From Leo to Bale: What the stars had to say backstage

The carpet wasn’t the only thing that was red at this year’s pre-Oscar procession, so were many of the dresses that were elegantly worn down it.

None was more vibrant, however, than Anne Hathaway as she made her way into Hollywood’s Kodak Theater wearing a strapless, classic red Valentino gown, with the legendary designer Valentino Garavani on her arm. Such an honor was only appropriate for the actress who was co-hosting the 83rd Academy Awards Sunday night.

At her side onstage was James Franco, who was also up for an award: Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in 127 Hours. Together, Hathaway, 28, and Franco, 32, were the youngest duo to host the show in its 83-year history.

The move from conventional to contemporary seemed to be a common theme at this year’s awards, further exemplified by the Facebook-inspired film’s eight nominations.

Of these nominations, The Social Network was awarded Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Editing.  Interestingly enough, Aaron Sorkin, who wrote the film’s screenplay, revealed on the red carpet that he does not have a Facebook himself.

“I’m not evangelical about not joining Facebook,” Sorkin said.  “The problem is, I probably wouldn’t know how to get there.  I wouldn’t know the keys to push.”

The Social Network’s musical score, which featured electronic sounds instead of a customary orchestra, was also a rather modern choice for the Academy.

“I was very impressed we actually won this with a very nontraditional sounding score,” said Trent Reznor, who, along with Atticus Ross, wrote the music for the film.

Also an advocate for the less traditional at the awards, Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich said that the inclusion of his film in the Best Picture category this year is a step in the right direction for the Academy.

“I think the fact that two years running now we have had animated films that have made it and received Best Picture nominations shows that the walls between live action and animation are becoming a bit more permeable,” Unkrich said, after Toy Story 3 was named Best Animated Feature.

The language that made its way into the awards ceremony didn’t fail to fit the more youthful theme either, as Melissa Leo dropped the Oscars’ first ever F-bomb during her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress.

“Those words, I apologize to anyone that they offend,” Leo said in the interview room just after her speech.

One member of the press applauded her for taking her rough character from The Fighter onstage with her, but her portrayal of Alice Ward inspired more than just her choice of words Sunday night.

“The dress I’m wearing tonight, I’d like to think that Alice would have liked it, and that was part of the choosing for it,” Leo said of her lacy off-white gown by Marc Bouwer.

Christian Bale, who was named Best Supporting Actor for his role as the boxing son of Ward in The Fighter, didn’t seem to mind Leo’s expletive, though he said he missed it because he wasn’t in the room when she received her award.

“I missed the F-bomb,” Bale said.  “But, you know, I’ve laid down many of them myself before.  So I think I know what it was all about.”

Bale entered the interview room hardly knowing what he had said during his own acceptance speech.

“I’ve got a question for you guys, actually,” he said.  “You know, you get up there and you’re giving your speech, and I hope to God that I mentioned Mark and Melissa and Amy and Jack.  Did I mention them?”

The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper, however, was primarily concerned with thanking one person during his acceptance speech: his mom. After attending a reading of a play called The King’s Speech, she came to Hooper and said she had found his next movie idea.

“Not only did she find it, she also reminded me every two weeks for about three months that I really should read it, and thank God I did because when I read it I rang her up and said sorry it’s taken me so long — yes, it is my next movie,” Hooper said in the interview room.

Colin Firth showed his gratitude after winning Best Actor for his role as Bertie in The King’s Speech by letting everyone in on a little secret: he was itching to break out in a celebratory dance.  Still, he denied one member of the press’s request that he follow his impulses in the interview room.

“No.  I was struggling with the containment in that moment and I think I need some quality time alone,” Firth said.  “I don’t think this is the particular forum to display that. Anyone having seen Mamma Mia will know what I’m talking about.”

Natalie Portman, pregnant and glowing in a violet Rodarte gown, said that winning Best Actress for her role in Black Swan was almost surreal.

“It feels very, very dreamlike right now,” Portman said.  “I don’t really know where I am.

Despite the Academy’s inclination towards the “young and hip” Sunday night, one of the more mature-themed movies managed to take home top honors.  Awarded Best Picture, producers of The King’s Speech seemed to know where they were, but weren’t sure where to go next after a night of such elation.

“The buildup of this award is I think like none of the others, and obviously it’s the final award of the season, and there’s just something about it that left us absolutely speechless,” said Gareth Unwin, one of the film’s producers.  “To have won this award, I don’t think there’s anywhere else we can go.”