Day-Lewis will miss 'Blood' ties
Empty"I was proud to be in this group of actors," Daniel Day-Lewis said backstage Sunday after winning the best actor Oscar, adding that he thought such actors as Emile Hirsch and Frank Langella gave outstanding performances this year but were not nominated. Separately, when asked about how he felt about aspects of "There Will Be Blood" finding their way into popular culture (including parodies of the film on "Saturday Night Live" and on Web sites), he said: "If something that you've done … gets absorbed into the culture in such a way that people make something else out of it … that's delightful to me." Of his time shooting "Blood," he said: "It was a very important time in my life. … My working partnership with Paul (Thomas Anderson) is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. In fact, I really miss the day, and we speak a lot on the phone, but we don't have any excuse to. It's just shooting the breeze. We don't have anything to say anymore, but I just miss working with him every day, so it's a lovely thing to have this. And it may just mean … we have to begin to think about the fact that life goes on and we've been reluctant to acknowledge that. I was happy to explore Plainview's life, and I was reluctant to stop."
Marion Cotillard had an out-of-body experience of sorts after receiving her Academy Award for best actress. As she walked off the stage, escorted by Forest Whitaker, Cotillard said her "brain collapsed, and he helped me put the plug back to my brain." As she spoke backstage, it apparently continued. "It feels so good. I'm totally overwhelmed with joy and sparkles and fireworks. Anything that goes like 'bomb, bomb, bomb.' I just ache all those things," she said, clutching her Oscar and still shaking from her win. "It's happening right here and right now." Cotillard said she was proud of winning for a film that was a French-language performance. "I really dedicated my life to the movie and Edith Piaf for a few months, and so I didn't have a life," she said. "And when the movie was finished, I realized I didn't have a life and I didn't know how to go back. But I love life. I love my life, so it was not so hard to go back." She added: "My aim was to understand her and to understand her heart, her soul, and so I went as deep as I could. I tried to do my best to find her inside me, but it was not so hard because I really love her." Asked to describe which Piaf song best speaks to her present mood, Cotillard said, "Padam, Padam" and then proceeded to sing part of it.
"We haven't talked to him," joked Ethan Coen when asked how Roderick Jaynes (the Coens' pseudonym) was taking his loss in the editing category. "We know he's elderly and unhappy, so probably not well." Joel Coen — who with Ethan won Oscars for best picture, direction and adapted screenplay — said that when the pair makes movies, "There's no real division of labor, and it's very collaborative, just like the rest of moviemaking is." He added: "I think it was a special year in the respect that I thought that, you know — it's almost like a cliche, but all the movies nominated this year were really interesting to me personally." About "No Country for Old Men," he simply said, "We adapted a novel by a great American novelist, Cormac McCarthy, and we tried to do justice to the novel." Added producer Scott Rudin: "I'm incredibly proud, and I think it's the best movie we have been involved with. I loved it from the first minute I saw it, and I think it's a total tribute to Joel and Ethan. So it's thrilling."
"No Country for Old Men's" Anton Chigurh made a brief appearance backstage via best supporting actor winner Javier Bardem. "You ever lose a coin toss?" the actor rolled off his tongue to a Spanish reporter. On creating Chigurh, Bardem said: "Everything you see, you hear, you feel is because of the Coens and I. The tricky part of this character was that everything was there to be constructed. There was nothing explained — neither on the book, neither on the script. We take one place where the character really is uncomfortable to watch: It's not about being scary, it's about what happened. I don't get it. This guy is going to do something, and I don't know what. And that's because we really, how to say it … put out a lot of choices that will make the character more fun to watch but less interesting to feel, and that's something that I guess is a challenge."
"I had a reverse Zoolander moment: I thought I heard somebody else's name, but then suddenly, slowly heard my own," said Tilda Swinton, on topping the supporting actress category for "Michael Clayton." "I'm still recovering from that moment." When asked about the possibility of a SAG strike, she responded: "I'm never worried that there may be a strike, I'm worried that there may be a cause to strike. Striking is the thing we can do if conditions aren't right. I feel like recent events might have made a strike unlikely, but there's always that possibility." Swinton also said that she was going to give her Oscar to her agent, Brian Swardstrom of Endeavor. "I've given it to my agent. … I mean not only does he deserve it, but he really does look like this. And if you see a guy at the Governors Ball looking like this, this is him in his receiving position when I'm on the speaker phone telling him I'm going to do another art film in Europe."
Diablo Cody said she wasn't paying attention to the awards show too much before her name was called for best original screenplay for "Juno." "I'm not sure I saw it," she said. "I was kind of in my own world of anxiety and stomach pain." And though the writer has an affinity for naming her things, "out of respect" she said would not rename her golden statue. Cody, who dedicated her award to the writers who were on strike, said she only took a few months to write the winning screenplay. "I was working alone outside the industry," she said. "I didn't really know how long it should take to write a movie, and that's how long it took me. I think now that I realized that people take longer, I've abused that privilege," she joked. Cody also said she couldn't have been more fortunate than to have best actress nominee Ellen Page act out her words. "She's phenomenal. She became the character in a lot of ways. And she's so good that I think people assume that she must be just like Juno in a lot of ways. In reality, she's not, and she's just an incredible actor."
"You're talking to a guy who made things good between France and the United States," a beaming Brad Bird said backstage after winning best animated feature for "Ratatouille," his second Academy Award, after 2005's "The Incredibles." Bird credited the film's executive producer John Lasseter for listening to him and his vision. "He said you have something special here that's not computer-generated animation," Bird said of Lasseter. "You just have to care about the characters and have a good story." Bird talked about his next film, his first foray into live action, "1906," about the San Francisco earthquake. He looked at the story as a challenging and intriguing period in California history. "At the time, Chinatown was coexisting with the Barbary Coast, which was like the Wild Wild West, and at the same time Nob Hill had the upper class," he said. "It was a time between two centuries. You had horses and cars existing simultaneously. It's just a volatile mix of things, and then you throw in an earthquake. I mean, come on, if that doesn't buy popcorn." Bird criticized the Academy's failure to nominate more animated features for best picture. "There's no way I'm going to feel bad about winning an award," he said. "If you'd ask me if 'Snow White' was one of the best movies in 1937, I'd say yeah. I hope one day that another animated film, like 'Beauty and the Beast' was, gets nominated as the best picture. But it's all good. Come on, it's the Oscars."
"I do think that I miss the community that we had then," legendary production designer Robert Boyle — who received an honorary Oscar — said about the studio system. "The films … were done without benefit of computer generation. People seemed to be working together more in those days. They are more separate these days, and that's what I regret — that the community we had seems to be getting more separate." He also said that with available tools "now you can do anything. Unfortunately, very often you do everything. I think what you need is to remember that discipline in art is also very important," he advised. "The things you don't say are sometimes as important as what you do say."
"It was a very collaboratively made movie," cinematographer Robert Elswit said after winning an Oscar for his lensing of "There Will Be Blood." "Jack Fisk, production designer; David Crank, the art director; the costumer; everybody else," he said. "As a period film, the film was made with all the sets having to be built on location. Production designers were the key, and Jack Fisk is brilliant, and he did an extraordinary job." Asked about what he used for oil in the flm, Elswit said: "It was industrial material used by McDonald's to thicken their milkshakes, and I'm not kidding. That's actually true." Of his win, Elswit said. "It feels great." But he added: "All the other people nominated are so extraordinary. Roger Deakins (double-nominated this year for 'No Country for Old Men' and 'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford') has seven nominations and no Academy Awards. He joins a long list. Owen Roizman has five nominations. Gordon Willis with I think (two), no Academy Awards. … In our little world, it's just luck."
Art director Dante Ferretti and set decorator Francesca Lo Schiavo won their second Academy Awards, for their work on "Sweeney Todd." The pair won for "The Aviator" in 2005. Of the film's look, Ferretti said: "It's Victorian period, but at the same time … the most important thing was to give the feeling, the right feeling so it's London, so it's very dark. The only thing we discussed (was) a couple colors. The movie is almost always in black and white, and the only color is red. Red was for the blood and also for the judge and house." Added Lo Schiavo: "Tim Burton is fantastic, fantastic. … He opened my mind more. He's such a great artist and, really, working with him, it was an award."
Dario Marianelli said he was inspired by the typewriter in the beginning of "Atonement" to create the film's Oscar-winning score. "It started life as a conversation with the director (Joe Wright) in the beginning," he said. "We started the very opening of the film with the typewriter … so it came out almost as a dare, let's see what we can do with the typewriter sound. And from there, we had several discussions and tests. We used some music with solo typewriters and the orchestra. It just developed from there." As another foreign-born winner, Marianelli said he was proud to be Italian, "but more than that, to be in the same place and same time as Dante (Ferretti) and Francesca (Lo Schiavo). Just being together with them and mentioned with them is an honor."
Best makeup winners Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald traded off questions in French and English in celebrating their Oscar win for "La Vie en Rose" backstage. Archibald credited her team of international makeup artists who came together despite a language barrier. "My French is very poor, but we communicated with one another," she said. "And it was a challenge, and a wonderful challenge." Among the challenges was getting the film's star, best actress winner Marion Cotillard, to shave off her eyebrows and hairline. "She … wanted to look as good as possible, and there was no problem," Archibald said. "You discuss the look and how to achieve it before you discuss it with the actress. So it was a kind of an obvious thing to do, to shave the eyebrows and also take the hairline back. So it's just part of the job."
Eva Orner, co-winner of best documentary feature for "Taxi to the Dark Side," wasn't expecting to win but said she was "so pleased and so surprised and so impressed" by the honor. She also gave a shout-out to co-winner Alex Gibney, whom she called "the amazing director and producer, who had the courage to have me make this film." Gibney, who mentioned at a junket for the film that his wife wasn't too happy with him making the documentary (which examined U.S. torture practices in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba), said his next project might be a less-serious film. "Back to romantic comedies, it's a must now," he joked.
For best documentary short winners Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth, who got their first Oscar for "Freeheld," being honored by the Academy might mean an easier route to fund their hard-hitting docus. "To me, this means so much because getting funding for a film is nonstop and endless and goes until the production of the film is over," Roth said. "So to be validated, not only by the people that see the film and then by the Academy as well as the people in this community, is really important to us, and now the next film I'm working on is something about education." The pair also gave advice for aspiring documentarians. "I think the biggest thing is that if you get involved in a documentary, you have to be really passionate about what you are doing, and it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of vision, and mostly you are living with it day and night," Roth said.
For Austrian filmmaker Stefan Ruzowitzky, making "The Counterfeiters," which won his country's first Oscar for best foreign-language film, was a personal journey for himself and his country. "Being an Austrian and raised in Germany — with the Third Reich, the Nazis, the crime of the Nazis — this is part of the country's history and also my family's history," he said. "So I always felt I should make a sort of comment or statement about this period of time." Ruzowitzky declined comment on the controversy about the Academy's leaving out some notable foreign films from the category. "It's difficult for me to say for me — forgive me — (but) it was more important to be nominated than to be worried about those who are not nominated," he said.
Alexandra Byrne won her first Academy Award for costume design on "Elizabeth: The Golden Age." "(Director Shekhar Kapur) talked about the emotion of the character, that was the starting point," she said. "It was about this journey toward her being divine." This was Byrne's fourth Oscar nomination for costume design, including one for "Elizabeth," Kapur's 1998 prequel to "Golden Age."
Not everybody received a text message from Bono congratulating them on their win. But best original song winners Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova did when it was announced that their song, "Falling Slowly" from the film "Once," won. "Getting a text from Bono is the biggest thing that can happen to an Irishman," Hansard said. "It was one of those moments, getting praise from the high chieftain of our culture." Irglova, who was cut off during her acceptance speech and was brought back onstage by host Jon Stewart to give it again, said she didn't know the microphone had cut. "When I came backstage, they told me they would bring me out to do the speech and didn't mean to cut me off, and that didn't make sense to me, but it was great to get that chance, and I'm grateful to them for doing that," she said.
"We just brought a small quote from Walt Disney, who said, 'It's kind of fun to do the impossible,' " said visual effects supervisor Michael Fink, who with Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood accepted the award for visual effects for "The Golden Compass." "I'm surprised, and I'm extremely happy as well," said Morris, speaking for the group backstage. "This was an amazing year (for VFX). There were three huge films there." When asked what might have made the difference for "Compass," Morris said: "There was a lot of spectacle in the other films, and there's an awful lot of delicate intimacy and character performance in this film. And I think that sort of stood out in a very quiet way, which played to our strengths. We had a wonderful story behind it as well. Philip Pullman has written an incredible trilogy."
"My father was the biggest inspiration to me," said Christopher Rouse, who won the editing Oscar for "The Bourne Ultimatum." Rouse's father Russell won an Oscar in 1960 for the "Pillow Talk" screenplay. "First and foremost, he taught me about stories," Rouse said of Dad. "I'm attempting to tell the story in the most effective way possible." When asked how many hours of raw footage he had for "Bourne," Rouse responded: "I don't know. I think we shot near 900,000 feet of film or something like that … a heck of a lot of film."
Kirk Francis said David Parker and Scott Millan, his fellow winners for best sound mixing for "The Bourne Ultimatum," didn't prep him much about what it would be like to attend the Oscars and win the golden statue. "I got two BAFTAs before some of us crept across the pond," he said holding his Oscar, which donned a small pink flower lei. "And it's all very nice." Parker won in 1997 for "The English Patient," while Millan had won three times: in 2005 for "Ray," 2001 for "Gladiator" and 1996 for "Apollo 13." Of beating out Kevin O'Connell, who was up for his 20th nomination without a win, Millan said. "Kevin is an esteemed colleague, and what he's accomplished is a pretty amazing task." Added Parker: "Kevin's work speaks for itself. He's a great person and works on great films."
Best sound editing winner Per Hallberg, who won in 1996 for "Braveheart," said he briefed fellow winner and first-time nominee Karen Baker Landers about what it's like winning an Oscar, but it was he who ended up having a deer-in-the-headlights moment. "We got up there, and everything froze," he said. "I had to help him out, he blanked on the names," Baker Landers added. "It's very surreal when you're up there."
Hugh Welchman, co-winner of best animated short film for "Peter & the Wolf," said of his first Oscar moment that he was "grinning from ear to ear. I thought it was going to be scary, but it was exciting." It took Welchman and fellow Oscar honoree Suzie Templeton five years to complete their short. Writing to the musical score was the hardest part for her, Templeton said. "It's such an impossibly difficult task," Welchman agreed. "She's a fantastic writer and has an amazing vision." The two winners said it was exciting to meet fellow animators, including Brad Bird, who have come up to them and told them that they've seen their film and wished them luck.
Compiled by Carolyn Giardina and Leslie Simmons