The Academy Awards 2012 Red Carpet

Zeenews Bureau

Even as fans all across the globe waited with baited breath for the planet’s biggest film awards, the red carpet opened for the 84th Annual Academy Awards with full gusto.

There was a change in voting rules for the Oscar this year. The show featured nine best-picture nominees for the first time, instead of the 10 they had the last two years.

Best actor nominees George Clooney and Jean Dujardin hit the Academy Award red carpet Sunday night to the delight of fans in the bleachers outside the Hollywood & Highland Center, but comedian Sacha Baron Cohen threatened to upset the chic Hollywood tone, dressed in an over-the-top white military uniform, sunglasses and a thick beard to promote his upcoming film ‘The Dictator.’

Nevertheless, Cohen stunt couldn`t dampen Dujardin`s hopes. He would like to become the first Frenchman to win best actor and his ‘The Artist’ is favored to become the only silent movie to take the best-picture prize since the first Oscar ceremony 83 years ago.

Christopher Plummer was in line to become the oldest acting winner ever at 82. Meryl Streep joined the acting three-peat club with a third Academy Award.

Along with Streep, Hollywood`s big night on Sunday had plenty of returning stars, too, with past Oscar winners and nominees such as Clooney — who arrived with girlfriend Stacy Keibler dressed like an Oscar statuette — Brad Pitt, Glenn Close, Michelle Williams and Nick Nolte in the running again.

At the red carpet, two time Oscar winner Tom Hanks said no one remembers what happens when you win the Oscar. He showed the OSCAR media room and portraits of past winners.

Natalie Portman said, “I was nervous when I was nominated. I am glad to present tonight. Much better. I can see whos wearing what.”

Actress Milla Jovovich was seen in an Elie Saab couture.

George Clooney with girlfriend Stacy Keibler joked that he`d like to win the Best Song Oscar. "You get to dress up and sit with people you haven`t for a long time. Its fun." Added, "I pay fans" commenting on the screaming fans. Stacy was seen in Marchesa gown.

Brad Pitt said its much easier for men on red carpet to get ready. George Clooney and I are competitive by nature, glad we both are nominated. Meanwhile, Angelina Jolie looked stunning in black.

Sandra Bullock wearing a Marchesa gown, said she was glad to work with Tom Hanks .

Gwyneth Paltrow in white Tom Ford said she would like to sit with good friend Cameron Diaz. Tina Fey in Carolina Herrera said I am thrilled to be wearing it. She said, "I feared pepelum but I love the shape. I am expecting Billy crystal to do some sing and dance, lavish opening."

Colin Firth said, "I am glad the pressure`s not on me this year as I am presenting award tonight. "

Jean Dujardin said, "I am not a star, I am human. Its more freedom for me. I am not the puppet, I am an artist. After the movie I shed off my moustache. I love shooting in LA, I love the energy."

Michelle Williams wore a Louis Vuitton coral dress, while funnyman Zach Galifianakis said, "I`ve never presented an Oscar. This is my first."

Penelope Cruz was in Armani Prive. She said, "I don`t analyze much on dressing. I know I like. I don`t take time in dressing up. We actors are fortunate to be able to wear these stunning dresses."

Jennifer Lopez said Oscar is Hollywood`s biggest night.

Cameron Diaz said that picking up a gown for the Oscars is a process. "I try to see what`s out there gown wise. I am wearing Gucci, the trail`s a bit heavy but it`s beautifully designed", said Diaz.