Colin crowned King of the Oscars
The big winner at last night's Academy Awards was The King's Speech with four Oscars -- including best film and best actor for its star Colin Firth -- on a night with few surprises at the top movie awards.
The only Irish nominee at this year's award was the short film The Crush and hopes were high that the filmmakers would take home the gold.
However, The Crush lost out to God of Love in the best live action short category.
Natalie Portman claimed the best actress Oscar for her portrayal of a young ballerina in Black Swan, and Melissa Leo and Christian Bale won best supporting actress and actor, respectively, for their work in The Fighter.
The world's top film honours by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences came packed with onstage comedy from hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco but the attention, as always, was on awards and winners.
Portman wiped away tears onstage while cradling her gold statuette. She thanked her family, co-stars and director Darren Aronofsky.
"This is insane," she said, "and I truly, sincerely wish the prize was to get to work with my fellow nominees." Backstage, she told reporters she felt she was in a dream.
Firth won best actor for playing stammering British King George VI in The King's Speech, in which the monarch must overcome his speech impediment to lead his country.
"I have a feeling my career just peaked," Firth joked.
When the film's director Tom Hooper was named best director, he thanked his mother for being first to suggest he make The King's Speech.
"The moral of the story is, listen to your mother," Hooper said.
Other key winners included family comedy Toy Story 3 for best animated feature, Wall Street meltdown movie Inside Job for top documentary and Denmark's In A Better World took the prize for foreign language film.
Awards were given to a wide array of films. Science-fiction thriller Inception claimed four Oscars for cinematography, sound editing, sound mixing and visual effects.
Facebook film The Social Network won three awards for original score, film editing and adapted screenplay for its writer Aaron Sorkin. But left off the list of winners was the movie's director, David Fincher.
In fact, Fincher's loss to Hooper was the big surprise among top awards as many pundits thought the Hollywood veteran would beat relative newcomer Hooper. But when the show ended, Fincher was left empty-handed.
Franco and Hathaway, the first man and woman team to host the Oscars, got the show off to a comic start in a pre-taped sequence in which they entered the 'dreams' of Alec Baldwin much like the characters of Inception entered the dreams of other people.
From there, the pair travelled back to scenes with other top movie nominees -- True Grit, The Social Network, The Fighter and The King's Speech.
Back on stage, Hathaway introduced her mother in the audience, who told her to stand up straight, and Franco's grandmother exclaimed that she'd just met Marky Mark, the stage name of actor/producer Mark Wahlberg when he was a rapper.
In one off-the-cuff moment, winner Leo uttered an expletive on stage, the so-called 'F-bomb', which was bleeped out.
Many sequences harkened back to Hollywood's history with film clips from, among others, Gone With The Wind and Titanic.
At another point, Franco came onstage in a dress and blonde wig, looking like Marilyn Monroe. "The weird part is, I just got a text message from Charlie Sheen," he joked.
Irish short The Crush was the brainchild of Skerries-based filmmaker Michael Creagh, who spoke of his shock of even being nominated ahead of last night's ceremony.
"This is fantasy-land being in Hollywood and at the Oscars," he said. "I still can't get my head around it.
"Even if we don't win, I will have the experience of being nominated and attending the Oscars for the rest of my life."
Despite the fact that he now has an Oscar-nominated film to his name, the modest filmmaker said his main priority is finding a way to "pay the bills".
"I haven't worked in a month," he said.
"Being over at the Oscars is great, and we'll see where it takes me, but at the moment I'd be happy if it leads to me directing a commercial or two in Ireland. That's my trade and what pays the bills."