Live coverage of the Oscars from 12pm on nzherald.co.nz with Herald entertainment editor Russell Baillie, celebrity blogger Myrddin Gwynedd and our fashion commentators Noelle McCarthy and Isaac Hindin Miller, plus live streaming and all the pictures from the red carpet.
Sandra Bullock 'top of the flops'
Sandra Bullock has been crowned top of the flops at the 30th Razzie Awards, the annual Oscars spoof in Los Angeles which pays homage to the worst of Hollywood.
Bullock - who could complete an unprecedented double if she wins a best actress Oscar for her performance in The Blind Side - delighted guests by appearing to collect her award.
The Razzies were spread across several films although the big winner was Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, ridiculed as "overlong, over-loud and underwhelming". Worst actor was awarded to the members of the Disney boy band the Jonas Brothers for their performance in Jonas Brothers: The 3-D Concert Experience. Worst supporting stars were Billy Ray Cyrus for Hannah Montana: The Movie and Sienna Miller for the action film GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
Secrets of the golden god
Popular legend has the Oscar statuette as unchanging, made of precious metals, and non-replaceable. This is not the case. One-off variants have twice been produced.
In 1939, Walt Disney was voted a special award for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The Academy presented him with one normal one, plus seven miniatures.
Less valuable, but just as quirky, is the one given to the ventriloquist Edgar Bergen in 1937. It was, like his dummy Charlie McCarthy, made of wood. During World War II, the Academy conserved metal by having the statuettes made of plaster.
These days the gongs are made of the alloy britannium, then plated in copper, nickel silver, and 24-carat gold, weighing 3.8kg. In instances of serious damage, the Academy will replace them. In this category, Jack Lemmon holds the record: one of his two Oscars had, uniquely among the 2701 statuettes awarded, rusted.
Security at the ceremony is as obsessional in the way that only Americans can be. Zbigniew Rybczynski can testify to that. After he had collected his gong for best animated short in 1982, he stepped outside for a smoke, and was barred from re-entering because the guards mistook his assurances in broken English - "I have Oscar! I have Oscar!" - for madness and had him arrested.
Miss Vampire's big night
The queasiest moment in Oscar history came in 1972 when Marlon Brando lent his weight to the Native American cause by sending Sacheen Little Feather to accept the best actor statuette on his behalf.
Her real name was Maria Cruz; she was not entirely representative of the Apache nation, being the winner of the 1970 Miss American Vampire contest. Brando had given her a 15-page speech to read, but Academy officials insisted she restrict herself to 45 seconds.
When Vanessa Redgrave accepted a gong for Julia in 1977, she did at least make her pitch against Zionism in person.
Tears well before bedtime
Olivia de Havilland, losing to Hattie McDaniel for best supporting actress in 1940, fled to the kitchen at the Coconut Grove where she shed floods of tears over the consomme. Only after David Selznick shook her violently could she compose herself enough to return.
Then there was Carole Lombard. She and Clark Gable had expected him to win for Gone with the Wind. He lost to Robert Donat, and, at the end of the night, Lombard consoled him: "Don't worry, Pappy, we'll bring one home next year." Gable said he had felt this had been his last chance, to which Lombard responded: "Not you, you self-centred bastard. I meant me."
Still, as Frederic Raphael said: "Awards are like haemorrhoids; in the end every asshole gets one."