MTV News was all over the Oscars tonight! Check out our red-carpet report and live blog and our fashion report and live blog for the full details, but here are some behind-the-scenes moments you might not have seen on the show.
Once the show started, [movieperson id="234610"]Hugh Jackman’s[/movieperson] memorable opening number got a standing ovation from the crowd. “Milk” producer Bruce Cohen and [movieperson id="93819"]Sean Penn[/movieperson] ran out to the lobby for a minute and returned literally seconds before Dustin Lance Black won Best Original Screenplay for the film.
Backstage, [movieperson id="257378"]Anne Hathaway[/movieperson] said, “I’m having such a great time here,” and [movieperson id="155673"]Penélope Cruz[/movieperson], clutching her Oscar, explained what she had said in Spanish during her acceptance speech: “I said I wanted to dedicate it to all the actors of my country and all the people there who are watching at home. This is for them.” Backstage, virtually every question was from the Spanish-language press, and Penélope seemed pleased to continue speaking her native language. She finished by saying, “I’m going to call Woody right now,” referring to “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” director Woody Allen. “He’s so funny, charming, peculiar and unique.”
You see a lot of entertaining moments at events like the Oscars, but this one was probably the funniest: During the commercial breaks, people strolled around and schmoozed, and during one, [movieperson id="262582"]Seth Rogen’s[/movieperson] laugh was impersonated by both Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard: “We love your laugh, ‘Heh heh heh!’ ” Seth stood back, and you could tell he had one of those, “Wow, how cool was that?” moments.
One major change this year was the fact that, due to the super-tight seating conditions, most cameras were wireless and robotic, popping out from nowhere. People just didn’t know when the cameras were on them (as opposed to other years when each camera was on a cameraman’s shoulder), which probably explains some of the candid moments caught on TV.
Backstage, the press corps was asked if they wanted [movieperson id="233661"]Heath Ledger’s[/movieperson] family to come backstage after accepting the Oscar on his behalf — of course, the answer was a resounding “Yes!”
“Obviously, it belongs to Matilda,” explained Heath Ledger’s sister Kate, with father Kim adding that the Oscar statue will be placed in a trust until Heath’s daughter is 18. “Whatever has to happen in the meantime, will happen. But I’m sure it will go somewhere secure, and then it will end up with Matilda.”
After winning for Best Actress, a beaming [movieperson id="166088"]Kate Winslet[/movieperson] came backstage with her Oscar and had some words for those in her home country who’ve complained that her awards-acceptance speeches have been too emotional. “I really don’t care,” she insisted. “And quite frankly, I’m sad that my country can’t be pleased with the successes of their own kind, as the U.S. does.”
Later, she paused midsentence and said, “It’s just dawned on me that I’ve won an Oscar! It’s only beginning to sink in now, honestly. Oh, my God!”
Shortly after, Winslet ran across the press-interview room and gave an enormous hug to a veteran reporter who first interviewed her when she was 18. Wrapping her arms (and the Oscar) around a man she called “Baz,” she held the hug for a very long time; an emotional hush fell over the press room.
Sean Penn, fresh from winning Best Actor, was asked about the gay-bashing sign-holders he’d mentioned seeing on his way to the ceremony. “I’d tell them to turn in their hate card and find their better selves,” he said. “These are largely taught limitations and ignorances. It’s very sad, in a way, because it’s a demonstration of such emotional cowardice.”
Clutching his Best Picture Oscar and smiling from ear to ear, “Slumdog Millionaire” director Danny Boyle was the king of the world — and the last person to come into the press room backstage. “One of the lovely things about this evening and in the Academy giving us this is that it is an independent film; it won against the odds,” he marveled. “You see Heath Ledger’s work acknowledged in ‘The Dark Knight,’ and it was extraordinary work, but like everybody, Heath started in small films. … The studios have to protect [independent films], because that’s where everybody begins. … It’s very, very, very important. The first film I made cost a million pounds. It’s where you learn your craft.”
Boyle also talked about the decision to fly the whole “Slumdog” cast to Hollywood for the show. “We had been thinking about it, because you want to share the experience,” he said. “We were concerned about distorting their lives, because they’re all in school. … It’s impossible to imagine what they think of coming here tonight.”
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