Tag Archives: 84th Annual Academy Awards

French F-Bombs! Jolie-ing! Whiskey! Star Talk Backstage at the 84th Academy Awards

Jean Dujardin confessed to dropping the French F-word, Meryl Streep divulged her plans for imbibing, Octavia Spencer admitted her fears and Christopher Plummer copped to being a naughty boy — backstage at last night’s 84th Academy Awards.

The Best Actor winner for “The Artist” answered a lot of questions in rapid fire French.  He said, through his translator, that he has a few ideas he wants to develop for movies he would do here in America.  He also let us know that his canine compatriot, Uggie, had already gone to bed.  But the chatter stopped abruptly when reporter Joal Ryan asked him if he had, in fact, let loose with the French equivalent to the F-bomb during that last outburst of his acceptance speech.  He weighed his translator’s explanation a moment, and then said, with the look of a guilty little boy, “Ah.  Yes.  Sorry.”

Will leg flashing become the next hot pose?  Instantly dubbed “Jolie-ing” (in the spirit of Tebowing and Bradying) backstage at the Oscars, it’s the stance taken by Oscar presenter Angelina Jolie to show off her glorious gam through the slit-up-to-there of her black gown.  (Fierce or fatuous?  You decide.)  It was when the three cowriters of George Clooney’s “The Descendants” — Jim Rash and Nat Faxon (alumni of The Groundlings) and director Alexander Payne — lined up on stage imitating Angelina that the pose burst into the pop culture humor space.  Bur writer/actor Rash (a.k.a. the guy from “Community”) insisted backstage that they had no intention of belittling the movie sex goddess.  “It was a loving tribute:  ‘Oh, she’s standing great.  We’ll stand like that, too.'”  The trio agreed:  “She’s supremely hot.”

Rash was asked whether he thought his winning an Oscar would help “Community” survive.  He hopes so.  “I guess I should take this into their offices,” he noted, holding up his statuette as he talked about the brass at NBC.  “It’s good to let people know where they stand with you.  It’s a good accoutrement to any outfit.”

Best Supporting Actress for “The Help,” Octavia Spencer, was asked about what was going through her mind as she was making her way up the stairs to the stage — while receiving a standing ovation from the Hollywood luminaries in the theater.

“Really and truly, I was just trying not to fall down, because I had an incident where I fell at an awards show,” she admitted.

Asked about what she thinks her win will mean to aspiring young actresses of color, Octavia said, “I hope it’s a hallmark of ‘More’ for young aspiring actresses of color — and by color I don’t just mean African American.  I mean Indian, Native American, Latin American, Asian American.   I hope in some way I can be a sort of beacon of hope.  Especially because I’m not a typical Hollywood beauty,” added the amply-upholstered actress.  She paused a moment, then joked, “You guys are supposed to go, ‘Oh, no — you ARE!’  Crickets, guys.  Work with me here.  Work with me!”

But seriously, “I believe you have to believe in yourself and you have to work very hard — and never think you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread, because I promise you, there would be Viola Davises and Jessica Chastains and Emma Stones who ARE the best thing since sliced bread.  So, take it seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.”

Spencer hopes to expand beyond acting in her career.  “I want to be a producer.  I want to be an activist.  I want to be proactive in bringing about work for men, women, boys and girls — anyone who is good at what they do and deserves a shot at it,” she said.  “I want to have a presence behind the cameras and in front of them, to be a jack of all trades and be decent at them.”
Spencer was asked about the recent L.A. Times article regarding the movie Academy’s membership — as having an average age of 62 with a heavy majority of white men.  What did she think of that?

She hemmed and hawed a little, saying, “I haven’t really thought about it.”

Did she have any thoughts on the Academy being proactive to geta more diverse membership?

Spencer drew a breath, then said, “I can’t tell the Academy what to do, honey.  They just gave me an Oscar.  They continue to do what they do.  I really don’t know.  I have no wisdom there….I’m sorry to cut you off, ma’am, but I saw where you were going and I didn’t want to get on that bus, no pun intended.”

Asked by a military reporter about her advice to new recruits for overcoming their fears, she said, “I haven’t really overcome my fears.  I’m scared to death right now.”  She added, “I don’t take what men and women in the military do lightly.  I’ve not served in that capacity, so I would not offer advice.”  But she did offer advice from Emerson:  “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Chrisopher Plummer, who thanked his “long-suffering wife Elaine, who deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for coming to my rescue every day of my life” in his acceptance speech as Best Supporting Actor for “Beginnings,”  was asked to elaborate backstage.   “Of course I’m a naughty boy,” he let us know.  “I’ve been bad all my life.   She puts me in line.  It’s extraordinary.  She rescues me every day of my life — what could be clearer?”

Asked about Hollywood’s propensity for awarding straight actors for playing gay roles, and whether there’s a double standard involved,  Plummer opined that no,  “I think actors are universally the same, gay or straight.  A gay actor can play a straight guy, a straight actor can play a gay guy.  We’re actors.  It cancels out all sexual differences and misunderstandings of sexual differences.”

Meryl Streep, in an expansive mood, let the press know that she doesn’t take her Oscar attention for granted by any means (even after three wins out of 17 nominations).  When a reporter asked her if she was going to give Katharine Hepburn a run for her money, Meryl asked, “Did she have more?”

“Four” said the reporter.

“Oh, well,” she answered with a dismissive flick of the wrist.  (She’s such a good actress, one could almost believe she didn’t know Hepburn’s Oscar total.)

The Best Actress Oscar winner for “The Iron Lady” responded  more seriously when was asked about juggling her career and family life.  She said, “You can ask every working woman that question and get a million different answers, because it’s the juggle and the challenge that we all have.  But honestly, in my life, in the arts, I don’t go to work every day, so my day has been more flexible than other working women.  Even when I was young and broke, I was only working, ever, for four months at a time, and then I was unemployed.  My children never knew when I was going to be home, which was very valuable.”
After the laughter died down, she went on, “It’s an ongoing struggle — women have to do it all.  The more flexible work becomes, the more engaged dads become, the better.”

Meryl was asked whether she’d have a couple whiskeys in the tradition of real-life “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher, to celebrate winning her third Oscar.
“I’m going to start with a couple,” she said.

Test Your Academy Awards Know-How With Beck/Smith’s Oscar Quiz

The waiting is almost over for Hollywood’s biggest night of the year! With the 84th Academy Awards coming up tomorrow (Feb. 26), it’s time to test your Oscar show know-how. Here’s our Oscar Quiz, with a little gossip, a little trivia and a few blush-worthy moments mixed in:

1) Which of last year’s winners failed to return from the bar fast enough, got locked out of the Kodak Theater during the awards, and missed a costar’s win? A. Melissa Leo B. Colin Firth C. Christian Bale

2) This is Billy Crystal’s ninth Oscar show hosting, but he has a ways to go before surpassing Bob Hope’s record of Academy Awards emceeing. How many times did Hope host? A. 12 B. 18 C. 21

3) This past Oscar nominee crashed the Academy’s Board of Governor’s Ball wearing rumpled cotton slacks and a Hawaiian shirt. A. Johnny Depp B. Bill Murray C. Djimon Hounsou

4) This Best Actor Oscar winner’s acceptance speech, thanking his high school drama teacher, a gay man, is said to have been the inspiration for Kevin Kline’s “In and Out” movie. A. Richard Dreyfuss for “The Goodbye Girl” B. Tom Hanks for “Philadelphia” C. Russell Crowe for “Gladiator”

5 ) Which of this year’s “The Help” acting nominees was the parole board member questioning Danny Ocean (George Clooney) in the opening scene of “Ocean’s Eleven?” A. Jessica Chastain B. Octavia Spencer C. Viola Davis

6 ) Hal Holbrook and Ruby Dee were nominees with a special distinction in the 80th Oscars. What did they have in common? A. They were the last two nominees born before the first Academy Awards. B. They were also both Emmy nominees that year. C. They both did voiceovers for Sears Financial Services.

7) The story goes that she won an Oscar, he was jealous, and it led to their breakup. A. Sandra Bullock and Jesse James B. Sally Field and Burt Reynolds C. Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise

8 ) Which one of these portrayals did not involve partial nudity? A. Gwyneth Paltrow “Shakespeare in Love” B. Catherine Zeta-Jones “Chicago” C. Kathy Bates “About Schmidt”

9) Which Best Actress winner was so mortified to realize she’d forgotten to thank her husband in her acceptance speech, she spent the next year trying to rectify the slight? A. Halle Berry B. Hilary Swank C. Helen Hunt

10) After he dumped her on national TV, she showed up on the Oscar red carpet looking especially stunning. A. Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow B. Billy Bob Thornton, Laura Dern C. Matt Damon, Minnie Driver

11) A long-standing urban legend has it that the 1993 Best Supporting Actress Oscar should have gone to Vanessa Redgrave for “Howard’s End,” but presenter Jack Palance incorrectly announced this actress’ name instead. No truth to it, by the way. A. Juliette Binoche, for “The English Patient.” B. Mira Sorvino, for “Mighty Aphrodite.” C. Marisa Tomei, for “My Cousin Vinny.”

12) Which actress was so flustered by her win she left her Oscar behind in the ladies room? A. Holly Hunter B. Meryl Streep C. Whoopi Goldberg

ANSWERS 1) C: Christian Bale missed out on his “The Fighter” mom, Melissa Leo’s Oscar moment.

2) B: 18

3) B: Bill Murray

4) B: Tom Hanks

5 ) C: Viola Davis

6 ) A: They were born before the first Oscars in 1929

7) B: Sally Field and Burt Reynolds. Bullock learned James was having an affair days after her Oscar win. Kidman won after her marriage to Cruise had ended.

8 ) B: Catherine Zeta-Jones

9) B: Hilary Swank, who won again the next year and thanked now-ex husband Chad Lowe first.

10) C: Matt Damon, Minnie Driver

11) C: Marisa Tomei

12) B: Meryl Streep

‘The Artist’s’ Unique Place Among Oscar Nominees


“The Artist,” which is up for 10 Academy Awards and has won just about every other award in sight along with the hearts of the film community here,  is the only film among the nine Best Picture Oscar nominees that was actually made in Hollywood.  Yes, if a French filmmaker, director Michael Hazanavicius, had not felt passionately that he had to make his film about Hollywood IN Hollywood, there wouldn’t have been a single movie made exclusively in Movietown among the nominees.

Hazanavicius also made sure that moviegoers see Hollywood faces on the screen.  Sixty-six of the 68 actors in the film were Hollywood actors (67 out of 69 if you count Uggi, America’s new canine heart-throb).

Michel Hazanavicius

The film could have been shot in Paris, but the director — who took home honors from the Directors Guild of America over the weekend — wanted it to be done on the streets and in the sound stages that were around over 80 years ago when movies were making the change from silent flicks to talkies.

You’d better believe that many in this town, home to the greatest reservoir of film-acting talent and craft talent and site of the world’s best movie-making facilities, are hoping that the spectacular success of “The Artist” serves as a reminder that it can be done best here.