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LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Marcia Gay Harden, who played the long-suffering wife of artist Jackson Pollock in ``Pollock,'' won the Oscar as best supporting actress, the first major award of Sunday night's 73rd annual Academy Awards.

Harden noted that few people had seen ``Pollock,'' since it opened in theaters the same week as the Oscar nominations, and thanked the voters for taking the time to review the videotapes made available to them.

``Ed Harris, thank you for inviting me to share your passion,'' she said to her director.

Because ``Pollock'' had little theater exposure, Harden was considered a longshot. Judi Dench of ``Chocolat'' and Kate Hudson of ``Almost Famous'' were considered more likely.

The show began from orbit as astronaut Susan Helms, with fellow crewmembers of the International Space Station floating by her side, introduced first-time host Steve Martin.

``By the way that introduction coast the government $1 trillion,'' Martin quipped to the glittering Shrine Auditorium throng.

The show started with more than the usual aura of excitement.

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