She said she had a plan for calming her nerves: Pretending she was singing the song to her young son at home.

The song has gone viral, with countless young girls making their own versions and posting them on YouTube.

"It's about liberating your soul and accepting yourself for who you are," Menzel said.

   -- Jocelyn Noveck -- Twitter http://twitter.com/JocelynNoveckAP

  

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   PHARRELLL WILLIAMS IS ... HAPPY

Pharrell Williams came to the Oscars minus the tall leather hat that made such a splash at the Grammys and won him Twitter comparisons to the Arby's logo.

   This time he made his mark below the waist. Williams, nominated for the song "Happy" from "Despicable Me 2," wore a formal black tux on top with formal black shorts, and no socks, on the bottom.

It allowed him to look normal in the black-tie crowd until nearby viewers caught a glimpse of his tattooed calves.

Asked how he was feeling, he paused a moment to consider the question.

"I'm ... happy!" he finally said.

He also told AP Live that he was thrilled at how his song -- and the video -- have become so popular.

"I know it's the people, man," he said. "It's just done so much for me."

   -- Jocelyn Noveck - Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JocelynNoveckAP

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   NYONG'O CHOSE A DRESS TO REMIND HER OF HOME

Lupita Nyong'o, breakout movie star and fashion superstar, says she chose her ice blue Prada gown because blue "reminds me of home" in Kenya.

"I wanted to have a sense of home with me," she told AP Live on the Oscar red carpet.

Nyong'o, nominated for best supporting actress for her heart-wrenching turn as a slave in "12 Years a Slave," said her gown was also meant to evoke Champagne bubbles. Could that be a reference to some anticipated celebration later in the evening?

Or perhaps the actress was still celebrating her birthday. She turned 31 on Saturday.

   -- Jocelyn Noveck -- Twitter http://twitter.com/JocelynNoveckAP ------

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   RED SEA OF SELFIES

Cellphone-clutching celebrities are turning the Oscar red carpet into Selfie Central.

For the first time in memory, the photographers walking this year's red carpet were clearly outnumbered by Oscar nominees, presenters and other attendees stopping to snap photos of themselves with their phones.

So many selfie shooters crowded the carpet that Oscar organizers had to remind them to keep moving to avoid a traffic jam. Or, worse yet, having someone bump into them and ruin their photo.

   -- Andrew Dalton -- Twitter http://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

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   BELGIAN, BLUEGRASS AND BARELY RECOGNIZABLE

As if they weren't anonymous enough amid a stream of American stars, the two leads of the "The Broken Circle Breakdown" were barely recognizable even to those who saw and loved the Belgian nominee for Best Foreign Film.

Lead actor Johan Heldenbergh was shorn of the shaggy hair he wears in the unusual film that features Dutch-speaking bluegrass musicians parenting a cancer-stricken daughter. His thick beard had been trimmed to a light goatee.

Lead actress Veerle Baetens' strapless-and-backless gown showed that the head-to-toe tattoos she sported in the movie were for the most part phony.

Both walked the carpet, however, with huge smiles that were unmistakably real.

   -- Andrew Dalton -- Twitter http://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

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   A JOYFUL CAPTAIN WALKS THE RED CARPET

Supporting actor nominee Barkhad Abdi says the way he wraps his head around his new celebrity is simple:

"I don't think about it," he told AP Live on the Oscars red carpet. "I'm just enjoying the day."

Abdi plays the chief Somali pirate in "Captain Phillips," opposite Tom Hanks. It's his first acting role -- and, obviously, his first Oscar nomination.

"I'm feeling great to be here," he said. "It's been a long road. We're supporting `Captain Phillips' and everybody who put in hard work on the movie."

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   WEIR, LIPINSKI SKATE OSCAR RED CARPET

Straight from Sochi, a snowy-white Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski felt the full force of their newfound fame as they skated past the red-carpet crowd at the Oscars.

The duo, dubbed a "dream team" of figure skating commentary after their Olympic appearances last month for NBC, were both dressed in white from head-to-toe. They quickly won one of the biggest reactions from the fan bleachers.

Weir and Lapinski are reprising their analysts' role, giving red-carpet commentary to Access Hollywood.

   -- Andrew Dalton -- Twitter http://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

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   STAR TURN FOR THE OSCAR CAKE

Starlets, perhaps not wanting to be tempted, averted their eyes as celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck rolled a sumptuous-looking chocolate cake down the Oscar red carpet two hours before show time.

The five-layer cake, decorated with a tiny Hollywood sign, is part of the post-Oscar feast served at the annual Governor's Ball after the Academy Awards.

Puck also brought a few other munchies -- souffles, sushi, and a curling red octopus leg.

The cake is also ornamented with edible golden Oscar statuettes, which undoubtedly will taste sweeter to the winners than the losers.  

   -- Hannah Dreier -- Twitter: www.twitter.com/HannahDreier.

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SOLVING A PROBLEM LIKE MARIA -- WITH A VACUUM

   As the clouds slowly cleared from over Hollywood Boulevard and water still dripped from stands and scaffolds, one

red carpet dweller took the fight directly to the damp walkway.

Maria Menounos, covering arrivals for Extra TV, noticed a puddle, grabbed a wet vac from a nearby crew member and sucked the water from a patch of red carpet, taking care not to catch her sparkling silver gown in the humming machine.

She got a round of applause from the fan bleachers and took a bow before using the newly dried carpet for a walking TV take. 

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