"I'm having flashbacks!" he said to Common, with whom he shared Best Original Song honors last year for "Glory." Of singing with the cast of Selma at the 2015 Oscars, Legend says, "I'll never forge that. That was probably the biggest performance of my life!"
Playful excitement characterized Oscar rehearsals throughout an action-packed day that saw a steady stream of A-listers breeze in and out. Some presenters, including Sarah Silverman – who was dressed super-casual in camouflage pants, a parka and ball cap – snapped a commemorative photo or, like Kerry Washington, took a selfie from the stage after learning their lines.
Perhaps the most chummy and relaxed (no surprise here) were Tina Fey and Steve Carell, who linked arms and laughed from the stage. That is until Fey spotted a prime orchestra seat with a placard showing her friend Jason Sudeikis' photo.
"Sudeikis got a good seat!" Fey said, feigning awe. "How'd SSudeikis get such a good seat?!" Soon, Carell concluded aloud, "Tina's been drinking."
The fun continued: Sofia Vergara, in black leggings, strappy black platforms and that engagement ring sparkling under the lights, gave presenter Byung-hun Lee bunny-ears for a photo.
A spirited Russell Crowe poked his head from side to side behind Ryan Gosling, casual in a plaid button-down and black jeans, before the two bantered from the stage. When Morgan Freeman, in blue jeans and a jean shirt, fumbled over a line, he good-naturedly told those peppering the orchestra seats, "Go ahead and laugh if you want!"
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Having mastered the TelePrompTer (Fey for one tried her lines with and without her glasses), and learning their stage blocking, the stars, including Eddie Redmayne, Jennifer Garner and last year's Best Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons, were onstage for just a few minutes before heading out.
"See you tomorrow!" said Olivia Wilde, wearing jeans and a Keith Richards tee, to the crew as she sped off-stage into the wings. Smiling, she added, "It is tomorrow, right?"