God, family make appearance on Oscar red carpet

By Beth Harris

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Feb. 26 2012 8:05 p.m. MST

Dolores Hart arrives before the 84th Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles.

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LOS ANGELES — It wasn't hard to spot Elvis Presley's old co-star on the Oscars red carpet. She was the one wearing the nun's habit.

Mother Dolores Hart, who left Hollywood 49 years ago to pursue a religious life, made a dramatic return Sunday to take part in the 84th annual Academy Awards ceremony.

The Oscar-nominated documentary short film "God Is the Bigger Elvis," tells the 73-year-old nun's story.

"It's absolutely an extraordinary event," said Mother Dolores, her voice barely audible above the red carpet's screaming bleacher fans. "Believe me, this is very different than being in the monastery."

Hart left Hollywood in 1963 after starring in films with Presley, George Hamilton and others.

But even before her departure, she revealed Sunday, she was being drawn to her future calling.

"One of the things that Elvis and I did when we made 'King Creole' was we opened the Bible every afternoon before we went on set and we listened to the words of the Lord," she recalled.

Asked what Presley would think of her nomination, she replied, "I think he would be very happy."

He was in line for a possible Academy Award but Nick Nolte was just as concerned about something he might be losing.

"I'm worried about my teeth falling out," Nolte, nominated for supporting actor for "Warrior" said on the Oscar red carpet.

"See, this one wobbles. It's barely hanging in there," he said, pushing on his left front tooth.

The 70-year-old actor, who polished off a can of Red Bull energy drink before stopping to talk, said he's been too busy working on the HBO series "Luck" to visit a dentist.

Melissa McCarthy turned her first visit to the Academy Awards into a family affair.

She was surrounded by her husband, parents and sister as she got ready for the big evening.

"My dad got choked up, then I got choked up, then my mom went, then my sister went," she said. "My husband was like, 'Separate!' Because we all cried."

During awards season McCarthy, nominated for supporting actress for "Bridesmaids," has given frequent shoutouts to her hometown, the Chicago suburb of Plainfield, Ill.

"We cleaned the whole town out," she said of taking her big family to Hollywood. "There's nobody left tonight."

It was also a family affair for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie on the Oscar red carpet.

With the show just a few minutes from starting, Hollywood's supercouple were headed into the theater when Jolie abruptly stopped and walked back toward the red carpet. There, she took Pitt's parents by the hands and led them to a group of reporters for some interviews.

As Pitt rejoined her, the crowd chanted, "Brad and Angie."

Every film-buff family has their Oscar traditions.

For mother Lindsey Haley, 52, and daughter Brooke Wetzel, 30, Oscar night means Chinese food from their favorite Los Angeles restaurant and dissecting red carpet fashion.

But this year, they traded the take-out for a front-row view.

Haley and Wetzel were among 800 fans who won a lottery to sit in the bleachers along the red carpet outside the Hollywood & Highland Center.

Along with a swag bag full of snacks, they got a free makeover in the hours before the show.

As their favorite stars Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock and Viola Davis walked the carpet, the mother and daughter screamed out the celebrities' names, hoping they would turn and wave for a picture. In most cases, the stars did.

"This is a big day for them, whether they are nominated or presenting, and for them to be friendly to us, that's a big deal," said Haley.

Associated Press Writer Cristina Silva contributed to this report.

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