Highlights from backstage at the Oscars:
The “Argo” trio of Ben Affleck, George Clooney and Grant Heslov took the stage, and Affleck was asked when he felt was tipping point for his movie’s victory.
“Michelle Obama,” Clooney said.
“When they gave us the trophies, I thought we would win,” Affleck said.
(At this point David Arquette was waving his number around like a kid in class but wasn’t getting called on.)
One woman used her question time to invites the trio to a foreign service ceremony. "Can you come?"
Clooney: "That's a personal question."
Another questioner’s Affleck director snub reference prompted Clooney to say: "I wasn't aware of that."
All in all, of course, Affleck felt honored to win an Academy Award: “You know what? You’re not entitled to anything.”
Anne Hathaway finally came back and, aside from being prompted to praise her husband and Hugh Jackman some more, said, ‘I do feel this evening the respect of my peers and I’m going to ride that wave as long as I can, but I’ve also got a practical approach to acting which is ‘Gotta work, gotta work gotta work.’”
She said playing Fantine helped her connect with the darkness in life, and she teared up when elaborating on her dream-come-true sentiment. “I had a dream, and that came true and that can happen, and it was wonderful.”
She also said, “The miracle of the universe is as far as they know there is 51 percent matter vs 49 percent antimatter. Things tip in the positive.”
So she stays positive. “When you live that way, it’s amazing how beautiful every day can be.”
Quentin Tarantino asked about 'Django' bones
Tarantino’s backstage session started with a ridiculous question about whether he’s aware that human bodies contain bones because in “Django” they seem to be just flesh and hair. "I don’t quite understand the question, but yes I do understand there are bones in the human body,” Tarantino said.
He also said he doesn’t see himself as an American filmmaker. "I am American and a filmmaker, but I make movies for planet earth.”
He also praised the fellow best picture nominees for finding success with uncommercial subjects. “I actually think an adult audience is rising up,” he said. “The fact that we’re not just making movies for teenagers is a cool thing, especially because I’m not a teenager anymore.”
Tarantino also acted out some back-story dialogue at length in response to question about why he included Australians at end of "Django."
Ang Lee calls 'Pi' a miracle
Director winner Ang Lee said, “I think it’s a miracle that I could make this movie, and I carried anxiety with me for four years.”
He discussed wanting to do more with visual effects, to make his own "2001."
"I refuse to think those are technicians working on the computers,” he said. “This is visual art.”
Asked about winning best director twice without best picture (the other being for “Brokeback Mountain,” Lee pointed out that Jack Nicholson awarded best picture to “Crash” as well.
Day-Lewis on his 'Lincoln' beard
Daniel Day-Lewis followed and was greeted with a question of how annoying it was to wear the beard throughout the “Lincoln” shoot?
"How do you mean wearing it?” he said. “Do you wear your hair? It was just a beard. It was mine.”
Someone else asked a weird one that had something to do with him maybe struggling to get out of character, and Day-Lewis lightly said, “I’m definitely out of character now.”
Asked whether he had help writing all of those acceptance speeches, he said, “If you can’t find your own words to say in situations like this, that would be a little sad.”
Finally, did he get any grief being a non American actor playing an American president? (Because now’s the time for that controversy, right?) “Not yet,” he said.
Adele talks 'Skyfall'
Adele Adkins and “Skyfall” co-writing Paul Epworth were announced backstage just as Jennifer Lawrence was announced as best actress. The brief Q&A began with Adele (to whom all the questions were addressed—go figure) being asked whether it was true that she recorded the song in 10 minutes.
“We’re good but we’re not that good,” she said.
She also was asked about conquering other awards shows now that she’d won at the Grammys and Oscars, and she joked about going for a Tony except, “It’s not my kind of thing, a musical, no offense.”
At which party will she celebrate? Vanity Fair. But, she noted, “one champagne, and I’m gone these days.”
She also talked a bit about her creative process with Epworth before she was thanked, left the stage, and rushed back to the mic to proclaim: “Jennifer Lawrence just won best actress—woo hoo!”
Jennifer Lawrence takes on all questions
It’s post-show rapid-fire time backstage.
Jennifer Lawrence is first, seeing journalists holding up numbers and quipping, “This isn’t like auction, right?”
Asked “What do you think this means to suffering to people with brain disease?” Lawrence said, “I don’t think we’re going to stop it until we get rid of the stigma of mental illness.”
Someone else asked about the process of getting ready for the day, which prompted her to compare herself to Steve Martin in “Father of the Bride.” As she got a bit silly, she confessed, “I’m sorry, I did a shot before. Sorry. Jesus.”
About her fall while stepping up to her stage, someone asked, “What happened?” and she answered, “What do you mean what happened? Look at this dress. I tried to walk upstairs in this dress.”
Q: “What went through your mind?”
A: “A bad word that I can’t say. That starts with ‘f.’”
Someone else pressed her on whether she worried that she was peaking too soon, and Lawrence said with a nervous laugh, “Well, now I am.”
Finally her verdict on MacFarlane and his boob song: “I loved the boob song. I thought he was great. I thought he was hilarious.”
A sedate affair, so far
Not to diss the below-the-line (i.e. not directors, producers, writers, actors) Oscar winners, but backstage has been on the sedate side during this middle-of-the-show stretch. The host back here announced that supporting actress winner Anne Hathaway had been “called back to her seat,” so she won’t be facing the formally dressed press until after the show.
Michael Haneke, director of foreign-language film winner “Amour,” also had to return to the auditorium and has yet to appear.
Also, the volume was cut on Adele’s “Skyfall” performance with the announcement, “I’m really sorry to kill Adele, but we have our winners for sound editing.”
Winning "Zero Dark Thirty" sound editor Paul N.J. Ottoson called the tie in his category "extraordinary." Asked why he keeps working with director Kathryn Bigelow, Ottoson says, “Well, we keep winning these” and holds up Oscar. (He also won one for Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker.”)
"Skyfall" sound editing co-winner Per Hallberg on tie: "Any time you get involved in any kind of history making, that would be good.”
Karen Baker Landers, the other "Skyfall" sound editing winner, said tie or not, winning an Oscar is, you know, a good thing.
The Trio of “Les Miserables” sound editing winners discussed making sure that the great on-set performances made it to the theater.
Editing winner William Goldenberg ("Argo") calls being nominated for that and "Zero Dark Thirty" the same year a "blessing."
The filmmakers behind the winning documentary feature “Searching for Sugar Man” reiterated that the movie’s musical subject, Sixto Rodriguez, preferred to watch the Oscars at home because he considered “Sugar Man” director Malik Bendjelloul’s film.
Arquette gets silly with winners
Actor David Arquette is here as member of press, I guess, and he keeps asking silly questions. He asked animated short “Paperman” winner John Kahrs: “What are you most excited about in your Oscar gift basket?”
Kahrs didn’t have much of an answer for that, but he did have praise for Disney, which ran his black-and-white short before “Wreck-It-Ralph”: “They’re really pushing for depth and stories that are going to last generations.”
The visual effects winners for “Life of Pi” discussed how technology has reached the point in which almost anything can be shown. "It is about the artistry going forward,” said one of the four co-winners (sorry, no name-tags, and I’m multitasking).
"Anna Karenina" costume design winner Jacqueline Durran credited star Keira Knightely with having made her job easier. “I think the actors have a lot to do with the costumes because they’re the ones who really make the look live,” she said.
Christoph Waltz savors early victory
Supporting actor winner Christoph Waltz (“Django Unchained”) had had just a few minutes to process his surprise victory when arrived in the “backstage” press room in the Loews Hotel and was asked: “Two Oscars in the last three years. How dose that make you feel?”
“Guess,” he responded drolly.
Pressed, he continued, “I was on a list with the greatest actors around…How do you think someone feels when all of a sudden his name is called in that context? I can’t tell you, I’m sorry.”
Then he was asked bizarrely about the prospect of a black pope, to which he responded that race shouldn’t be a factor. “I am an adamant non racist,” Waltz said.
Waltz also wouldn’t bite on a question about “Django” being the highest grossing western. “I’m just an actor,” he said. “I’m not an accountant.”
On why he likes working with "Django"/"Inglourious Basterds" Quentin Tarantino, he said. “Quentin writes poetry, and I like poetry.”
In the end he described the experience as “awesome” in the true sense. “I am in awe of the people who are in my category so the very fact that I am one of them would have meant the world, and that’s why I keep mentioning them. Robert De Niro, Alan Arkin are role models for me since I started in this profession.”