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Backstage At The Oscars

Deidre Crawford |
March 12, 2010 | 6:17 p.m. PST

Senior Editor, Arts and Culture

Jeff Bridges celebrates his long-awaited win backstage at the Academy Awards.
(Photo provided by Academy Motion Picture of Arts and Sciences, ©A.M.P.A.S.)

While viewers were watching the excitement onstage, reporters were getting their own show behind-the-scenes in the press room at Sunday's Academy Awards.

Sandra Bullock arrived backstage to hoots and hollers for her win for Best Actress in The Blind Side, looking stunning in her champagne silver Marchesa dress with antique beading.  Amidst the excitement over her surprise win, she talked about her post-show aspirations.
"I just want a burger and I just want some food.  I want to eat and not sweat it and not worry the dress will bust open... and I'd like a nap, too," she told reporters.
Bullock jokingly threatened to unleash her husband on anyone who pressed her for the details of his private whisperings to her immediately after it was announced that she had won Best Actress.  
"He's right there.  Don't piss him off...  I'd never divulge what Jesse says unless he divulges it first.  It's between me and the man," she joked while deflecting a reporter's question for more information.
Bullock said despite her Oscar win, she still looks forward to doing mainstream films and doesn't feel the pressure to choose only one genre.
"Just because I did commercial films, doesn't mean I couldn't do wonderful, small, art house films.  Just because I won an Oscar, I don't want to ever stop doing something that makes people laugh," she explained to the room.
When discussing her career, Bullock described past co-star Ryan Reynolds as "a freak of nature" because of his exceptional good looks, and said that "no one realizes how much fun Meryl Streep is," which is part of why she kissed her onstage at the Critics' Choice Awards.  The other reason, she explained, was to diffuse media hype that there was tension between the Best Actress nominees.
Reporters pressed her for how she felt about receiving a "Razzie" for Worst Actress the same year she received an Academy Award.
"It probably means more that both of them happened at the same time because it's the great equalizer.  It quickly chops me off at the knees and I like it that way because it just keeps things stable," she said, after joking the Razzie award would sit on a lower shelf below her Oscar at home.
Best Supporting Actress winner Mo'Nique easily took control of the press room when she walked in, deciding on her own order of calling on reporters rather than letting the Academy staff choose, as is the norm.  She handpicked a reporter to ask about the color of her dress, a royal blue tribute to Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to win an Academy Award in 1940 for Gone With the Wind.
 

"The reason why I have on this royal blue dress is because it's the color that Hattie McDaniel wore in 1940 when she accepted her Oscar... Ms. Hattie McDaniel, I feel you all over me, and it's about time that the world feels you all over them," said Mo'Nique.


After her win for Best Actress,
Sandra Bullock joked about only
wanting a burger to complete her night. 
(Photo provided by Academy Motion
Picture of Arts and Sciences,
©A.M.P.A.S.)
One of the funniest moments of the night came when a reporter asked the comedian what she thought would happen to Hollywood actresses if they had more natural figures and didn't shave their legs.  Mo'Nique replied, "They'd win Oscars."
Kathryn Bigelow still appeared overwhelmed by her multiple wins for The Hurt Locker, eventually having screenwriter Mark Boal take over questions at one point while she gave her voice a break.  
Bigelow described her fellow nominees as "phenomenal, powerful, talented filmmakers" and said winning an Oscar was a "humbling experience."   In a surprising sweep, the film won for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.
When asked about Nicolas Chartier, the Hurt Locker producer who was prominently missing from the line-up after having been barred by the Academy for his email campaign disparaging Avatar and urging voters to vote for the Hurt Locker, the creative team behind the film had only positive things to say about him.
"We haven't spoken to him yet.  He sent me a very beautiful email.  He had a party thrown for him, and I think he's very pleased, and we're going to meet him later tonight at some of the parties," said Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal.
Boal was also questioned about the current lawsuit he and Bigelow are facing by Master Sgt. Jeffrey Sarver, who claims Boal based the screenplay for The Hurt Locker and the character of Sgt. William James on Sarver's life.
"Jeff is a brave soldier, the screenplay is a work of fiction and not based on any one person's story," Boal responded.
Boal said he was inspired to write the screenplay after being embedded with troops in Iraq for a story he was writing as a journalist in 2004.
"I thought the story of these guys who have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world would be an interesting way to look at the war in a broader sense...  these are extremely important moments that need to be explored by artists." 
Best Actor winner Jeff Bridges kept things loose and upbeat with reporters, easily joking with them with champagne in hand.  When asked about the possibility of forming a band with co-star Colin Farrell, he said he was flattered and hadn't thought about it, but joked that he would maybe talk to Farrell about it.
Bridges went on to effuse about his wife and daughters, whom he says are the key to his success and keep him grounded.
"She (his wife) holds that kite string.  Lets me go way out there, and then it's so sweet being reeled back in.  I love coming home... I guess the girls are the tail of the kite, keep me centered like that," he beamed.
Country singer Ryan Bingham who won the award for Best Song for Crazy Heart's "The Weary Kind," along with T-Bone Burnett, also spoke of his wife's support.  He had already won over the press room when he told his wife he loved her "more than rainbows" in his acceptance speech and he continued to espouse his feelings towards her backstage.
"It's tough to write sad songs when you are around such a beautiful woman as she is," he said.
Bingham said Farrell has a "beautiful" voice and that he had been rooting for him to play an Irish country singer in the movie, but eventually realized it didn't work and so opted to make his character American.
When Best Supporting Actor winner Christoph Waltz finally had his turn in the press room towards the end of the night, he was asked what the nomination and awards process were like and described the whole Oscar experience as "dizzying."
"It's mind boggling, it's fantastic, it's very intense.  It takes a long time and I couldn't have possibly imagined that it would be like that.  It was fantastic.  Tomorrow I'm probably sorry that it's over," he joked to the room.
Fortunately for Waltz, despite the show's running 30 minutes over its scheduled run-time, the night was far from over for the winners, who were still expected to appear at the Governors Ball and numerous after-parties to further celebrate their wins.


Reach reporter Deidre Crawford here. Join Neon Tommy's Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter.



 

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