79th Academy Awards Backstage Quotes


79th Oscar® News

Right after they’ve won, the winners of the Academy Awards face a phalanx of photographers then head into the press room to handle some Q&A. Here are some of the winners’ quotable quotes:

Well, you know, my whole life — I started off making action movies and doing live action. I never thought that I would be holding an Oscar for an animation. I honestly — I honestly, this is true — I can say I didn’t expect to win; sitting next to John Lasseter, who I thought would win and has won Oscars before, and it’s really nice. And it got given to me by Cameron Diaz, who is someone I got a photograph with. Except when I’m standing next to George Clooney, I’ve never felt the intensity of those cameras, with those flashing cameras. So, I feel pretty good. – Best Animated Feature winner George Miller after being asked if he felt vindicated winning after four nominations

Well, actually, Jack, you know, I had written Jack’s character originally, as a sort of standard issue, 68 year-old Boston Irish Catholic murderer. And, you know, 68 year-old Irish Catholics in my experience are not so much for sexual prosthesis and cocaine, but Jack wanted to sexualize his character and he did a great, great job. – Adapted Screenplay winner William Monahan discussing Jack Nicholson changing his character a bit in The Departed

Well, Stanley Kubrick was a lesson not about costume, it was a lesson about film making and what we can give to each movie that is not academic or repetitive, but also to have his support and to have had this opportunity to work with a master like him. It’s a great — you know, it’s a great gift, and he put me there. – Costume Design winner Milena Canonero on why she dedicated her win to Stanley Kubrick

It was hard because the foreign language film that really represents — that it’s the work of all of us. It’s the adding of all these pieces, and it’s where — where everybody is represented there. And we feel that we did a very, very powerful movie, and we are mega-proud of it. So I was hoping for that. I was really, really hoping for that. I agree that the German movie is a very good movie. Don’t get me wrong. – Cinematography winner Guillermo Navarro on what he thought about Pan’s Labyrinth not winning Best Foreign Language Film

First of all, it was a secret. So I kept asking who was going to be giving me this award and Laura Ziskin kept saying, I’m not going to tell you. It’s a surprise. So I had no idea who was going to be giving me the award. And I didn’t see Tom through, you know, all the pre-events. So I was sure it wasn’t him. And, as a matter of fact, I had seen him at an Oscar party a few days before and he was sort of cold to me and I went, God, you know. And so he whispered in my ear, this is an honor, I really wanted to do this. You know how much I love you and when I saw you at the party I couldn’t say anything to you. So I didn’t know until I walked out and it was extremely emotional for me because I’ve known Tom since he was 19 years old. I know his mom and his dad and I almost started to cry, because it just brought back a flood of memories going back to __Taps at 20th Century Fox and continuing through our friendship today. So it’s a long answer but it’s the truth.__ – Hersholt Humanitarian Award recipient Sherry Lansing on what Tom Cruise whispered in her ear

Yeah, I mean, the characters were really exciting to work on from Davey Jones to Wagner, the old character crusted into the side of the ship. We just had a really cool cast of characters, designer Crash McCreary and our own art director, Aaron McBride has a really cool and weird, extremely weird imagination and so it was a real pleasure to work on this film and bring the characters to life with the tentacles and walking tidepools is what they were.Hal Hickel, one quarter of the Visual Effects winners for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest commenting on how fun it was to work on the film

Well, you know, the thing is, I can see where you are heading, and I sometimes marvel: What could the Stasi have done with the kind of equipment that’s around today. But if we were really in something like 1984 East Berlin, and you had asked this question here and now, I would be trying to call you tomorrow, and somehow no one would know where you were. And see, the thing is as long as we have freedom of speech, as long as you guys can do the job the way you are doing it, I don’t think we have that much to worry about. That’s the most important thing. There will always be injustice as long as there are people. There will always be abuse of power as long as there is power. As long as we have the right to speak up against it and fight against it, I am okay with that. – Best Foriegn Language Film winner Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck on whether the Bush-Cheney administration Homeland Security bugging was like East Germany’s secret police

I think it’s very important to note that the atmosphere in China, in relationship to AIDS, has changed absolutely enormously over the last four years and the Chinese government has been much more active, much more open, much more transparent, and we have been working with the Chinese Ministry of Health, and we certainly hope and expect that that will continue. – Best Documentary Short winner Thomas Lennon on how he thinks the Chinese government will view the Oscar win for The Blood of Yingzhou District, the film he made with Ruby Yang

This is not a — it’s not a political issue, it’s not a political movie. Some of the solutions will have to be worked out within the political sphere, but it really should be bipartisan, and it should be seen as a moral issue where we all have the same stake. It is the overriding moral challenge of our time and we have to find a way to rebuild a bipartisan and nonpartisan way of talking to one another about how to solve the climate crisis. And I really hope the decision by the Academy to honor the work of Davis Guggenheim and these fantastic producers and the team that have supported them will convince people who did not go to see it before. And the many that did, we’re grateful to them, but I hope that this honor will convince many others to go see the movie and learn about the climate crisis and then become a part of the solution to it.Al Gore on why people should see Documentary Feature winner An Incovenient Truth

Well, you know it’s almost like asking a father if he has a favorite child. So, I never answer that question. But if I had to answer that, I would say it’s music from a very good — from a very good film. I can’t remember the name. And so, I’m just going pretend that they are all my favorites. – Honorary Oscar-winning composer Ennio Morricone on which film was his favourite one to score

Well, you know, I think the challenge and the music of this film is that we wanted to make it global, and, you know, scored, but at the same time we didn’t want it to sound like a National Geographic magazine documentary. So we had to have something was common to everywhere but, at the same time, you know, that it wouldn’t be, like, a postcard from a particular place, you know, so that was the challenge. And I work with lots of different instruments, but there was one instrument that really became like my friend in the scored and that was the oude and I use that quite a bit in this score. – Original Score winner Gustavo Santaolalla on the challenge of representing different cultures in his score for Babel

What I said, I think, is completely true, that the writer’s work is only as good as the people that he collaborates with. In this case, I wrote a bunch of very, I think, demanding roles, and I needed to have incredibly talented people to fill those roles. And if we hadn’t had, you know, this amazing cast, Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Steve Carrell, Alan Arkin and Abigail Breslin, the whole movie wouldn’t have worked. And, you know, I was unemployed when I wrote this script and I didn’t have an agent and I hadn’t produced anything else, so I feel like this is my first big shot. And the fact that they did such an amazing job in bringing these characters to life and making them three-dimensional people really, you know, saved my life. – Original Screenplay winner Michael Arndt on how the cast of Little Miss Sunshine saved his life

Oh, this. There’s no comparison. Awards are — awards are sweet. What’s so nice about this, is that it’s for being involved with this project with An Inconvenient Truth. It’s just — it goes beyond sort of the award place, and I love that we are able to draw attention to the matter at hand. And I am just, you know, grateful for that. – Original Song winner Melissa Etheridge on winning this award compared to others

Because it was a thriller, a remake of a thriller, we had to keep in mind that in spite of all the wonderful characters, humor, dialogue that we had that we had to still keep it a thriller. So it was very hard, actually, and it took a long time to work out the right mix. And we restructured a lot and moved things around and, actually, reshot a few scenes, but it was the first time I had ever done a thriller. __Cape Fear was a thriller but in a different way. So it was really just a struggle to keep all that fantastic new stuff, to keep it into the movie and still keep it a thriller.__ – Film Editing winner Thelma Schoonmaker on the challenges of editing The Departed

__God, it definitely adds pressure, I know that much. But what I look at it as is the only — I cannot express in words how much this award means to me, but all I can do is show it in my work to come and continue to make the Academy proud, not because I got nominated tonight, but just because I have to constantly represent them in the best way possible. – Best Supporting Actress winner Jennifer Hudson on whether winning for her first role puts added pressure on her

This is great night. This is amazing. I mean, this — it’s like a magical, magical moment. You can never like, you know, really, I don’t think I never really imagined completely until it actually happened. So, I don’t know. I mean, from then until now, at that point when I was really young, it was so idealistic. I really wasn’t even sure if I should continue acting. I would like try and figure out if I could be good enough to do it. It was like 10 or 12 years into my career before I felt like maybe I can do it. It was such a different time than now. – Best Actor Forest Whitaker on how thewin made him feel looking back at his career

Look. I don’t keep score. It’s not about furlongs. I feel in a sense like a hypocrite because I don’t believe in competitions between art activities. I think it’s insane. This is a fun kind of insanity but who is to say who is better? I mean, who has the authority to say who is better? Just — I felt for a long time that if 100 people say one person is a better actor and 50 people say somebody else is a better actor, why do the 100 people have the vote? The 50 people may have been more deeply moved by another performance. What’s the criteria? The criteria is very shadowy. I don’t keep score. I mean, I’m happy to have this. It’s very nice, but I don’t keep score, yeah. – Best Supporting Actor Alan Arkin’s thoughts on the Oscar race

I felt quite calm. I mean, I felt quite calm because it’s not to say I didn’t care, I cared very much, but I did — I honestly felt so deeply honored to be nominated in a year where there were great performances from women. And that’s not always the case, not in the sense that they’re not great actresses out there, but they’re very often not the great roles for the great actresses to play, and therefore, it’s quite difficult to find a leading actress nomination. This year, though, there were wonderful performances in beautifully written roles. So to be nominated amongst those was a huge honor and I just — just to be here, honestly, was everything for me. To win, it’s — win, it’s just such a silly word, you know. We’re not athletes. It is great, but the best thing is just to be here. – Best Actress Helen Mirren on how she felt coming into the ceremony

I, I mean, it was overwhelming, overwhelming, overwhelming moment for me. I must say I didn’t know when people say, it’s your year, your year, thank God we have been able to make so many films over the past 36 years without winning awards, but we have been able to get the pictures made. So this comes as an — I’m so glad to have — this comes as an extraordinary surprise and quite honestly surprised for best picture, too. Bigger surprise. I was very surprised when I won the Directors Guild of America, and you know, I’ve been used to not winning it. So, just make the movies, guys. That’s what it’s about. Making the films, right. It’s not about winning the stuff. But in the meantime, you win something, that means they appreciate it, and I have to be grateful for it.Martin Scorsese on finally winning Best Director

You now, it’s something when he’s onset directing a film, first of all, there’s known in this world that respects film loves film and is a historian of film like Marti is and every day on the set we talk about other movies and we talk about what other movies we can make and movies in the past and he’s the King. When he’s on a set directinging a cast of anything, whether it be Aviator or this or gangs, he’s just amazing. He’s a collaborator with access and invites me into his world, and he listens to them if they have an idea and everything is done on a very easy going way, easy going basis and it’s just so natural to him. And, for me, watching him make this movie and like I said on the stage before, watching him direct Jack Nicholson for the first time and watching his camera angles and how he jumps from character to dialogue it’s just phenomenal. It’s the greatest. – Best Picture winner, The Departed’s Graham King on watching Martin Scorsese work

Special thanks to the Best Western Hollywood Plaza Inn for their assistance with our coverage stay and to Freeman Formalwear for Ian Evans’ tuxedo.

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