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“Inside Job,” an exploration of the 2008 economic meltdown, won for best documentary, which proved an uncommonly lively category this time.

The Oscar buildup featured speculation about whether Banksy, a mystery man of the street-art world, might show up for his awards entry, “Exit Through the Gift Shop.” If he was at the Oscars, he did not declare himself.

But it was the topic on most people’s minds the last two years, the economy, that resonated among Oscar voters. “Inside Job” director Charles Ferguson subjected Wall Street players, economists and bureaucrats to a fierce cross-examination to depict the economic crisis as a colossal crime perpetrated on the working-class masses by a greedy few.

“Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that three years after our horrific financial crisis caused by financial fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail, and that’s wrong,” Ferguson said.

While “The King’s Speech” came in as the best-picture favorite, “The Social Network” was considered a potent prospect for an upset win.

The two films have led a strong and varied field of best-picture contenders since they debuted nearly six months ago. “The Social Network” was the early leader, grabbing key critics’ honors and winning best drama at the Golden Globes. Momentum shifted to “The King’s Speech” as the film dominated on Oscar nominations morning and swept top awards from influential actors, directors and producers guilds.

“Toy Story 3,” last year’s top-grossing release and a contender for best picture, won the fourth-straight animated-feature Oscar for Disney’s Pixar Animation unit. Pixar has produced six of the 10 Oscar recipients for animation since the category was added, including “Finding Nemo,” “WALL-E” and last year’s winner, “Up.”

It was an odd backdrop for a Pixar win, the Oscar ceremony using visual effects to present the award in front of a re-creation of Far Far Away, the fairy-tale realm of Disney rival DreamWorks Animation’s “Shrek” movies. The original “Shrek” won the first Oscar for feature animation, but unlike the durable “Toy Story” franchise, the “Shrek” series finished with a critical dud, last year’s “Shrek Forever After.”

Reuniting voice stars Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, “Toy Story 3” was the latest follow-up to the 1995 film that launched today’s era of feature-length computer animation.

“Toy Story 3” director Lee Unkrich called Pixar the “most awesome place on the planet to make movies.”

The Oscar for foreign-language film went to Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier’s “In a Better World,” a saga of two broken families that centers on two teenage boys struggling with violence at school and plotting revenge.

The Lewis Carroll update “Alice in Wonderland” won the first prize of the night, claiming the art direction Oscar. It also won for costume design.

The show opened with co-hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco inserted into a montage of scenes from best-picture nominees, built as a series of dream sequences reminiscent of “Inception.” The footage included such guests as Morgan Freeman and last year’s Oscar co-host Alec Baldwin.

Franco started off telling Hathaway how beautiful she looked. Hathaway shot back, “You look very appealing to a younger demographic, as well.”

With TV ratings on a general decline over the last few decades, Oscar organizers doubled the best-picture category from five to 10 films last year, hoping to spice up the show and bring in a broader range of films. Academy overseers also have tried to liven up the show with fresh hosts, new routines and different ways of presenting awards.

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