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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

A movie that tossed a lot of human life overboard was a big winner at the Academy Awards. A single exchange in "No Country for Old Men" gets across the brutality of the hit man at the center. He aims a gun at a man who asks, Are you going to kill me? To which the killer responds, That depends. Can't you see me?

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports on the award-winning film.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO: The Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, had been favorites to win Oscars, and their Texas crime saga "No Country for Old Men" earned four, including Best Picture, Directing and Best Adapted Screenplay. Holding one of his trophies, Joel Coen talked about having collaborated on movies with his brother since childhood.

(Soundbite of Academy Awards)

Mr. JOEL COEN (Writer, "No Country for Old Men"): Honestly, what we do now doesn't feel that much different from what we were doing then. And we're very thankful to all of you out there for letting us continue to play in our corner of the sandbox. So thank you very much.

(Soundbite of applause)

DEL BARCO: Coen's brother Ethan was a man of fewer words. He gave a brief thanks for his first award and the second time...

(Soundbite of Academy Awards)

Mr. ETHAN COEN (Writer, "No Country for Old Men"): I don't have a lot to add to what I said earlier.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Thank you.

DEL BARCO: Javier Bardem, the man who played a psycho killer in the Coen brothers' film, went home with the Best Supporting Actor award.

(Soundbite of Academy Awards)

Mr. JAVIER BARDEM (Academy Award winner, Best Supporting Actor): Thank you to the Coens for being crazy enough to think that I could do that and put one of the most horrible haircuts in history over my head.

(Soundbite of laughter)

DEL BARCO: The Spanish actor was one of the Europeans who swept the top acting awards. Among them, Irish actor Daniel Day Lewis, who won for "There Will Be Blood," British actress Tilda Swinton for her supporting role in "Michael Clayton," and French actress Marion Cotillard, who played singer Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose." In the movie Cotillard mouthed the lyrics, but backstage after winning she showed off her own singing voice.

(Soundbite of Academy Awards)

Ms. MARION COTILLARD (Academy Award winner, Best Actress): (Singing in French)

DEL BARCO: And for reporters backstage Cotillard remained surprised for having won for Best Actress.

Ms. COTILLARD: I'm totally overwhelmed with joy and sparkles and fireworks and everything which goes like bam, bam, bam.

DEL BARCO: The Best Original Song award went to the tune "Falling Slowly" from the indie musical "Once."

(Soundbite of song "Falling Slowly")

Ms. MARKETA IRGLOVA and Mr. GLEN HANSARD: (Singing) I don't know you, but I want you.

DEL BARCO: After performing the song, Dublin musician Glen Hansard accepted the award first.

(Soundbite of Academy Awards)

Mr. HANSARD: This is amazing. Make art. Make art. Thanks.

(Soundbite of applause)

DEL BARCO: And as his 19-year-old Czech co-winner Marketa Irglova stepped up to the mike the orchestra cut her off. But after a commercial break, host Jon Stewart brought her back for her own moment in the spotlight.

In his opening monologue the "Daily Show" star joked about the presidential election, the stars and the Hollywood writer's strike.

(Soundbite of Academy Awards)

Mr. JON STEWART (Host, Academy Awards): The past three and a half months have been very tough. The town was torn apart by a bitter writer's strike, but I'm happy to say that the fight is over - so tonight...

(Soundbite of applause)

Mr. STEWART: ...tonight, welcome to the make-up sex.

(Soundbite of laughter)

DEL BARCO: Hollywood writers have only been back at work for two weeks, and many who watched the ceremony say it was evident in the canned movie montages and the show's writing, with weaker jokes and even stiffer than usual speeches, like this obtuse intro from Harrison Ford.

(Soundbite of Academy Awards)

Mr. HARRISON FORD (Actor): Movies are made of ideas and pictures and words.

DEL BARCO: Diablo Cody held her Best Original Screenplay Oscar for the movie "Juno" and dedicated it to her fellow writers.

There were a few insiders' jokes, but for Oscar's big night, residual tensions over the Hollywood writer's strike seem to have been swept under the red carpet.

Mandalit del Barco, NPR News, Hollywood.

INSKEEP: Our Oscar coverage would not be complete if we didn't tell you that NPR's Oscar photo caption contest is in full swing. Check out the pictures, propose your own captions, and come back later today. We'll be putting the liveliest ones on a slideshow. It's at npr.org/oscars.

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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