Journalists crammed in once again to talk to all the winners of the Oscars as they were brought backstage after their big win.
When the reporters weren't busy stuffing their faces with sandwiches, pasta and cookies, they were chugging Powerade and Full Throttle energy drinks to keep themselves going for the very long day and the long night they had ahead.
While they were sitting down filing their reports on cell phones, computers and various phone lines, their questions were sometimes insightful, and sometimes silly.
Ang Lee received a lot of questions in Taiwanese, which were hard for everyone else to understand. The same can be said for the Frenchmen of "March of the Penguins," not speaking in Taiwanese, but in French, of course. Other than that, we, the many journalists from around the world, laughed heartily at Jon Stewart's many jokes when we could hear him, but most of the time, we paid close attention to the folks backstage as we applauded their successes during the night. Here are comments from some of the big winners as they joined us backstage at the 78th Annual Academy Awards:
George Clooney: He was asked what gay movie he would do, and if he was dating Teri Hatcher. He said thanks for getting right to the point. He said "another Batman movie" would be gay and that he never talks about his personal life.
Regarding his win for "Syriana," Clooney said he will continue to do movies that reflect what is going on and important in today's society. Someone called him "Mr. Clooney," which he said is only happening now that he's won an Oscar. He handed out compliments and told the journalists that asked him questions how nice they looked.
Early in the night, someone said "in the unlikely event that you don't win again, I need to ask you something about "Good Night, and Good Luck," everyone laughed -- especially Clooney. He said that producing movies out of the mainstream doesn't mean you won't get people to see your movie. About Ang Lee, Clooney joked: "I don't like that guy. I've seen him a lot. I've seen him stealing." Seriously, he said to be in the category with the likes of Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg as a director is a real pleasure and honor.
Rachel Weisz was backstage and looking radiant for many reasons including the fact that she is seven months pregnant. She was asked if she thought the nominated movies actually made commercial sense.
Weisz said none of them had big-budgets, but they all grossed enough to cover costs, so they were, in fact, commerically successful. She said the baby was going crazy in her belly when they were announcing the category, but when she got up to give her acceptance speech, the baby was calm. When asked what the man next to her whispered when her name was called, she replied that he said, "I love you." Asked if she'd name the baby "Oscar," she said there were many names considered, but Oscar wasn't one of them. She said she'd be going to the Governors Ball and then to the Vanity Fair party, but then she might have to put on flat shoes before continuing.
Luc Jacquet, the director of "March of the Penguins" came backstage with several producers, all carrying stuffed penguins, one donning a rhinestone necklace. They were thrilled, but it was hard to cut through the language barrier. Whenever they didn't understand a question, they all just looked at each other and laughed.
Robert Altman was asked about doing a gay film, he said there's man-and-man, man-and-woman, and woman-and-woman … "oh, I like that one." So, he didn't really answer the question, but it was very funny.
Someone asked how he managed to keep it a secret that 11 years ago he had a heart transplant and Altman said it wasn't that hard since he's not that sought after like many actors. At 81 years old, he had a hard time following the questions and actually apologized for answering some questions incoherently.
Reese Witherspoon was asked what she was wearing, it was an original Christian Dior from a second-hand store in Paris. She bought it and said, "it's mine." She said some folks fixed it up, but it was only worn by one person and it "had a lot of love in it." She said to get ready she fed the kids, chased them around the house, then got her hair, nails and makeup done and was "out the door."
Asked what she'll do next, Witherspoon said she has no idea. She has no work and she hopes this isn't the end of the line. She thanked her grandmother and said she taught her about being a lady and how to use phrases like "thank you sir" and "yes ma'am." When asked what she thought when she heard her name called as the best actress winner, she said, "Oh, no. Oh, no." She said one of the hardest things about doing the movie was talking in front of a large group of people. Her other films have been small and didn't require a lot of press.
Ang Lee said he was glad that the audience embraced "Brokeback Mountain" and that audiences were hungry for a movie about love, complexity and maturity. He said he felt it was a story that needed to be told.
Lee was asked how Heath Ledger felt about losing in the race for best actor. Lee said he thinks people will always remember his performance and that people have said it reminded them of a young Marlon Brando. He said he didn't know if the movie was slighted in the best picture category because of it's subject matter, but the movie outperformed all the others at the box office.
Lee said it wasn't hard to embrace the Western elements of the story, even though he's Taiwanese. He said he learns fast as he did with "Sense and Sensibility." In his opinion, he thinks he does drama best, especially anything dealing with repression or folks that are repressed.
An Asian journalist said that Lee has inspired so many Asian filmmakers, and how he felt about it. He responded that you have to be courageous and brave and that's how it worked for him.
Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, who won for writing the "Brokeback Mountain" screenplay, said it was a bittersweet victory, after their film lost in the best picture category. McMurtry was wearing jeans with his tuxedo jacket -- a decision that was made both in honor of the film and because it was comfortable.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman said he nearly lost control of his bowels when he got on stage and was swimming in his own head. He was asked what it was like to shoot "Capote" in Manitoba, Canada. He said, "cold." But he said it was a great place to shoot, and he got to know the people in town and loved being there, despite the weather. I asked if he thought when he did the film if it was a role that would win him an Oscar and he said he never thinks of roles as the chance to win an award or it would make him crazy.
Paul Haggis, Bobby Maresco and Kathy Sherman said they were pretty "f'-ing" happy about their best picture win for "Crash." They said they were absolutely shocked, still thinking that maybe it was a mistake.
Haggis said his sister gave him their mother's ring during a commercial break and that's what made him lose it onstage. Asked what he'd say to his friends and colleagues back home in Canada … he didn't know. Haggis said the films this year were important for telling human stories that were also risky stories and they were proud to be nominated along with "Brokeback" and "Good Night, and Good Luck."
Sherman was asked why she thanked her "husband and her wife." She actually didn't know she said "wife" and meant to thank her daughter. They all cracked up and were flipped out that they didn't remember what they said and it proved how really shocked they were to win over "Brokeback."
Haggis won last year for "Million Dollar Baby" and was asked if it's a good thing to write two best picture winners and he said, "It's a very good thing. Three would be better, but two in a row is quite nice." Someone asked if Oprah having the cast of "Crash" on the show helped the momentum for the film. Haggis said DVD sales didn't go up much, but awareness went up a lot. Haggis was asked what people should learn from the movie and he said filmmakers should never want to make people learn something but they should want each person to draw their own thing from the film.