Backstage At The 2012 Academy Awards
Immediately after the winners accept their statues on the stage of the Kodak Theatre, they are whisked backstage to face the hoards of press who are waiting to hear their every word. This year's press room was full of laughter, tears, and some heartfelt words from Hollywood's biggest stars.
Meryl Streep displayed her characteristic charm after winning her third Academy Award for her depiction of Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady." When asked if she had become worried that she wouldn't win another Oscar, Streep wasn't coy in her response. "No. I have everything I've ever dreamed of in my life." She added, "I don't take anything for granted, that's for sure."
Streep also took the time to praise her longtime friend and collaborator, makeup artist Roy Helland, who also won for his work on "The Iron Lady". "It's very unusual in that branch that they give it to somebody who's just trying to transform people. And so I was really, really proud for him."
"The Artist" took home many of the top prizes of the night, and director Michel Hazanavicius was praised for taking a creative risk with the film. Backstage, however, he downplayed the film's greater significance. "Usually, it's not one movie that can help to change things. If 10 movies or 20 movies in the same year are very different in a way, that can change a little bit."
"Hugo" won big in the night's more visual categories, and the winners continually attributed the film's success to it's acclaimed director. As sound editor Eugene Gearty put it backstage, "When you work for Martin Scorsese, there's always a chance you're going to be nominated for an Oscar."
Winners for Best Documentary Feature for "Undefeated" TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas thanked the subjects of their film, making sure to emphasize what they had wanted to say in their acceptance speech before the music cut them off prematurely. "We could not thank the community of North Memphis enough. We should not be the ones standing up here. Their trust in us in telling their story is what enabled our success."
The other acting winners were all ecstatic after accepting the first Academy Awards of their careers. Recognized for his work in "Beginners", Christopher Plumber reflected on being the oldest actor to ever win at the Oscars. "It has recharged me and I hope I can do it for another ten years at least. I'm going to drop dead wherever I am, on stage or on the set. We don't retire in our profession, thank God."
When asked about her plan for future roles, "The Help"'s Octavia Spencer decided to answer the question more broadly. "I want to be a producer. I want to be an activist. I want to be proactive in bringing about work for men, women, boys, girls, everybody who is good at what they do and deserve a shot at it."
Her words resonated the grateful feeling of many Oscar winners tonight. "I'm just going to live in this moment, because it's never happened before and lord knows it may never happen again."
Reach Joel here.