Backstage At The 2012 Academy Awards: The Winners
Every year hundreds of journalists from around the world flock to Los Angeles to report on the Academy Awards. After the red carpet has ended, the press makes their way back to the press room to await the winners. Backstage at the Oscars, the energy is electric, the hors d'oeuvre are world-class, and the stars are ready to share their emotions with the world.
Here are some of the best quotes from this year's winners:
BEST PICTURE: The Artist, Thomas Langmann
The Artist was the night's big winner, but producer Thomas Langmann said the film didn't garner the same attention in the beginning of its run.
"When we started this movie, you know, all the meetings that we had were very short," he said. No one wanted to help us making a silent black and white movie. I knew because it was silent and black and white, it would be different, original. And all the weakness that were at the beginning became strengths."
Langmann was also proud of the film's ability to connect with people who wouldn't typically watch a silent film. "I've shown this movie to kids, and some of them had never seen a black and white movie, and they thought it would be really boring. And they said they watched it, and after five, ten minutes, they enjoyed it."
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE: Jean Dujardin, The Artist
The Artist's silent star was very quiet backstage, but he did get the chance to talk about his preparation for the role.
"It was not really intellectual, and I'm not an intellectual. No, I watch a lot of movies. Douglas Fairbanks movies, Gene Kelly movies. I had fun pretending to be a movie star in the 1920s," Dujardin said.
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Streep was both grateful and honored to be standing in her position, and she took the time to give her advice to young girls.
"Never give up. Don't give up, don't give up. I mean, many girls around the world live in circumstances that are unimaginably difficult. And show business is a golf game compared to the way most kids grow up in the world. But I would say never give up."
Streep is a third time Oscar winner, and she felt that her feeling was best summed up in a quote. "'It is as strange to be here once as it is to return.'"
"It is strange, the whole thing is strange, she added."
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Christopher Plumber, Beginners
Upon walking backstage, Plumber was immediately asked how it felt to be the oldest actor to ever win an Oscar. He contested that he was not, in fact, the oldest Oscar recipient.
"I don't believe that for a second. I think that Charlie Chaplin, even though it was an honorary Oscar, wasn't he 83? I mean, an honorary Oscar after all is an Oscar, we hope." He then added, "I'm not sure, but it feels pretty good anyway."
Plumber also addressed commentary about his portrayal of a gay man in Beginners. "We're all actors, and a gay actor can play a straight guy beautifully and vice versa. It's wonderful, because it cancels out all of the sexual differences and all the sort of preconceived misunderstandings of a sexual existence."
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Octavia Spencer, The Help
The chemistry of "The Help"'s cast was a consistent theme throughout the night. "We just left our egos at the door and worked together as one beautiful unit from Emma, Viola, Bryce, Allison, Janney. I mean, it was an award winning cast. So to be a part of that and to just sort of dissolve into the world that we were representing is something that we're supposed to do as actors but it was rare that we did it without judgment, with each other."
She went on to further praise her co-stars, ever grateful to be part of the film. "You can't ever think that you're the best thing since sliced bread because I promise you, there are going to be Viola Davises and Jessica Chastains and Emma Stones who are the best thing since sliced bread."
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: Rango, Gore Verbinski
Rango's director spoke about the difference between directing for animation and live action, paying major props toward the former's difficulty.
"There are no gifts in animation. We have to fabricate everything, including the anomalies."
Verbinski was also asked to address his directorial decision to have the actors read scenes together, rather than separately, which is the typical workflow in an animated film.
"I think it made it feel like it was occurring and we encouraged line overlaps and we encouraged people to be out of breath," he said. "So we really were kind of paranoid of the computer making things clinical, and it so lends itself to perfection. So suddenly you had the feeling, I guess in the soundtrack, that there was a tortoise talking to a lizard, because Johnny (Depp) was talking to Ned Beatty and they were actually playing the scene together."
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Hugo, Robert Richardson
A constant topic in the world of photography, Richardson was asked about the differences of shooting digital and film.
"I don't think it's an issue of film versus digital. I'm hoping that film can survive for as long as possible. I hope Kodak sticks here, but it's not over yet, virtually every film is digitized in one way or another, so we have to think about that. The digital media sweep."
Like many other winners, he was very gracious after his win. "I'm elated. I didn't see this as happening. I have to say, personally, I love the work of (Emmanuel Lubezki) in The Tree of Life. I also think he's well overdue, but that said, I am extraordinarily happy."
ART DIRECTION: Hugo, Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo
Backstage the couple spoke about their happiness to be working in a field they love with someone they care about. Ferretti said it best when he spoke about how little his life has changed because of his three Oscars.
"Tomorrow morning I have to wake up very early, I have to go back to work, and anyway, it's good," Ferretti said. "For me it doesn't change because this is something important, for your work, but for me every time I start a new film it's like my first one. So for this, when the people ask me, when do you go on vacation, for me, I go on vacation when I start a new movie."
COSTUME DESIGN: The Artist, Mark Bridges
Bridges spoke about the challenges and benefits of designing costumes for a black and white film. "We actually filmed it in color because there was a chance that the film would at some markets be shown in color. Luckily, we were able to finally prevail with it in black and white. You know, it really comes down to different values, and I was very concerned about the graphics, whether the actors would separate from the backgrounds that they're standing in front of. Once we got the textures down, we knew textures read beautifully. I could tell a story with textures."
He was then asked about working with Jean Dujardin. Was it as amazing as people seem to think? "Yes, and then some. He's an extraordinary person."
DIRECTING: The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius
The French director was asked if The Artist would mark his move to Hollywood. He was gracious towards the idea, but his heart is still in France.
"It's not the next step. This movie brings me some opportunities to meet people and some of them propose me, send scripts, or told me that they wanted to work with me. And if there's a chance to make a good movie I will do it, really with honor and great pleasure, because people know how to make movies here. So there's some beautiful actors, beautiful scriptwriters and, yes, I hope I will make a movie here once. It won't be the next one."
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Undefeated, TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay, and Rich Middlemas
After spouting the f-word on stage, director TJ Martin immediately wished to apologize to the viewers.
"That wasn't the classiest thing in the world. However, with that said it did come from the heart, and it was absolutely spontaneous. And, there was no way in the world we thought this would ever happen."
After a brief interruption when the film's executive producer Sean "Diddy" Combs burst into the room, Martin continued to speak about the filmmakers' intention.
"We should add that we never set out to make a social issues based film. Our whole intention was to tell a wonderful human interest story, really a coming of age film, and that hopefully, once again, inspired a greater conversation and a greater dialog."
DOCUMENTARY SHORT: Saving Face, Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Director Obaid-Chinoy expressed her pride in the international films the Academy chose to honor this year.
"I think that some of the choices that the Academy's made today, an Irani film has won, a Pakistani film has won, shows that, yes, the Academy does value good work that's put out across the world, not just in North America."
She also talked about making a film in her native country "I lived in the United States for ten years. I went to college here and worked here, and I chose to go back because people like myself need to go back to create change in Pakistan."
FILM EDITING: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
In years past the award for Film Editing has gone to the same film as the award for Best Picture. When asked about the reason for this correlation, winner Kirk Baxter replied, "They're one and the same thing, and that's the end result you're looking for is the final outcome of the film."
"I think that we were flabbergasted when we were standing there kind of speaks for itself. Movies have momentum behind them. There's a few films this year that have that momentum. Our movie wasn't nominated for Best Picture so it was surprising for us."
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Iran, A Separation, Asghar Farhadi
"I'm very happy about this award and I believe that Iranian people are also very happy, and this is what really matters to me," Farhadi expressed to the press.
When he was asked about how the Iranian government would respond to her award, he showed that his heart lies with the opinion of the citizens. "The Iranian government is not unanimous at all. When this film was nominated, some were very happy, some were excited, and some were not as happy, so it's not like you have the same level of people in the system. To me what matters is that the people of Iran are happy."
MAKEUP: The Iron Lady, Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland
Coming off his first Oscar win, Coulier joked about his career outlook for the future.
"I've heard that sometimes people win an Oscar and never work again, because people think they are going to be too expensive. So we will see what happens, but hopefully things will go up from this point in time."
On the subject of working with Meryl Streep: "It was not covering up Meryl Streep completely, and trying too hard to make her look like Margaret Thatcher. It was just picking out elements of Margaret Thatcher and transposing them on to Meryl Streep and leaving her with freedom to move, and still express and emote and act."
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE): The Artist, Ludovic Bource
The French composer was lavish after his win in expressing his feelings toward American film. "All of the work I did on The Artist was a declaration of love to American culture, American cinema."
With The Artist having no dialogue, many have said that the music in the film is a character of it's own. Bource agreed with that statement, adding, "it's a unique language and I'm so honored to have been able to have made this movie."
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG): "Man or Muppet" from The Muppets, Bret McKenzie
Flight of the Conchords frontman and first-time winner Bret McKenzie spoke very highly of Muppets creator Jim Henson. "He is a huge inspiration. And the other thing I love about the guy is he made children's films that I think he found funny; that he was making them for adults, that didn't patronize the minds of children.
The New Zealander also put his take on the nation's consistent success in fostering creative minds. "America, I think everyone's obsessed with their careers. New Zealand, you get to just live your dreams."
SHORT FILM (ANIMATED): "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore", William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg
The duo expressed great elation that their small production studio was able to take home a prize that has recently gone to industry giants such as Sony and Pixar.
"Our short was to serve two purpose: one, to tell a great story; two, to serve as a calling card for our company, Moonbot Studios. And the whole point was to just try to get the world to recognize what we're capable of in Shreveport, Louisiana, and that there's a level of quality that they can come to expect based on what this short exudes."
Oldenburg also alluded that this was just the beginning for the studio. "We want to do more shorts. We want to do more apps. We want to do more games. We want to do more books."
SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION): "The Shore", Terry George and Oorlagh George
The pair was asked by a past winner if they were ready for the ride of your life, to which Terry George responded, "I actually thought it had happened already, but I'll take your word for it."
George then spoke about his post-Oscar plans. "Well, I'm going to go back to the little village where we shot this. Already tonight they had an Oscar party at a place called The Anchor Bar, so I'm going to return with the prize, and then hopefully use it to promote, not just the peace process in northern Ireland, but tourism and everything that's going on there. So I hope that this is just a reaffirmation that things have changed there and that we're trying to move on and it's a great place to be."
SOUND EDITING: Hugo, Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
Stockton spoke about Hugo's dominance in the night's technical categories. "I mean, obviously, a lot of technical skills went into this. I'm actually a little disappointed that there weren't any actor and actress nominations for this. Obviously it was a technical masterpiece to pull off. Obviously, the tech awards to have that recognized makes a lot of sense."
He also payed great tribute to the film's score for helping it become what it was. "What was great on this was Howard Shore's score was such a masterpiece, and we were very fortunate to be able to work early on together, and it intertwined."
SOUND MIXING: Hugo, Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
Fleischman addressed the challenge of mixing the audio of a 3D movie and spoke about the wonders of 7.1 channel surround sound.
"When they first talked to me about this, my attitude was that we have been mixing in 3D for years. We've had surround speakers in the theaters, and we've always been able to bring 3D to the screen. So, in that sense it really wasn't too much of a challenge. We were fortunate enough to be able to use a new theater format which was going to be 7.1 format, which splits the surround speakers into four channels instead of two. And that allows us to open up the sounds and make it a little bit more open. It's very nice."
VISUAL EFFECTS: Hugo, Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann and Alex Henning
Legato also addressed Hugo's third dimension, this time through the realm of visual effects.
"What we are trying to do with the 3D of the movie itself is to basically extend the art form of cinema by using the depth that you get, and every shot was designed to take advantage of the depth that would enhance the model of the story. So, every shot was literally made to be in 3D and designed to give you some depth or emotional response from it."
Grossmann then went on to discuss designing for the self-reflexivity of metafilm.
"We chose on every occasion we could to use techniques that might have been used by Georges Melies himself, and some to great effect, and the subtle blends of all those things and what we were trying to achieve with, hopefully, a degree of art that we would want to evaluate our portion of the program."
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY): The Descendants, Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
Writer/director Alexander Payne answered some specific questions about the script, notably the decision to use footage from March of the Penguins during the film's final scene.
"I came into the cutting room after shooting, and one of the assistant editors had just dropped it in there, and we, we meaning the editor and I, tried to replace it during the months and months of editing, and we never found anything better so there it stayed. It's one of those things. Fell off the truck."
Screenwriters Jim Rash and Nat Faxon felt the need to explain after copying presenter Angelina Jolie's now-famous leg-revealing stance on stage. Rash's explanation? "I just saw her pose and I thought, you know what, we have exactly the same legs."
WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY): Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen
Not in attendance.
Reach writer Joel Kutz here