He showed up to watch Pixar’s “Up” win best-animated — and to air the first iPad ad

Photo: UPI/Jim Ruyman

Photo: Wayne Sutton

Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar triumph for the “Hurt Locker” may be the headline in Monday’s papers, but for Apple AAPL fans the big news Sunday evening was Steve Jobs’ appearance on the red carpet in a tuxedo.

“OMG, it’s Steve Jobs! I’m the only one yelling at him!” tweeted marketing strategist Wayne Sutton, who grabbed a snapshot from across the carpet and quickly posted it on the Internet.

Jobs is no stranger to Hollywood, of course. He is Disney’s DIS largest shareholder and is enmeshed in complex negotiations to get more films and TV shows on Apple’s devices. He was on hand to watch “Up” win a best-animated-feature Oscar for Pixar — the fifth for the company he bought in 1986 and sold to Disney in 2006.

But Jobs is also something of a showman in his own right, and he knows how to take advantage of the massive TV audiences Hollywood’s big nights can draw.

Four days after Jobs unveiled his new tablet computer, Steven Colbert hosted the Grammys with an iPad slyly tucked under his belt. And last night at the Academy Awards, two days after the April 3 ship date was announced, Apple aired its first iPad ad — three times, for those who watched the entire 3-hour-and-32-minute broadcast. (Some viewers in metropolitan New York may have missed the first one after Disney yanked ABC from 3.1 million Cablevision CVC homes in a bit of contract brinksmanship that was only resolved a quarter hour into the show.)

Below: The ad as it appears on Apple’s YouTube page. The music is The Blue Van’s “There Goes My Love”; the action seems to have been accelerated a bit at the end to make the device look even zippier than it is.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]