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Monday, February 25, 2013

Backstage at the Oscars: 2013

The critics love to hate the Academy Award telecast, but nothing moves the needle like the Super Bowl and the Oscars. This year advertisers on the ABC telecast paid the highest commercial prices since 2008. ABC, which is part of the Walt Disney Company media conglomerate, charged somewhere between $1.65 million and $1.8 million for each 30 second spot. Five years ago the cost was $1.7 million.

Okay, enough about the numbers (you can read them all at the bottom). I was lucky enough to gain red carpet access and a backstage pass, rubbing elbows with the media folk and the superstars of screen. The gowns were gorgeous and the guys made you feel like nothing short of the Hobbit. Poor me.

credit: Michael Yada / ©A.M.P.A.S.
Before we go backstage, it was Ben Affleck who stole the show for me. After getting kicked around post-JLO era, he’s come roaring back with Our Town and Argo. His acceptance speech for best picture was far and away the most extraordinary moment of the night. After he thanked wife Jennifer Garner and their kids, he shared some profound advice:

“I want to thank my wife, who I don’t normally associate with Iran. I want to thank you for working on our marriage. It is work, but it is the best kind of work,” he says. “I was here 15 years ago or something and you know I had no idea what I was doing. I stood out here in front of you all, really just a kid. I went out and I never thought I’d be back here and I am because of so many of you who are here tonight … I want to thank them for what they taught me, which is that you have to work harder than you think you possibly can, you can’t hold grudges. It’s hard, but you can’t hold grudges. And it doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life because that’s going to happen. All that matters is that you got to get up.”

BACKSTAGE WITH Daniel Day-Lewis, winner – lead actor

Q. What was the most annoying part about wearing that beard throughout the whole filming? Was it uncomfortable for you?

LEWIS. What do you mean "wearing it"?

Q. Was it real?

LEWIS. Do you wear your own hair? No, it was just a beard. It was a little bit scratchy now and then, but no, it was just a beard. It was mine. It was my very own beard.

Q. You have an Irish passport, you have a British passport. In which way will you celebrate, the Irish way or the British way?

LEWIS. Just give me a brief synopsis of what the difference is.

Q. I've had some piss ups in Ireland.

LEWIS. I'll bet you've had a few in England, as well.

Q. Give us an idea of how you will celebrate.

LEWIS. I'm happy with either one personally. I guess I'll do it L.A. style.

BACKSTAGE WITH Jennifer Lawrence, winner – lead actress

LAWRENCE. This isn't like an auction, right? You guys aren't going to take it away?

Q. What do you think this means to people who are suffering from brain disease that's like bipolar?

LAWRENCE. I don't think that we're going to stop until we get rid of the stigma for mental illness. I know David won't, and I hope that this helps. It's just so it's so bizarre how in this world you have to if you have asthma, you take asthma medicine; if you have diabetes, you take diabetes medicine. If you have to take medication for your mind, there's such a stigma behind it.

Q. How many people helped you? What was the process today to get to the big moment?

LAWRENCE. The process today was so stressful. I felt like Steve Martin in FATHER OF THE BRIDE watching my house just be torn apart, and my whole family was getting ready. And it was I mean, my friends stopped by. It was kind of fun, but it was mostly chaotic, yeah. Oh, what was the process? I don't know. I just woke up and tried on a dress, and it fit, thank God, and then I took a shower and... I don't know what I was that's what I did. And then I got my hair and makeup done, and then I came to the Oscars. I'm sorry. I did a shot before I...sorry. Jesus.

Q. What was going through your mind when you first fell?

LAWRENCE. What went through my mind when I fell down? A bad word that I can't say that starts with "F."

Q. At 22 years old, you've got your first Oscar, and you've already had two nominations. It's awfully young to have so much success so far. Do you feel that it's a good thing that it's coming so early in the career?

LAWRENCE. I hope so. Yeah. I mean, I who knows. I guess we'll see.

BACKSTAGE WITH Anne Hathaway, winner – supporting actress

Q.I have to admit, watching the clip, I was I've seen the film and somewhat taken aback again seeing your clip. When you watch it, when you revisit the film and see that scene, your song, are you ever sort of kind of impressed by yourself like, "Oh, my God, I was really good"?

HATHAWAY.  I'm impressed by the work around me. I'm impressed by my makeup. I'm impressed by my costume. I'm impressed by the haircut and the set and the score and the song, but no, all I can hear is all of the notes that I didn't quite hit. But maybe I'll get over it some day.

Q. What I really wanted to know is how your role in LES MISÉRABLES, and just being a part that movie, how did that change you as an actress and also just as a person?

HATHAWAY. I've done films before where I've played real people. And I'm thinking real people, but a character, you know what I mean, a character based on a real situation. And I'm thinking specifically of RACHEL GETTING MARRIED where I played a recovering addict who was in the ascent of her life of her recovery. And though it was difficult, it was painful, she was in a better place than she had been. Playing Fantine, having to connect with the darkness of life, and I think maybe more to the point, the unnecessary suffering that human beings can inflict on each other, I would have loved to have gone home and forgotten about that everyday, but you just can't because it exists. And it exists for millions of men and women throughout the world. I think this film changed me because it made me more compassionate and more aware.

Q. You said, "It came true," when you started your speech. What is "it"? Did you have a special wish or what?

HATHAWAY. I had a dream, and it came true. And that can happen. And that's wonderful. And so, that was all I was saying was that it can and it did. Excuse me. That's not articulate.

BACKSTAGE WITH Christoph Waltz, winner – supporting actor
FILM: "Django Unchained"

Q. Two Oscars out of the last three years, how does that make you feel?

WALTZ. Guess. It was, I think, like five minutes ago, I got this, or seven. I was on a list with greatest actors around, with Robert De Niro, with Alan Arkin, with Tommy Lee Jones with Philip Seymour Hoffman. How do you think someone feels when all of a sudden his name is called in that context? I can't tell you. I'm sorry.

Q. One Oscar could be a coincidence. A second, not. What does it mean for you personally now, this award?

WALTZ. This well, it really has so much to do with the other actors who were nominated with me, or rather, and I insist on that difference, the fact that I was nominated with them. It means actually, I don't know what it can mean more, but if it can, then that's what it does.

Q. I'm 41. But you are an incredible actor. In light of the subject matter of your film, are you excited about the possibility of a black pope? That's an actual thing. He's from Ghana.

WALTZ. Yeah, well, I have to tell you one thing. It would be an exciting thing. I am a very adamant non racist. I don't care whether the pope is black or white or whatever color. If we are non racist, then we have to stay non racist all the way.

Q. Hi, back here. During the filming of DJANGO UNCHAINED, when did you realize, or did you realize, that there was something special about this film?

WALTZ. When I read the script for the first time, I realized that there was something special about this film. I know Quentin, and I read the pages more or less as they came out of the printer. Page by page I realized that something special is in the making.


Debbie Richman, ABC senior vice president of prime-time sales says “Demand was the strongest in over a decade with commercial time for all intents and purposes, sold out.”

Take a look at these headlines and numbers:

The broadcast of the Oscars drew an average audience of 40.3 million Total Viewers and delivered a 13.0 rating among Adults 18-49, based on Nielsen’s “Fast National” ratings.  The 2013 Oscars is TV’s most-watched entertainment telecast in 3 years – since 3/7/10.

TV’s biggest awards show, ABC’s “The Oscars” towered over other awards shows this year, outdrawing the 2013 “Golden Globe Awards” by 20.6 million viewers and 103% in Adults 18-49 (19.7 million/6.4 rating in AD18-49) and the 2013 “Grammy Awards” by 11.9 million viewers and 29% in Adults 18-49 (28.4 million/10.1 rating in AD18-49).

With the “Oscars Red Carpet Live” pre-show, “The Oscars’” telecast and “Jimmy Kimmel Live: After the Oscars,” ABC’s “Oscar” programming on Sunday reached 80.748 million unique television viewers across the U.S. – unduplicated Viewers 2+ watching 6-minutes or more during the broadcast.

According to the Social Guide there were 6.4 million tweets with 1.6 million unique users, as overall “Oscar” activity outpaced last year by 68% (6.4 million vs. 3.8 million).