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.
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