But it was the man who won the Oscar for best supporting actor who was perhaps the most watched person at the awards and who decided to use his acceptance speech as a bit of a platform. George Clooney embraced the assertion, made by Stewart, that Hollywood was far removed from the American mainstream.
"We are a little bit out of touch in Hollywood every once in awhile. It's probably a good thing," Clooney said. "This academy, this group of people gave Hattie [McDaniel] an Oscar in 1939 when blacks were still sitting in the backs of theaters."
After the ceremony, Clooney said that he "did enjoy the idea" of Hollywood being out of touch.
"It must've been a fascinating thing in 1939," he said, referring to McDaniel's Oscar win for best supporting actress. "That's what I was talking about -- out of touch."
For Clooney, however, the best part of winning was reveling in the aftermath.
"It's pretty fun," he said. "You know what's going to be fun later on tonight when I have a couple of drinks and I do a couple of interviews. Then I'm going to meet my buddies at some pub, and they're all there with their wives and I get to walk in with an Oscar and that's going to be. … That's the fun of it. You know calling up the old man and my mom and that's going to be fun."
Clooney said that he never saw himself as an actor when he was a child and that he had hoped to become a television news reporter instead.
"I wanted to be what my father did," he said. "Either being on a talk show or being a newsman, and I sort of realized when I tried reporting a couple of times that I only lacked talent and smarts. So I figured I'll get into acting that will be better."
On the other hand, Reese Witherspoon, who won for best actress for her portrayal of June Carter Cash in the Johnny Cash bio-flick "Walk the Line," has been in the business since she was a child.
At 14 years old, she starred in the tear-jerker "Man on the Moon." Witherspoon credited her family with keeping her grounded and instilling her with great confidence.
"I'm so blessed to have my family here tonight," she said in her acceptance speech. "My mother and my father are here. And I just want to say thank you so much for everything -- for being so proud of me. It didn't matter if it was making my bed or making a movie, they never hesitated to say how proud they were of me."
Witherspoon told "Good Morning America" that her mind went mostly blank when she realized she had won the Oscar and that she could only think of her parents and grandmother.
"I couldn't think of much," Witherspoon said. "But you know I just kept thinking my mother, my mother, my grandmother, my grandmother, my mother, my mother -- because really they are the reason I feel like I'm here tonight."
Winning an Oscar was something she had dreamed about for a long time, she said.
"Every time I got dumped by a boy, I always fantasized that one day he would be sorry and I would get up on stage somewhere and I would just tell him what I really thought of him," Witherspoon said.
Witherspoon also paid homage to Johnny Cash and June Carter in her acceptance speech. Like them, she said, she has tried to have memorable performances that resonate with the audience.