Steve Martin And Alec Baldwin Open The Oscars

Jokes aimed at Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren and themselves were accompanied by a Neil Patrick Harris musical number.

The 82nd Academy Awards began in earnest by utilizing one of the ceremony’s most time-honored traditions — an elaborate musical number — headlined by a sequined-tuxedo-wearing Neil Patrick Harris. The actor posed the obvious question to the gathered crowd: “Why am I here?” He answered the question with an impressive song and dance that featured references to “Gone With the Wind,” “Harold & Kumar” and the “Twilight” franchise.

Harris’ stay was short-lived, as he was soon replaced by Oscar co-hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. The duo descended upon the stage and immediately launched into jokes at the other’s expense. While Baldwin celebrated his collaborator by highlighting his many talents as an actor, writer, filmmaker, musician and more, Martin dryly informed the audience: “And this is Alec Baldwin.”

The pair kept their digs mostly aimed at the various celebrities gathered at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Their first target was their “It’s Complicated” co-star Meryl Streep, nominated for her turn as Julia Child in “Julie & Julia.”

“Meryl Streep holds the most nominations for any actor,” Martin said. “Or, as I like to think of it, the most losses.”

Martin turned his attention toward Helen Mirren, who won the Oscar for Best Actress in 2006 for her performance in “The Queen.” “Look, there’s that damn Helen Mirren,” he muttered. Baldwin corrected him: “It’s actually Dame Helen Mirren.”

The hosts joked about “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” suggesting that it was the only nominated film “that lived up to its video game.”

Later, Baldwin and Martin slipped on a pair of 3-D glasses and acknowledged some digitally created seeds from the Tree of Souls, a sign of spiritual significance in the world of “Avatar.” Rather than relishing the serene moment, however, Martin unveiled a can of bug spray and destroyed the gathered seeds.

The hosts acknowledged the former marriage of Oscar-nominated directors James Cameron for “Avatar” and Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker,” saying that the pair congratulated each other by exchanging presents: a gift basket with a timer from Bigelow and a Toyota from Cameron.

“Who doesn’t love Sandra Bullock?” Martin asked the audience of the Oscar-nominated “Blind Side” star, prompting Baldwin to retort: “Tonight, we might find out.”

Baldwin and Martin wrapped up their opening round of jokes, telling viewers that if they want to find “a transcript of tonight’s show, you should really think about getting a life.”

The 2010 Academy Awards are here, and MTV News has it covered every which way — with photos, interviews, live blogs and more on Hollywood’s biggest night!

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