Contenders past and present -- Spielberg with Benh Zeitlin, Marlee Matlin with Quvenzhane Wallis -- swap tales about their biggest awards night fears (giving birth onstage!) to how winning changed their lives.
This story first appeared in the March 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
When The Hollywood Reporter gathered Oscar contenders past and present to pose for our cameras, there was a great deal of mutual admiration on display.
Beasts of the Southern Wild's Quvenzhane Wallis gushed to Marlee Matlin, "You're so pretty!" And the Children of a Lesser God winner praised the 9-year-old actress' "raw and natural" performance.
The Oscar veterans also shared words of wisdom and swapped anecdotes with some of the awards-season newcomers. Steven Spielberg, who has earned a total of 15 nominations (with three wins), reminisced about his first nomination to Beasts of the Southern Wild director Benh Zeitlin, “When you look back over the hundred years of Hollywood, and the 80-plus years of the Academy, you realize that just being there is such an accomplishment.”
And documentarian Michael Moore offered his tips on giving acceptance speeches to filmmakers Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi (5 Broken Cameras): "Don’t thank your parents. They know you appreciate them."
Meanwhile, screenwriters Diablo Cody (Juno) and John Gatins (Flight) revealed why they think the Oscar-season experience is a plot twist more strange than any storyline they could conjure. Says Cody, "Being inside the show felt like a bizarre pep rally."
Also taking part in THR's Oscar Icons 2013 package: actresses Naomi Watts and Eva Marie Saint, actors Christopher Walken and Philip Seymour Hoffman, sound recording mixer Greg P. Russell, composer Thomas Newman and costume designer Colleen Atwood.
Profiles by Leslie Bruce, Scott Feinberg, Stacey Wilson and Jordan Zakarin
Pictured: Steven Spielberg, left, and Benh Zeitlin
The Blond Bombshells
Naomi Watts (2 noms) and Eva Marie Saint (1 win, 1 nom)read more
Christopher Walken (1 win, 2 noms) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (1 win,...read more
The Young Ladies
Quvenzhane Wallis (1 nom) and Marlee Matlin (1 win, 1 nom)read more
The Legend and the Rising Star
Steven Spielberg (3 wins, 15 noms) and Benh Zeitlin (2 noms)read more
Michael Moore (1 win, 2 noms), Emad Burnat (1 nom) and Guy Davidi (1 ...read more
Greg P. Russell (16 noms) and Thomas Newman (11 noms)read more
The Dream Weaver
Colleen Atwood (3 wins, 10 noms)read more
The New Recruits
Diablo Cody (1 win, 1 nom) and John Gatins (1 nom)read more