Oscars: The Winners' Reactions

7:04 PM PST 03/02/2014 by Rebecca Ford, Pamela McClintock, Erik Hayden

Jared Leto, Lupita Nyong'o, Spike Jonze and more winners spoke with the press backstage at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday, March 2.

After collecting their golden statues, the winners at the 86th Academy Awards headed backstage to speak with the press.

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Cate Blanchett, best actress, Blue Jasmine
Blanchett was asked backstage about the pressure of going into the Academy Awards as the frontrunner. "It's an intense, unbearable pressure, which I'm so glad is over," she told reporters. Many in the press room were curious about Blanchett's acceptance speech comment to Julia Roberts. While onstage, the Australian actress said, "Julia, hashtag 'suck it.' " "It happened in the bar with Ms. Roberts. And that's all I'm prepared to say," she offered cryptically. Read more here.

Matthew McConaughey, best actor, Dallas Buyers Club
McConaughey's decision to make a midcareer change of course and take on more daring roles paid off Sunday night as he won his first Oscar for best actor for his daring role in Dallas Buyers Club. "I took a couple of years off … then did films like Killer Joe, Lincoln Lawyer and Magic Mike," McConaughey told reporters backstage after his win (it also was his first nomination). Read more here.

Jared Leto, best supporting actor, Dallas Buyers Club
Jared Leto may have made Oscar history when he let members of the media pass around his gold statuette backstage at the Academy Awards following his best supporting actor win for Dallas Buyers Club. "Does anybody want to try it out for size?" said Leto. "You can fondle it if you want to. Pass it around. But if you have swine flu, please don't touch. I bet this is the first time someone has given away their Oscar for an orgy in the press room." Read more here.

Lupita Nyong'o, best supporting actress, 12 Years a Slave
Lupita Nyong'o, winner of the best supporting actress Oscar for her work in 12 Years a Slave, stood in front of a room of reporters backstage and admitted that she felt a "little dazed." "I can't believe this is in my hands," she said, holding up her statue. "I cant believe this is real life. I'm really overwhelmed." Read more here.

Brad Pitt, producer of best picture, 12 Years a Slave
"It's important that we understand our history, not for any kind of guilt but that we understand who we were so that we can better understand who we are now, and why we're having the specific problems we're having or the successes were having," he said. "But most importantly who we're going to be." Read more here. 

Alfonso Cuaron, best director, Gravity
"This is something that Jonas Cuaron began, my son," said Cuaron when he arrived backstage after winning the Oscar for best director. (The elder Cuaron had co-written the script with his son.) Cuaron also spent a good amount of time backstage crediting Bullock for her work on the space epic. When asked to look back on what this evening means to him, he said: "It's fantastic. What is fantastic of this evening is that this has been a very long process. This just marks a closure and I'm so grateful to Gravity."

Spike Jonze, best original screenplay, Her
When Spike Jonze came backstage after his win for best original screenplay, many of the questions from reports had to do with the future and if he thought his film was an accurate portrayal of what it could look like. "I don't know. I have no idea," he said. "I think anything is going to happen and everything is going to happen. I think we're 13 billion years into this universe and there's many more billion years after this, so who knows." Jonze, who worked with Charlie Kaufman on several of his past film, wrote the screenplay for Her on his own. "‘I don't think I could have written a screenplay when I was younger. I think it took me a long time to learn how to write," he said, crediting Kaufman and Dave Eggers as mentors. He was asked about the fact that Scarlett Johansson, who voiced the operating system, could not be nominated for an Oscar. "I don't know enough about how the Academy decides that," he said. "I was moved and affected by watching her create [a new] category."

John Ridley, best adapted screenplay, 12 Years a Slave. The screenwriter, who adapted a 19th century memoir into this year's best picture winner, elaborated on where he spends his time writing -- mostly in a car in a parking lot at his kid's school. "I found that most of the writing I've done, honestly, over the last couple of the years has been in my car," said Ridley backstage. "I want to be very clear about something: Before I started this project I didn't know Solomon [Northup]'s name. I didn't know his story, I didn't know his life, I didn't know anything about him," he said. On developing the screenplay, he noted that "the thing that I discovered in the process that was really helpful was newspapers of that era," in particular shipping newspapers.

Peter Del Vecho, Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck, best animated film, Frozen
"We're thrilled that this movie has touched the hearts and souls of people around the world," said producer Del Vecho backstage after winning for best animated film. He revealed that the trio's next plans were to go on vacation. "What we love about Frozen is that we're finding that people are relating to the characters -- [people] from any part of the world, and any family -- and that's been huge for us," added co-director Lee. "That's the greatest thing that you could feel as a filmmaker." Her co-director Buck said that the success of the film and the support it's gotten worldwide has been "overwhelming" for him. "Just like everyone else, we watched the YouTube videos. We still do."

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Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, best original song, Frozen
The husband-wife team behind the megahit song "Let It Go" were bubbling with joy backstage after their win. Robert Lopez earned his EGOT with the win, and as a surprise, his wife Kristen presented him with a macaroni necklace with the words EGOT. "It feels great. Every award I've been lucky enough to win has been made with an incredible collaborator," he said. Kristen told reporters that Walt Disney Animation Studios chief creative officer John Lasseter had played her demo recording of "Let It Go" in his car for months. "We wrote this song to tell a story, and we love musical stories," she said. "Every single day on my Facebook or my Twitter I get some sort of testimonial about that song … and that is so meaningful to us. That our song can go and give hugs to people like that."

Catherine Martin, best costume design, The Great Gatsby
Martin, costume designer and the wife of Gatsby director Baz Luhrmann, said she's worked with the same group of women on several films, from Moulin Rouge to Australia and The Great Gatsby. This was their third nomination. "In fact, we forgot it was the third nomination. We were getting really confused about the number of nominations," she said. When asked where she will keep her new Oscar, she said she has a special room in her home. "We have a room in our house called the 'red room' -- because it's red -- and that's where we put all the memorabilia," she said. "There was a very funny Australian film called The Castle. I always say, just like in The Castle, that my prizes go right to the ballroom -- but in my case it's the red room."

STORY: Oscars 2014 Winners: The Complete List

Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn, best production design, The Great Gatsby. "It's never too much," Dunn replied to a backstage query about whether there was ever a thought given to limiting the extravagance on the set of the Jazz-era film adaptation. Martin, whose husband, Baz Luhrmann, directed Gatsby, praised his vision and also noted one practical reason why she was glad to win an Oscar. The "nearly 1,200" who worked on the film can now put on their résumé "when they go look for their next job that this film won an Oscar, and to me that's the most important," she said. Martin described her husband as one who "divides the critics and thrills audiences."

Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews, best makeup and hairstyling, Dallas Buyers Club
Asked about the $250 budget for makeup and styling for the $4.5 million film, Mathews responded: "We really didn't have any choice." Lee and Mathews both described how Oscar-winning supporting actor Leto came to the stylist team already dressed as transgender character Rayon. They said they didn't meet the real Leto until the nominees' luncheon last week. The duo was asked where they would keep their newly won Oscar. "I'm going to sleep with it," Lee responded, and Mathews agreed.

Glenn Freemantle, achievement in sound editing, Gravity
The blockbuster sci-fi sound editor first met director Alfonso Cuaron in 2010 and had been working on the film for three years, dealing with the challenge of no sound in space. Freemantle mentioned that he wanted to channel the film's sound through the "emotional journey" of Sandra Bullock rather than "being bombastic." The editor likened the work to a "ballet" and spoke of creating a balance between the visual and sound cues: "It was this huge collaboration."

Emmanuel Lubezki, achievement in cinematography, Gravity
The Mexican cinematographer said the Gravity team amassed a large library of space photography, largely from NASA, in preparing for Gravity. "We would have meetings with Alfonso [Cuaron] and the special-effects people and define how each scene of the movie was going to look," said Lubezki, whose credits also include Sleepy Hollow and Children of Men. Lubezki said he has long been inspired by Cuaron, and the director's sense of exploration.

Alfonso Cuaron and Mark Sanger, achievement in editing, Gravity
The victory in the film editing category marked Cuaron's first-ever Oscar win. Speaking backstage to the press, Cuaron first and foremost thanked Gravity star Sandra Bullock. "Everything we were doing was honoring Sandra Bullock's performance," he said. "And, I'd also like to thank my family." Cuaron said the process of making Gravity was a case of reverse engineering. "As opposed to a conventional film, where special effects are part of postproduction, here is a film in which editing, special effects and the cinematography started two years before we started shooting," he said. Added Mark Sanger, his co-editor: "All the traditional rules were thrown out. And all we did in those first 18 months was reinvent the rules."

Steven Price, best original score, Gravity. Backstage, the composer shared about his early love of music, describing his house as full of sound from The Beatles and Rolling Stones records which got him started on playing instruments. "Hopefully I'll be able to keep doing that," he said of his current work. "Incredible, I can't believe it really," he described of his initial reaction to the win.

Malcolm Clarke, Nicholas Reed, best documentary short, The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed didn't immediately know that musician Alice Herz-Sommer had passed away in a London hospital on Feb. 23 at the age of 110. Herz-Sommer was the world's oldest known Holocaust survivor and the subject of their Oscar-winning documentary short, The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life. "We were at an Academy screening in New York and someone asked me how she was doing. I foolishly said she was doing great. What I didn't know was that she had just gone into the hospital feeling a little sick. She didn't suffer, and she died quietly on Sunday morning. But it's been a strange, surreal week for Nicholas and me," Clarke told the press. Reed said Herz-Sommer was able to stay in her London apartment until just days before her death. Initially, Clarke was wary about tackling another documentary about a Holocaust survivor, having spent years making the 2002 Prisoner of Paradise, which also was nominated for an Oscar. "So I refused to meet this lady. Finally, I was in London and I spent 45 minutes with her, and it changed everything."

Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson, best live-action short film, Helium
The short-film duo praised their win, with Walters noting that "this is a story that kind of celebrates fantasy." He elaborated about the 23-minute film, which is set in a hospital and revolves around an ill child. "I just think it's a very beautiful thing to do to come up with imaginary worlds to ease pain; it's a fantastic way to escape," said Walters. When asked about where he'd keep his new Oscar, Magnusson responded: "close to my heart."

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