Oscars 2014: Backstage in the press room

Oscar-winning production designer Beverley Dunn (left), and Catherine Martin, winner of Oscars for both Production Design and Costume Design, pose in the press room at Loews Hollywood Hotel on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood. Jason Merritt/Getty Images

The following are excerpts from interviews with last night's Oscar-winners, in the press room of the 86th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood.

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From left: Producers Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Dede Gardner, Brad Pitt and director Steve McQueen, of "12 Years a Slave."
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

"12 Years a Slave" won three Oscars, including Best Picture. Director Steve McQueen celebrated his victory by leaping on the stage at the Dolby Theater. Backstage he said:

"I'm as cool as a cucumber right now. Absolutely. You saw the jump, of course. I mean everyone's talking about the jump, but it's just really truly I was just so ecstatic, so happy for us all.

"it's one of those moments in life where, you know, it might not ever happen again, and you're living it, and you're there. It's not a dream. It's a reality. So emotions, physicality just takes over. So, you know, Van Halen: Jump!


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Jared Leto, winner of Best Supporting Actor for "Dallas Buyers Club."
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Jared Leto, Best Supporting Actor for his performance as the transsexual Rayon in "Dallas Buyers Club," passed around his Oscar:

"Does anybody want to try it out for size? You can. If anybody wants to fondle. Here. Pass it around, but if you have swine flu, please don't touch. I think this is the first, the first person to ever give their Oscar away for an orgy in the press room."

He then suggested reporters might want to take selfies of themselves with his Oscar, when the press room moderator said, "It's no cameras allowed in this room."

"Oh, no fun," Leto said. "You guys want to get media, let the media do what they do. Viva la revolution, baby!"

When asked which he preferred - standing on stage as a rock star or as an Oscar-winning actor, Leto said, "Well, the good news is I don't have to choose. Right? That's the good news.

"But it's interesting. I said to my brother, This is actually a very small venue for Thirty Seconds to Mars. But of course, when you have to stand up there without your band, and it's obviously not a Thirty Seconds to Mars audience, it's a different thing, and it's quite impressive and exhilarating and very fun. You know, to look down and see Leo and Meryl Streep, and at one point in my speech, I found myself talking right to De Niro, as if the room wasn't intimidating enough. I was like, bad choice. Let me go back over to my mom."


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Hairstylist Adruitha Lee (left) and makeup artist Robin Mathews, of "Dallas Buyers Club."
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

"Dallas Buyers Club" hair stylilst Adruitha Lee and makeup artist Robin Mathews (who achieved their Oscar-winning work on a budget of $250) said they first met Leto when he was in character as Rayon, and that they'd never "met" Jared until the nominees luncheon.

"He was already in high heels, clothes, a skirt, and he had some makeup on," said Lee.

"He came to the makeup chair and sat down -- he was sizing the both of us up, trying to figure out if he trusted us I'm sorry she, if she trusted us," said Mathew. "And so I said, 'Hey, what do you think about waxing off all your eyebrows?' And she goes, 'Yeah. I just waxed my entire body, so why not go for broke?' And I heat up the wax, got ready to pull them off, and right as I was going to pull the eyebrows off, she grabs my hand in her little Southern voice and goes, 'Sweetheart, make it quick.' And I was like, oh, no pressure there; but I pulled them off, and we were okay; and I think he trusted Adruitha and I after that."


Lupita Nyong'o described her emotions after winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance as Patsey in "12 Years a Slave":

"I'm a little dazed. I can't believe this is in my hands. I can't believe this is real life. Yeah, I'm just -- I'm really overwhelmed. . . . I feel like Willie Wonka in the chocolate factory."

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Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o, poses in the press room at Loews Hollywood Hotel on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images


Repeating her double-win for Baz Luhrmann's 2001 spectacle "Moulin Rouge!," Catherine Martin (the wife of Luhrmann) won two Academy Awards, for Best Costume Design and Best Production Design, for "The Great Gatsby."

She was asked whether the work of designing costumes and sets could be divided.

"I think that the language of clothes and the language of environment work hand in hand as storytelling tools in what is a visual medium, filmmaking, and it's certainly something that Baz considers down to the very last detail," Martin said.

"I think the most successful, obviously, visual interpretations [are] ones that are collaborative, so I think it's quite good to be the same person. Even though it can be schizophrenic at times, you're arguing with yourself.

When asked when she knows when to stop, when too much is too much, Martin replied, "In a Baz Luhrmann world, there's never too much."


When "20 Feet From Stardom," a film about the lives and careers of backup singers, won the Best Documentary Feature Oscar, joining director Morgan Neville on stage was one of the film's subjects, singer Darlene Love, who proceeded to sing joyously during their acceptance speech.

Afterwards, Neville was asked if he knew Love would break out in song:

"I had a hunch," he said. "They sing all the time. It's what they do, you know. The question was, was the orchestra going to drown her out and would she start singing lyrics over the orchestra? I don't know. She can do that too. She can do anything. That's the thing, that's how they express joy is music, and I'm so happy she had the chance to do it. And I just had the biggest goose bumps; I mean, that was an incredible moment for me."


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Screenwriter John Ridley of "12 Years a Slave."
JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images

"Being a father," said screenwriter John Ridley (who won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for "12 Years a Slave"), "I found that most of the writing that I've done, honestly, over the last couple of years has been in my car, waiting for my kids, waiting at basketball practice, waiting at choir practice, what have you.

"Honestly, I would love to write on a beach in Hawaii. Most of the time it's in my car in the parking lot of my kids' school."


The winner of Best Documentary Short Subject was "The Lady In Number 6: Music Saved My Life," about Holocaust survivor Alice Sommer, who died last week at the age of 110. Filmmaker Malcolm Clarke described how he came to make the short film about her:

"I almost didn't make this movie because I was so stupid," he said. "I was told about [Alice] three years before I met her, and for three years I refused to meet her. And the reason was really very simple: I had made a Holocaust film 10 years ago ["Prisoner of Paradise"], it was actually nominated for an Academy Award. I didn't want to make another Holocaust film. I didn't want to go into that space again; because dealing with that material day after day, week after week is really rough. And so I refused to meet this lady who my friend in New York said was quite remarkable.

"Finally, I was in London on business, and she said, 'You're there anyway, just go and have a cup of tea with her." And I went and spent 45 minutes with Alice, and, well, that changed everything.

"She was 107 at the time. And I came back to Montreal, which is where I live, and I said to my crew, 'You are going to make a movie. We are going to do it fast, because she was 107. Everyone's going to do it for free, because we haven't got the time to raise any money.' And that is what happened."

Nicholas Reed, the film's producer said that Sommer was incredibly inquisitive about everything they did: "She would ask us about ourselves. 'How does the camera work? What does that button do?' She would take the camera from the cinematographer. So the problem making the film is that she was wanting to do documentary on all of us, because what made her so beautiful is she was always, always interested in what everyone else was doing and always like a sponge, and that's what made her so vital."


Writer-director Spike Jonze, who had previously been nominated for directing Charles Kaufman's screenplay for "Being John Malkovich," won Best Original Screenplay for the futuristic romance "Her."

A reporter asked, "Have you talked to Charlie Kaufman about this?"

"I haven't talked to him in the last ten minutes, but, yeah, he's really happy for me," Jonze said. "I don't think I could have written a screenplay when I was younger, I don't think. I think it took me a long time to understand how to write ... and I learned a lot from Charlie, from working with Charlie; and I learned a lot from Dave Eggers and Maurice Sendak.

"I don't know, but now I feel like I'm ready to actually write what in my heart and what I have to say. And so I feel like that's what this chapter of my life is going to be."


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Jennifer Lawrence and Best Actor Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey.
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Matthew McConaughey, the Best Actor Oscar-winner for "Dallas Buyers Club," talked of having an acting career and what an awards seasons means to his young children:

"Like, 'Where are you going?' "We're going out, tonight there's an awards show. Papa is up against four other men who are actors who do what we do. And they're going to give the actor the award for what they think is the most excellent performance. Remember when we were back in New Orleans, we lived in that house and we were there working every day, remember that time? The work that dad did then, the work that we all did, people are shining a light on it today.'

"What we're trying to give is a general lesson: if you do your best right now, it can have reciprocity later; it can come back and pay residuals for whatever they end up doing in life. But if you do it right now, later on you can be rewarded for good work done now. That's the lesson we're trying to translate."


Cate Blanchett had been the front-runner for a Best Actress Oscar since the premiere of Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine." She said she prepared for the day with a massage: "My morning began with being pummeled like Kobe beef. And it's just got better and better."

When asked what kind of pressure was upon her, being the frontrunner, Blanchett said, "An intense, unbearable pressure which I'm so glad is over. I mean, look, it has been every year. And having been in theatre primarily for the last six years, I can say this objectively, every year I watch this thing remotely, and every year there are 5, 6, 10, 12, 20 performances by women that I am gobsmacked by and inspired by. And you know, it gets whittled down to five is it five of us?

"And I mean, to be in conversation with those women, you know, by proxy, because we are all crammed together into one category, I mean, that's the privilege. And the rest is just chocolate."


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Director Alfonso Cuaron ("Gravity") with Angelina Jolie.
JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images

Alfonso Cuaron won two awards for "Gravity," for Best Film Editing and Best Director.

"I'm Mexican, you know, so I hope that, like anything, some Mexicans were rooting for me to win this thing. What I'm saying is that I don't think that there's enough attention being given to amazing expressions of Mexican culture that are happening right now in Mexico. I really appreciate and I'm really grateful with all this support that I've been feeling from Mexico, but I just I would love if that same support is given to some other films that are coming out of there with Mexican filmmakers, shot in Mexico, and with Mexican subject matters."

Cuaron co-wrote the film with his son, Jonas Cuaron. Alfonso said, "He really injected a new energy in my life, in my work. And I'm so happy that now he's celebrating the way that filmmakers like to celebrate, that he's shooting his film in Baja."


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Songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

When Kristen Anderson Lopez (who with her husband won Best Original Song for "Let It Go") was asked how she planned to celebrate, she replied, "I think we're going to sleep. We are New Yorkers, so we've been on Eastern time and we rented a house in like the worst place to be when it rains in Los Angeles. We are up in the canyons. So, there were like boulders flying. I think we're just going to sleep after we party."


  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.

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