- Associated Press - Sunday, February 27, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Melissa Leo’s Oscar victory for “The Fighter” was expected. Kirk Douglas‘ touchingly comic presentation of the award wasn’t.

The 94-year-old Douglas, aided by a cane and with his speech slowed by a 1996 stroke, took a moment to flirt with co-host Anne Hathaway before announcing the winner Sunday. “Where were you when I was making pictures?” he asked her, receiving air kisses in return.

Then he impishly delayed opening the envelope further, calling it, “The moment we’ve all been waiting for” several times, and adding, “I will never forget this moment.”

Finally, he called Leo’s name. The actress dropped to her knee before Douglas as she came on stage, and then directed Michael Douglas’ father to “pinch me,” which he obligingly did. “You’re pretty good looking yourself, what’re you doing later on?” she asked him.

Leo, who won for her role as the tough-talking mother of two boxers (Mark Wahlberg, best supporting actor winner Christian Bale), brought a bit of her character to the Oscar stage.

“When I watched Cate two years ago, it looked so (expletive) easy,” Leo said, who let slip the F-word as she referred to previous winner Cate Blanchett.

Backstage, she apologized to anyone offended with the word she said was inappropriate for the occasion, adding, “There is a great deal of the English language that is in my vernacular.”

David Seidler didn’t let her gaffe pass when he accepted the best original screenplay for “The King’s Speech.”

He thanked the Queen of England “for not putting me in the Tower of London for using the Melissa Leo F-word.”

Leo, who was a regular on TV’s acclaimed “Homicide: Life on the Street” in her 30s, rebounded in her late 40s and now 50s with two Oscar nominations, one for “The Fighter” and another for “Frozen River” two years ago.

She was the front-runner, and her victory kept 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld of “True Grit” from becoming the third youngest Oscar winner after 10-year-old Tatum O’Neal (“Paper Moon”) and 11-year-old Anna Paquin (“The Piano”).

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