Scorsese: “It’s been worth it.”

Martin Scorsese finally wins an Oscar but he doesn’t have a ton to say about the emotions of it. He’s a film buff with an encyclopedia mind and he’s back here talking about film perservation etc.Finally, someone gets him to reflect on the enormity of it all: “Good thing I didn’t get it before. Maybe it would have changed the kind of movies I made or something. I’m glad that it went this way. I’m glad it’s taken this long. It’s been worth it.”
While he campaigned for “The Aviator” and “Gangs of New York,” he wanted to lie low on any campaigns for “The Departed” on his behalf: “Let’s relax and make as good a film as we can.”
On past losses: “You’ve got to get on with your life and get on with your work. The work is what’s important.”
He added: “Winning for me, I gotta tell you, is making the pictures.”

Mirren: the hardest working monarch in showbiz…

Helen Mirren, who walked in carrying a vodka gimlet, is back here answering a question in perfect French. I have NO IDEA what she is saying but she sounds lovely. Is there nothing this woman can’t do. Holding her first Academy Award ever, she told reporters backstage that she finished filming “Elizabeth I” (the TV movie that won her the Emmy, the Golden Globe and the SAG award) then had only two weeks before she began filming “The Queen” which had her playing Queen Elizabeth II for which she has won EVERYTHING. Then, after just after a month off, she began filming her final “Prime Suspect” movie for which she, of course, was critically acclaimed.
Before the ceremony, she said she felt “quite calm.” She said she cared about winning but didn’t dwell on it. “I didn’t go there.”

Alan Arkin dodges questions about “Norbit”

Eddie Murphy had already had the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards for best supporting actor by the time his comedy “Norbit” hit theaters. There was a school of thought that they movie, while a huge box office hit, might undermine Murphy’s Oscar chance since it is such a silly comedy seemingly below a “serious” actor.”
So someone asks Arkin: “Were you glad to see those bilboards for ‘Norbit” going up around time: “I don’t keep score,” he said. “This is a fun kind of insanity. Who’s to say who’s better?”

The thoughtful Forest Whitaker…

Those of us who have been covering the award shows this season, until tonight, Forest Whitaker’s acceptance speeches have been horrendous. So when he won, some of us were keeping our fingers crossed. He did a smart thing: he prepared a speech and read from it. Usually that is so terrible for for Whitaker, it was wonderful because he wrote a wonderful, thoughtful speech and delivered it with so much heart.
Backstage, he was just as thoughtful on a variety of topics including the diversity of this year’s nominees from African-Americans to Mexicans to Spaniards and on and on: “it’s an amazing statement. We have ti be connected as a planet. This year, you see people from all over the world…Stories that are reflecting the diversity of humanity. We have to pay attention and understand that I affect you and you affect me.”

Jennifer Hudson on bald Britney: “I can only pray for her”

When you think about the Britney Spears mess, it says something about success coming too fast. Spears is the same age – 25- as Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson. So as Hudson stood holding an Oscar and on top of the world backstage, she was asked what advice she might have for this trouled, bald, tatooed and now-in-rehab one-time performer: “I can only pray for her,” Hudson said, before adding, “It’s not really any of my business.”
Tell THAT to the tabloids!

Jennifer Hudson becomes just third African American to win supporting actress..

Jennifer Hudson follows Hattie McDaniel and Whoopi Goldberg as one of only three African-American actresses to ever win the best supporting actress Oscar.”This represents a change and a difference,” she said backstage after I asked her about being added to this very exclusive club.
Asked about Eddie Murphy’s loss, she said: “I just know that he did an unbelievable job. I feel at this point, just being a nominee, we’re all winners.”
Still, with Hudson’s win and that of Forest Whitaker for “Last King of Scotland,” it was an excellent night for African American actors who have been largely ignored by the Academy until 2002 when a change took place with the duel wins of Denzel Washington and Halle Berry (the only African-American actress to EVER win the leading actress prize). Since then, Jamie Foxx has won lead actor, Morgan Freeman supporting actor and now Hudson and Whitaker.

Etheridge compares Oscars to “gay holiday”

“This is the only naked man who will ever be in my bedroom,” said best original song winner Melissa Etheridge backstage. As one of the world’s most famous lesbians, she was asked about thanking partner Tammy Lynn Michaels as her wife in her speech and giving her a big kiss before taking the stage.
“She was so important to me, especially with this project,” she said of Michaels. “She said, ‘Write what you feel.’ She saved my life. I was kissing her because that’s what you do when you win and Oscar, you kiss your loved one.”
As far as anyone raising an eyebrow over such same-sex affection, Etheridge said: “I think the Oscars, it’s like a gay holiday. So it’s really meaningful that [host] Ellen [DeGeneres] or myself, there’s no token gay here. It’s a real mix here.”

Gore applaudes Etheridge from backstage…

Al Gore and the team behind “An Inconvenient Truth” were just wrapping up their backstage Q&A session and were almost out of the room when Melissa Etheridge’s name was called as winner of best original song “I Need to Wake Up” which she wrote for the movie. Gore tip-toed back into the press room to watch Etheridge accept the Oscar. He clapped wildly and smiled ear-to-ear. He clapped again when Etheridge said “caring about the Earth is not red or blue, we are all green.”