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Highlights From The Winners At The Oscars Interview Room

Piya Sinha-Roy |
February 28, 2011 | 1:13 p.m. PST

Senior Entertainment Editor

Colin Firth being interviewed after winning Best Actor for "The King's Speech" (Rick Salyer/©A.M.P.A.S)
Colin Firth being interviewed after winning Best Actor for "The King's Speech" (Rick Salyer/©A.M.P.A.S)
It was an exciting night to be sitting front row in the Interview Room at the Kodak Theater, waiting eagerly for the Oscar winners to be announced so that we could have a chance to interview them. 

For most the journalists, there was little debate over who the winners would be, as awards season had been dominated by "The King's Speech" and "Black Swan." There was more curiosity about the new hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway, to see if they could fill the huge prestigious shoes delegated to them in order to draw in a younger crowd.

As the awards show kicked off with a hilarious skit by hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway incorporating the Best Picture nominees (Alec Baldwin - “You just got Inceptioned!”), the journalists all gathered around to watch with interest to see if this year was really “the young and hip Oscars.”

It didn't take long for the bad language to begin. The first big winner of the night caused quite a stir on stage while accepting her award. Melissa Leo, who won Best Supporting Actress for her role in “The Fighter,” earned more recognition on the night for being the first person to drop an F-bomb at the Oscars. 

“Those words, I apologize to anyone that they offend," said Leo in the press room. "There’s a great deal of the English language that is in my vernacular!”

The actress, who looked so unlike her character Alice Ward in “The Fighter”, had kept the real-life Alice in mind when picking her white and gold lace overlay Marc Bouwer dress. 

“The dress I’m wearing tonight, I’d like to think that Alice would have liked it…I noticed a lot of the footage of Alice at the fights had her in white…I think back in the days of black and white, it showed up well on camera.”

The first British winner of the night, our favorite bad boy Christian Bale was next up, winning his first Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for “The Fighter,” and delivering quite a heartfelt acceptance speech especially when thanking his wife and daughter. 

“I have a question for you guys,” says Bale as he walked into the room with excited energy. “I hope to God that I said Mark and Melissa and Amy and Jack. Did I mention them?” 

We assured him he had. “Fantastic. All right. Huge relief.”

In true bad boy fashion, Bale revealed that he had been drinking at a bar with his wife and Dicky Eklund (who he portrayed in “The Fighter”) and had missed Melissa Leo’s speech.

“I was literally banging on the door with Dicky, going ‘let us in.” And they wouldn’t let us in…I missed the F bomb. But, you know, I’ve laid down many of them myself before. So I think I know what it was all about.”

Bale addressed his significant weight loss for his role in “The Fighter” to portray a drug-addict welterweight fighter, hitting back at critics who said that weightloss had become his trademark.

“I just like the character, and it wasn’t till a little bit later I realized he’s a welterweight and a crack head. How many fat crack heads do you see? Then I realized, that’s what I have to do.”

This isn’t the first time the actor has drastically altered his physical form, having lost almost one third of his body weight for “The Machinist” before bulking up to play Batman.

“I just want to be really smart about any other body alterations that I make in future. I know that too many of them just, you know, there’s only so much your body can take…Maybe that will be the last of it. I’ve said that a few times before.”

And just because he’s picked up the little gold man doesn’t mean he’s hanging up his Bat cape yet. “When I finish the movie in China, it’s straight on to Batman. So absolutely, much more Batman.”

After a stream of other Oscar winners through the interview room, we finally got to Best Actress Natalie Portman, who looked absolutely radiant in her deep purple flowing Rodarte, a brand that she has been significant in supporting.

The actress, who is topping off her big year of getting engaged and getting pregnant by getting an Oscar, looked slightly exhausted as she looked around the room. 

“It feels very very dreamlike right now. I don’t really know where I am.”

Portman, who picked up the accolade for playing ballerina Nina in “Black Swan,” talked about her own interpretation of the terrifyingly beautiful film. 

“I think that one of the most beautiful things about the film is that it can be interpreted in so many different ways. I really see it as this young woman's coming of age and that she becomes a woman. She starts out a girl and becomes a woman by finding her own artistic voice and sort of killing the child's version of herself. She becomes a woman. So I don't see it necessarily as a death at the end like many people do.”

When asked about her baby (she clarified that she is yet to know the sex of her child), Portman warmed up to talk about her excitement at becoming a mother. 

“One of the most exciting things about being pregnant is that I just I'm accepting the complete unknown, it's a complete mystery and miracle. And, yeah, it's really just accepting that I have no idea, which is what all of us live every day.”

And it appears that her little bundle of joy may be picking up the dancer gene. “The baby was definitely kicking a lot during the song portion. A little dancer!”

For Portman, winning the Oscar has earned her a well deserved rest. 

“The next dream I have in terms of very short term future is staying in bed, not having to do my makeup or hair, and keeping my sweats on, relaxing. And for my child, I mean, just to be happy and healthy I think is what every parent could ever wish for.”

Next up was Colin Firth, looking incredibly suave and handsome with his Oscar in hand. Feeling quite surreal seeing the man who had first captured my heart as a 15-year-old watching school-issued BBC "Pride and Prejudice," it was comforting to see that the statuette had not transformed the charming rambling of Mr Firth. 

Firth, who mentioned having to control some impulses and needing some alone time in his acceptance speech, was unfortunately not willing to bust out the dance moves in the Interview Room, although it did seem like his will power to do so was fading fast.

“I was struggling with the containment in that moment and I think I need some quality time alone. I don't think this is the particular forum to display that. Anyone having seen “Mamma Mia” will know what I'm talking about!”

Speaking about the PG-13 cut for the US film market that takes out the expletives used in the film, Firth vehemently declared “I don’t support it.”

“I think the film has its integrity as it stands…I'm not someone who is casual about that kind of language. I take my children to see football games and I wouldn't be able to if I wanted to protect them from those kind of words at the expense of all else. I hate hearing that language around them, but I'm not going to deny them an experience of a live game. You know, it does distress me to, you know, to hear that language bawled in the ears of my kids. So I don't take that stuff lightly. But the context of this film could not be more edifying, more appropriate. It's not vicious. It's not to do insult or it's not in any context which might offend people.”

And after delivering such a human portrayal of the King George and getting the royal seal of approval, will the Firths be attending the big royal event of the year?

“As I understand, all the invitations [for the royal wedding] have already gone out. Mine’s almost definitely lost in the post somewhere.”

Of course, the night was far from over. As the journalists wrapped up and filed their final pieces, the stars and winners walked the short walk to the Governor’s Ball before finishing their night at the numerous A-list parties around town. The 83rd Oscars may be over, but for the winners, it’s a starry road ahead.


Highlights from the other winner's speeches:

Tom Hooper, Best Director, "The King's Speech" - On the trio of man-love on set.

"I think Geoffrey, Colin and I have an extraordinary connection. We had a rehearsal period of about three weeks where we workshopped the script, worked daily on the script. And I just I think we became incredibly good friends and became close in that rehearsal period. And we will be good friends, we will be friends for life."

"We basically shot the Geoffrey and Colin stuff first. And so, when [Helena Bonham Carter] she arrived, she arrived in this incredibly strong bond between them, and it was a source of this endless quality from then on. But she felt that the real love story was between the two men and not between her and Colin. She acted the supportive wife brilliantly on camera, as you know, but off camera was constantly teasing us for the fact that the love should really be between him and her husband."

Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin, Best Picture, "The King's Speech" - On whether they are monarchists.

Canning - "I come from a Scottish mother and an English father, so I think the dynamic of the film pretty much sums up my parenting." 

Sherman - "Obviously I'm Australian, but I think there's something in this movie about sense of duty and the sort of duty that comes with the crown and people who, whether they're monarchists or whatever their sort of view of the monarchy is, has responded I think very deeply to this quite old fashioned notion of duty which really the world has partly forgotten. 

Unwin - "If we're talking personally, then, yes, I am a monarchist. I believe the role that the royal family plays in the U.K., in dark times we always need leaders and sometimes they're elected and sometimes they find that leadership through heritage. What we've done is put a spotlight on the family that has served our country well for many, many years and maybe people draw inspiration from that, but I think at the end of the day we're all just very, very proud of making the film and it's the stuff of boyhood dreams." (maybe a last minute bid to score an invite to the royal wedding?)

Aaron Sorkin, Best Adapted Screenplay, "The Social Network" - On Mark Zuckerberg's response to the film.

"As for Mark, I don't mean to diminish anything, I think he's been an awfully good sport about this. You know, I don't think there's anybody here who would want a movie made about things they did when they were 19 years old."

Lee Unkrich, Best Animated Feature, "Toy Story 3" - On making Buzz Lightyear Spanish.

"You know, we just thought that the whole gag of Buzz turning Spanish was really funny. It made us laugh, and we tried to stay as true to it as possible and have Buzz become this Castillon lover in the film, and people really enjoyed it."

Randy Newman, Best Original Song, "We Belong Together" ["Toy Story 3"] - On constantly striving to be better.

"I would like to still get better. What I have been doing since I was 15 is writing songs and making records. There's a lot of evidence that people do their best work before they're 25. These pants are 25."

David Seidler, Best Original Screenplay, "The King's Speech" - On Queen Elizabeth's response to the film's portrayal of her father.

"Well, I don't know that directly because I was not in the palace, but we have certainly heard, and it has not been denied and it could easily be denied, that Her Majesty has seen the film. We are told that she was moved and amused. I am deeply moved by that, and I am very gratified that if this is true, she clearly understood that this was written and made with a great deal of love, affection and respect for her father. And as I said in my speech, I'm awfully glad she didn't send me to the tower of London for putting the F word into her father's mouth." 

Robert Stromberg and Karen O'Hara, Best Art Direction, "Alice In Wonderland" - On Johnny Depp causing a ruckus on set.

O'Hara - "I think that the most difficult time that we had was when Johnny [Depp] decided to walk across the table and suddenly all of our china and our tables, we had to triplicate. Other than that, though, we had a wonderful time working with Tim and this is really a nod to him and his supportive artists."

Wally Pfister, Best Cinematography, "Inception" - On filming the complexity of dreams.

"Most of my dreams are too filthy to talk about in an open room of women."

Charles Ferguson and Audrey Mars, Best Documentary Feature, "Inside Job" - On their biggest challenge, and winning over Banksy.

Ferguson - "We did not receive any threats. There were some surprises. I would say that the biggest surprise to me personally and biggest disappointment was that nobody in the Obama Administration would speak with me, even off the record, including people that I had known for many, many years."

Marrs on the Banksy film - "I would never question the integrity of another filmmaker, and I appreciate the fact that there was a film that was fun and funny, and I don't think documentarians should necessarily feel obligated to make films about these really heavy subjects." 

Ferguson - "I thought the Banksy film was lovely. It was a beautiful film."

Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter, Best Film Editing, "The Social Network" - On the significance of the film in light of Middle Eastern revolution.

"Personally, I never took on any kind historic significance we faced because we were trying to help tell a story that David was presenting. So we were reacting to material he gave. So it wasn't a sort of role digging in research or worry if we were treading on someone's toes."

Susanne Bier, Best Foreign Language Film, "In A Better World" [Denmark] - On her acceptance speech.

"I didn't say anything I intended to."

Rick Baker and David Elsey, Best Makeup, "The Wolfman" - On doing things old-school with prostetics.

"Boy, I mean, that's something I wanted to do in this film because it was an old school horror movie and we did the makeup very old school. We intentionally had an old school approach with the handling of hair and using form rubbery stuff."

Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb, Best Visual Effects, "Inception" - On getting an Oscar versus folding Paris in half.

"Well, you know, they're both dreamlike situations, and I have to say, I'm hoping I don't actually ever wake up from this one."

Reach Senior Entertainment Editor Piya Sinha-Roy here, and follow her on Twitter @PiyaSRoy.



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