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Last Updated: Monday, 28 February, 2005, 14:37 GMT
Backstage with the Oscar winners
By Helen Bushby
BBC News entertainment staff in Los Angeles

Cate Blanchett
Winners faced the world's media after collecting their Oscar
Being backstage at the Oscars gives both the winners and the press more time to get to grips with what they really think of it all.

The Oscars press pack tells us: "We are here to revel in the artistry of our colleagues, men and women who have not only entertained but also enlightened."

The reality, however is that the winners are rushed on and off the stage, preferably after just 45 seconds, with only the big winners daring to defy the orchestra which strikes up if they over-run.

From a press point of view, the best type of winning speech is one that does not include a huge long list of thank-yous for people no one has ever heard of.

A bit of honesty, emotion and a laugh or two are always welcome.

One of the most surreal things is that I might wake up tomorrow and find it's not happening and I haven't won anything
Hilary Swank, best actress

Jamie Foxx had been a dead cert to win best actor for weeks, but his speech was far from predictable. When he broke down over the death of his grandmother there were murmurs of support from the press.

Backstage, he was genuinely choked that he and Morgan Freeman were the first African Americans to win both male acting prizes at the same Oscar ceremony.

"There's significance about our win for young kids out there, our community. There are so many negative things that black people are enforced by - think about music, which has so many negatives - why not have something positive with blackness?

'Trailer park upbringing'

"When I was watching Halle and Denzel win it inspired me to say 'hey I can do my thing' too. We just want to be included into the pot and make everything artistically better."

Hilary Swank also gave a very personal speech backstage, talking about her "trailer park upbringing" and how she still found it hard to wear new clothes, feeling they should only be saved for "best".

Jamie Foxx
Jamie Foxx thanked his late grandmother in his speech

"I'm working on it but I still have loads of clothes in my closet with the label still in," she said.

She also spoke about what it felt like to win two Oscars.

"My heart was pounding so fast out of my chest I didn't know if words were coming out of my mouth," she said.

"One of the most surreal things is that I might wake up tomorrow and find it's not happening and I haven't won anything."

Motorcycle Diaries composer Jorge Drexler, who won best original song, charmed the audience by singing it on stage for his acceptance speech.

However he was less endearing when he did exactly the same thing again backstage, and then spoke only in Spanish.

He may have been fascinating but my lingual capabilities only extend as far as O'Level French, and many of the press were flummoxed.

Rivalry rumours

The other most interesting winners were Cate Blanchett, Morgan Freeman and, of course, Clint Eastwood.

Blanchett said the nominees got on well and that the press were responsible for creating any "rivalry", adding: "I think it's fun to go through it with all these girls. You would be surprised about the lack of competition."

Freeman was serene and calm, describing his win as "total acceptance" from the Academy.

Eastwood was also composed - the elder statesmen did not get nearly so worked up as their younger counterparts.

He joked that although Mystic River had the potential to win best film last year, it was "hobbitised" by Lord of the Rings, which swept the board.

But his feathers remained unruffled, and he added he did not get anxious about whether he would win again.

"One good thing about getting into your seventh decade of life, is what the hell can they do to you?



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