Backstage at the Oscars

‘Milk' screenwriter speaks out

by Barry Koltnow

The Orange County Register (MCT)

23 February 2009

 

HOLLYWOOD - “Milk” screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who gave a politically tinged acceptance speech on stage, continued his political bent backstage, calling on President Obama to repeal the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and then moved on to other subjects.

He said he never dreamed of winning an Oscar. In fact, his dreams were quite modest.

Backstage at the Oscars: ‘Milk' screenwriter speaks out

 

 

“When I started this screenplay, the only dream I had was not to screw it up.”

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I had four semesters of Spanish, and sincerely planned to translate the Spanish portion of the Penelope Cruz acceptance speech for you, but the best supporting actress beat me to it.

Backstage, the Spanish actress said she dedicated her award to all of her fellow actors in Spain, and to everyone back home watching the show on television.

“This award also belongs to them,” she said.

Cruz, who was directed by Woody Allen in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” said the Woodman called her last week after her win at the British equivalent of the Oscars. She said she planned to call the director later tonight to thank him.

She called Woody a man of few words, but added that all his words were honest.

“If he liked what you did, he’d tell you, and if he didn’t like it, he’d tell you.”

“I adore him,” she said. “He is funny and unique.”

The actress said she trusted Woody completely, even when she doubted that the film was funny. She said she was insecure about the genre of the film until she saw the movie with an audience. Only then did she realize that he knew what he was doing.

Didn’t she see “Bananas?”

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So far, the two biggest reactions from the media have been toward the generous mounds of peeled shrimp on the buffet table, and the shot of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt while Jennifer Aniston was presenting an award on stage.

Aniston, the third wheel in the infamous tabloid triangle, was exchanging funny lines with co-presenter Jack Black when the camera suddenly showed the couple in the front row.

A collective gasp engulfed the press room. Some people muffled shocked laughter. Others shook their heads in amazement. Others whispered in a gossipy way.

I was standing by the shrimp and missed the whole thing. But I heard the gasp, laughter and whispers from the buffet table.

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