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.

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More of our favorite backstage moments with this year's Oscar winners:

"I've said this before, but WALL-E really was the most unique personal film I could have made, and I really expected it to speak to a minority, not a majority, because I felt I had gotten away with that with Finding Nemo. So, to get this kind of response -- it just really gives you a lot of confidence to listen to that little voice inside you again the next time."
--- Wall-E director Andrew Stanton, Best Animated Film

"For me, the whole thing was always just sort of, you know, pay it forward. Harvey gave me his story. [Pause] Harvey gave me his story and it saved my life. I just thought it's time to pass it on. So the only thing I really knew I wanted to say is to tell those kids out there they are going to be all right."
--- Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, winner for Best Adapted Screenplay (pictured below)

"The slums were obviously extraordinary because we're encroaching on people's lives. At the same time we have got carte blanche and the green light to go in there and basically destroy their daily lives. You open a cupboard and a family of 15 falls out. And that's not something you can control."
--- Best Cinematography winner Anthony Dod Mantle, on filming Slumdog Millionaire in the heart of Mumbai

"I think there were much more important things in her life --having a baby, and that was good, actually. She took care of the baby. I wished her well."
--- A.R. Rahman, composer of Slumdog Millionaire, on the absence of "O Saya" co-nominee M.I.A from the telecast (pictured below)

"In our tradition, we believe that Om is a word that encompasses the whole experience of the universe. Indians can just listen, can just close your eyes and listen to the pains of living just by the sound of Om. That relates to me on a very personal level, being a sound person. That's why I live for that."
--- Best Sound Mixing winner Resul Pookutty, the first Indian technician to earn a nomination

"I have a secret, but if you are going to keep a secret, that will be fine. I am going to work in New York City in the fall, in a high wire walk to a library. I won't tell you which one and it will be the beginning of a series of walks for literacy around the country to inspire the kids to read."
--- Philippe Petit, subject of Best Documentary Winner Man on Wire (pictured below balancing an Oscar on his chin)

"Meeting Mr. Jack Black was the most exciting thing for him. He always wanted to be funny as he is."
--- Best Animated Short director Kunio Kato (via translator) on his "Mr. Roboto" acceptance speech

Still have Oscar fever? See the full list of winners from the 81st Annual Academy Awards, and browse our Oscars red carpet gallery. To find out where Slumdog Millionaire's 94 percent Tomatometer ranks among every Best Picture Oscar winner ever, check out our updated Best of the Best Pictures.

For award season interviews with Oscar nominees and winners, plus winners lists of every major award show and more, check out our Awards Tour.