Oscars 2012: EW goes inside the star-studded rehearsals for tonight's show! -- PHOTOS

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Image Credit: AP/Chris Carlson

Billy … who?

In a place full of celebrity sightings, sometimes even the host can find himself camouflaged.

Tonight the 84th annual Oscars bring a close to Hollywood’s award season, but before that, EW takes you behind the scenes as stars gather to rehearse the big telecast.

Here’s what happened when Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise, Billy Crystal, Chris Rock, Ben Stiller, Emma Stone, Christian Bale, Tom Hanks, and the ladies of Bridesmaids (among others) came together to put on a show. Even past Oscar-winners like Gwyneth Paltrow, pictured here, can have a “d’oh” moment.

Among the stories from backstage over the past two days is the hilariously bizarre account of what happened when the voice of Darth Vader met Miracle Max — and said he mistook him for “a hoodlum.”



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Image Credit: Chris Carlson/AP

It’s rehearsal time for the Academy Awards, and a woman striding offstage pretending to be a winner is holding an Oscar so fake it could be a child’s art project.

In the shadows beside a great velvet curtain, the stand-in for best actress comes face to face with none other than the real Tom Cruise, who has an envelope clasped in his hands and is waiting for his cue to walk out and practice presenting the next award.

AP Photo/Chris Carlson

The Mission: Impossible star tips a slight bow and raises his eyebrows with a wry, mega-watt smile. “Congratulations!” he declares, like he really, really, means it. Really. He chuckles, and – after a beat – so does the stunned stand-in.

If sincerity is the goal, it is surely one of Cruise’s worst-ever performance. But he’s just goofing around.

That’s the great thing about being backstage in the final few days before the Academy Awards — guards are down, and a guy like Cruise can just kid around. Though the crew is working hard, the stars are literally going through the motions.

Tonight when the real show begins (8:30 p.m. Eastern and 5:30 Pacific, on ABC), the pressure returns for everyone with a vengeance.

MORE ON REHEARSALS: Sandra Bullock, Robert Downey Jr. and the shadow dwellers

For more Oscar news tonight, follow @Breznican on Twitter.

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