Backstage at the Oscars: My First Time

RT's Jen Yamato gives her first-hand account of what it was like to cover the Academy Awards.

"Suck on that, Anthony Dod Mantle!"
-- Oscar-winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski

Of course, while winners are addressing the press backstage, there's still a show going on. This year's production introduced new concepts and experiments; what would hold audiences' attention, or help the Academy get past its popular reputation as an elitist night of self congratulation?

The answer: montages and skits, and lots of them. The Academy worked closely with Hollywood's major studios to trade on-air exposure for content that could engage the minds of American viewers. Space Chimps, for example, would never have been mentioned in a previous year's show, but it made an appearance in the night's Animation reel. Step Brothers, a Will Ferrell comic flop, showed up briefly in the Comedy tribute. Even the show's closing credits featured a montage highlighting upcoming films, most of which (Sherlock Holmes, Old Dogs, Terminator Salvation) aren't exactly Oscar material and in all honesty won't be nominated at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards.

In one skit, Pineapple Express stars Seth Rogen and James Franco watched the "Oscars" in character as their stoner counterparts, a funny bit (for a bit) that included the random appearance of Oscar-winning DP Janusz Kaminski: "Suck on that, Anthony Dod Mantle!" Mantle did, in fact, suck on that, later winning the Academy Award for Cinematography for Slumdog Millionaire.

Zeitgeist-capturing catch phrases were as plentiful as if in any Shrek film, from Ben Stiller's post-postmodern Joaquin Phoenix shtick to Will Smith's ad-lib following a teleprompter flub: "Boom goes the dynamite!" Even the old fogies on ABC's pre-show red carpet coverage had learned to reference Twitter, which was the new media forum du jour for the night.



Next: Heath Ledger's family remembers their son backstage

Comments

The Great One

A Z

Great write-up Jen...looking stunning as always

Feb 24 - 06:50 PM

jokerboy1991

jack giroux

Great article Jen, that must have been a fun night. Also is it just me or does Danny Boyle seem like the coolest guy, the guy is literally always smiling! Every picture he is in he always has a big smile, which is kind of ironic since most of his movies are pretty dark- except Slumdog though it is dark at times of course. It must have been interested hearing Penn talk in person, now does that guy ever smile? Someone needs to read him Green Eggs and Ham to cheer him up, hee-hee (get it guys!). He was awesome in Milk and I wouldn't call his win an upset at all but just a surprise.

Feb 24 - 07:05 PM

jocorotten

Joanna Cohen

When I grow up I am going to be an Academy Librarian!

Feb 24 - 07:36 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Good article Jen, and you're looking lovely. I can't get enough of Philippe Petit. I swear, if he were balancing my Oscar, there'd be a brawl. I think Jackman's FIRST song was good, the second...was overdone. Nice ceremony all in all.

Feb 24 - 09:39 PM

jokerboy1991

jack giroux

It was over done because of those damn High School musical kids! Damn Zac Efrom! DAMN THE ZAC!

Feb 24 - 09:59 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Let's make that an internet meme! DAMN THE ZAC!

Feb 24 - 10:13 PM

jokerboy1991

jack giroux

It was over done because of those damn High School musical kids! Damn Zac Efrom! DAMN THE ZAC!

Feb 24 - 09:59 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Let's make that an internet meme! DAMN THE ZAC!

Feb 24 - 10:13 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Let's make that an internet meme! DAMN THE ZAC!

Feb 24 - 10:13 PM

Jen Yamato

Jen Yamato

Thanks, guys! Boom goes the dynamite! Where's tomwaitsjr with the Space Chimps love?

Feb 25 - 12:11 AM

Jason C Wilkerson

Jason Wilkerson

Where does the Boom goes the dynamite thing start?! I remember first hearing it on Family Guy and it's exploded since then. Great article though. Was I the only one that thought the Pineapple Express skit wasn't overdone? I thought it was hilarious throughout the entire time. I thought the all of the musical parts were done nicely (although I could have done without anyone from High School Musical). I actually got my gf to watch (a miracle in itself) and she kept watching because of the musical elements, so I would imagine there were probably other new viewers like that as well. Overall it was the best show they've had in years.

Feb 25 - 12:14 PM

Jen Yamato

Jen Yamato

The origins of "boom goes the dynamite": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W45DRy7M1no

Feb 25 - 05:14 PM

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