Stars get psyched for showtime
With just minutes to Oscar showtime, a crush of stars flooded into Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre and quickly went through their pre-show rituals.
Jared Leto put in eye drops. Michael Fassbender dipped into the green room for a quick cigarette. Kurt Russell waited outside a backstage bathroom for date Goldie Hawn. Steve Coogan came out of another bathroom and walked right into Russell and also Sally Field. Lupita Nyong’o and Jennifer Lawrence quickly joined the group.
Jamie Foxx greeted Kerry Washington with a hug and these words: “I heard you’re going to name the baby Jamie. Works for a boy or a girl!”
Cuaron gets a second chance
The night was going so well for Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron that he didn't bother making a speech during his first trip to the Oscars stage on Sunday. He let his co-winner for best film editing take the limelight, only thanking his family backstage after he was prompted to do so by a reporter. Fortunately for family relations, he got a second chance when he won the best director Oscar. By that point, the film had also won for cinematography, score, sound editing and mixing, and visual effects. In addition to thanking his family, Cuaron offered special praise to Sandra Bullock ("the soul and heart of the film"). He also made one of the best slips of the night when he thanked "the wise guys at Warner Brothers" for making the film before quickly correcting himself and calling them "the wise people."
McConaughey’s True Detective: Mum’s the word
Sure he just won the Oscar for best actor for Dallas Buyers Club, but when it came time to talk after the show, Matthew McConaughey was just as interested in what reporters thought about his new HBO series True Detective.
The programme has quickly become a hit, and McConaughey realised he was doing Oscar interviews about the same time a new episode was airing in some markets. He asked if anyone had seen it and what they thought.
Suddenly there were shouts of “No spoilers!” Many in the press corps hadn’t had time to tune in.
“I don’t know what happens,” McConaughey said, throwing up his arms.
“Aww, maybe I do and I’m not telling,” he added with a knowing grin.
In accepting the Oscar for best actor, McConaughey said he needs three things in his life to survive: God, family and someone to look up to as a hero. When he was 15, the actor said, he decided that hero would be himself in 10 years. Ten years later, he pushed the deadline back another decade. Then another decade.
“My hero’s always 10 years away,” the 44-year-old actor said in a gracious acceptance speech. “I’m never going to attain that. That keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.”
After thanking God, his wife and children, his mother and his late father, he offered up something else long-time fans have been waiting to hear this Oscar season: “All right, all right, all right”.
The signature line, from the character McConaughey played in his first film, Dazed and Confused, brought the house down.
What’s so funny?
What interrupted Jennifer Lawrence’s presentation of the best actor trophy?
That would be Ellen DeGeneres and the cast of Dallas Buyers Club.
As the American Hustle actress waltzed on stage, DeGeneres cautiously exited, making sure last year's best actress winner didn't take another tumble before DeGeneres, who had earlier teased Lawrence about falling — "Tonight I think we should bring you the Oscar" — got offstage.
While most of the crowd didn’t catch the joke, Jared Leto, Matthew McConaughey and their cohorts laughed loudly, causing Lawrence to go off script.
When Zac Efron found himself behind Daniel Day-Lewis in the backstage bathroom line, he used the opportunity to express his admiration.
“I’m such a huge fan. Your work inspires us all,” Efron said, shaking the Oscar winner’s hand. “It’s great to have someone like you to watch and be inspired by.”
Although gracious, Day-Lewis didn’t want to spend too much time collecting accolades.
“I’m just going to sneak in there before someone else does,” he said as he made a beeline for the bathroom.
A false alarm, then an EGOT
With his Oscar win for Best Original Song, Let It Go co-composer Robert Lopez has earned his EGOT.
The term, popularised by the comedy 30 Rock, describes the act of winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.
Earlier in the evening, a reporter committed an Oscar faux pas backstage by congratulating Frozen co-director Jennifer Lee on her EGOT. Her film won the best animated feature award, but she hasn't gathered the other three honours. Lee had never heard the term, but it elicited groans from the nerdier crowd.
Taking Pink to the land of Oz
Hey TV watchers: Bet you wondered how they pulled off that Wizard of Oz tribute that showed Pink in Kansas and later in the Land of Oz as she sang Over the Rainbow during the Oscar telecast.
It took more than five projectors beaming images onto a translucent screen masking the singer to pull it off.
While the effect may have appeared magical on television, those in the Dolby Theatre audience couldn’t really make out Pink for most of the song.
Still, they were impressed.
Jamie Foxx was the first on his feet after she finished.
It was Matthew McConaughey who was the loudest, shouting “WOO HOO!” multiple times.
He’s her neighbour, after all.
Those Oscar pizzas were not props
That was a real pizza delivery guy, not an actor, who helped Ellen DeGeneres pass out those pies to the Oscar audience.
The show host met him in a backstage hallway to check out the goods.
“Is it hot?” she asked him. He assured her it was.
“What kind we got here?” she asked. Cheese and veggie with no cheese, he told her.
“OK. Let’s go!” She said, leading the delivery guy onto the Oscar stage.
An Oscar moment to remember
Lupita Nyong’o’s best supporting actress win wasn’t just a major moment for the newcomer — it touched everyone in the Dolby Theatre — both in the audience and backstage.
Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth, who’d presented the previous award, stayed backstage to watch the category on a monitor. When the clip of Nyong’o’s performance was shown, Hemsworth clapped and Theron said, “So good.”
When Nyong’o’s name was called, the stars cheered, as did the other backstage workers.
When a teary-eyed Nyong’o walked offstage and into the theatre hallway, Ellen DeGeneres was waiting to greet her.
“Yay, yay, yay!” DeGeneres said. “You won an Oscar! And it was such a beautiful speech. Such composure!”
She made the actress smile by adding: “And we crashed Twitter with that photo!”
Some Oscar Love for Darlene Love
One of Oscar night’s best-received musical performances was wholly unexpected.
Darlene Love belted out that "I sing because I'm happy" when appearing onstage with the winners of the best documentary feature, 20 Feet From Stardom.
Love, best known for her work with producer Phil Spector in the 1960s, was one of the featured artists in the film about some of the music industry’s best backup singers.
From the audience, Pharrell Williams smiled as she finished her song. Bill Murray pumped his fist and rose, and other spectators joined him in a standing ovation.
When it was time for U2 to perform their Oscar-nominated song, Ordinary Love from Bono ended it with a shoutout: "Darlene Love!"
Earlier, Love and three other singers featured in the film sang their way down the red carpet, crooning in soulful a cappella, serenading television personalities and momentarily quieting the screaming fans.
The feature-length documentary chronicles the highs and lows of the backup singers who worked on some of the biggest songs of the past century but were often forgotten by fans and the music industry as a whole.
Jared Leto, media darling
Best supporting actor winner Jared Leto was a hit backstage with reporters, especially after he shared his moment — and his award — with everyone.
“The first person to give their Oscar away for an orgy in the pressroom,” a smiling Leto said as he passed the trophy around to everyone who wanted to have a moment with it.
“Who’s your favourite Oscar winner tonight?” he asked.
When Leto invited reporters to take selfies, he was cautioned by an Academy representative that no photography was allowed in that particular room.
“If you want to get media, let the media do what they do,” he replied, drawing cheers and applause.
Celebs cut a rug — even Leo
By the halfway point of Pharrell Williams' colourful performance of his Oscar-nominated song Happy from Despicable Me 2, all the celebs were on their feet dancing and clapping.
All except for one lone holdout: Leonardo DiCaprio.
Eventually, The Wolf of Wall Street came around, joining front-row mates Sandra Bullock, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Meryl Streep.
Immediately afterward, Pharrell and his backup dancers froze in position until a stage manager gave them the all clear. Several of the dancers let out a yelp of excitement once they realised it was indeed over.