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Burning Questions From the Big Night

Why was Jack bald? Has Mark Wahlberg really been arrested 25 times? Answers to these Oscar puzzlers and more

NICHOLSON
Image credit: Gary Hershorn/Reuters/Landov
NICHOLSON

Is it true that Best Actress nominee Dame Judi Dench didn't attend the ceremony because she was undergoing knee surgery?
Indeed. As she told the press last month, ''I'm going to have my leg broken and put back together. I will watch and cheer from my bed.'' Her publicist sent this update: ''Everything went well and she is feeling good.''

Clint Eastwood translated for Honorary Oscar winner Ennio Morricone. Does he really speak Italian?
Si! Eastwood picked up the language when he starred in spaghetti Westerns like Sergio Leone's 1966 classic The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. But Eastwood wasn't translating Morricone's speech entirely on the fly — he read the English from a TelePrompTer. As for his thanking host Ellen DeGeneres for sending him a headset, ''that was a joke,'' says his rep.

Best Live Action and Animated Short presenters Abigail Breslin, 10, and Jaden Smith, 8, were awfully cute. Is Smith the youngest presenter ever?
No. Shirley Temple still holds that honor. In 1935, when she was just 6, she gave Claudette Colbert a Best Actress statuette for It Happened One Night. That same year, Temple took home a special kid-size award ''in grateful recognition of her outstanding contribution to screen entertainment during the year 1934.''

How did the show's producers choose Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg to present Best Director to pal Martin Scorsese?
Without knowing for sure who will win, producers often aim for inspired pairings, as when Frantic star Harrison Ford named Roman Polanski Best Director in 2003 for The Pianist. But there have been mismatches too. In 1999, Ford announced Shakespeare in Love as Best Picture, not Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan.

Why was Jack Nicholson sportin' a Britney Spears bald 'do?
The three-time Oscar winner just wrapped Rob Reiner's The Bucket List, in which he and Morgan Freeman play terminally ill patients who flee from a cancer treatment center. It's an adventure comedy. Seriously.

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