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Last Updated: Monday, 6 March 2006, 13:16 GMT
What Oscar winners said backstage
By Jackie Finlay
BBC News entertainment website editor in Los Angeles

George Clooney
George Clooney joked about best director winner Ang Lee

The interview room backstage at the Oscars is the big place to hear the stars talk a little more composedly about their new - or repeat - status as Oscar-winners, after their shocked acceptance speeches on stage.

They're given several minutes to calm down before being wheeled out in front of the press.

But some are more comfortable with the press room than others.

George Clooney, for example. A natural entertainer, the actor/director and amateur stand-up comedian enjoyed the spotlight when it came to talking about his win for best supporting actor for Syriana.

He changed his tone from his serious onstage comments on the bravery of the Academy and those film-makers whose work challenges mainstream thinking in the US.

That acceptance speech "was a little thing I was working on for the Baftas so I saved it up", he told us, jokingly referring to his lack of Bafta awards despite four nominations.

Political issues

When asked his opinion of Ang Lee, he teased: "I don't like that guy. I've seen him a lot, I've spent a lot of time with him.

"I caught him stealing at the last awards show. So you take that home and you tell everyone."

But he refused politely to answer when asked if he was dating Teri Hatcher - who was later to turn up at the Vanity Fair party.

And he turned serious again when he talked of Hollywood's current interest in the issue movie.

"I think what's important is that we are starting now to reflect two years later some of the social and political issues that are, for the first time, probably since Watergate concerning us and we're talking about them."

Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon was given her Oscar by 2005 winner Jamie Foxx

And with a farewell wave the always good value Gorgeous George bounded out of the room.

Best actress Reese Witherspoon was a magnet for the assembled journalists in her Christian Dior vintage original gown.

Having said her children were staying up late to watch the show, she revealed that her preparations for the day had been somewhat low-key.

"I woke up and fed the kids and changed a lot of diapers and chased them around the house. And got my hair done and I got my nails done and got my make-up done and then I was out the door."

While appearing relaxed, she revealed she was not the naturally confident type.

Rachel Weisz
Rachel Weisz was accompanied by fiance director Darren Aronofsky

"One of the hardest things about this movie (Walk the Line) was talking in front of a large group of people or singing in front of a large group of people.

Because I'm used to the filmmaking experience which for me has always been very small and very intimate."

Rachel Weisz was definitely feeling the effects of her pregnancy.

She said her mind was blank when her name was called out, adding: "I think it's because I'm pregnant my brain is a bit like porridge. Anyway, I think I was a big blank."

The baby was kicking beforehand with the adrenalin, she revealed. And she said she had been even more nervous because the bookmakers had made her a frontrunner, adding "although Adrian Brody won, and his odds were terrible".

"You just never know," she said. "In a way it was probably made it a little more nerve wracking, because everyone kept saying, you have good odds."

Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman said he was nervous accepting his award

It was touch and go for a while whether best actor Philip Seymour Hoffman would make it in to see us after his palpable shock at his win, despite being the favourite.

When he did arrive, he explained he had been extremely nervous on stage.

"It's not the most comfortable environment. I don't know what else to say. You know, you're trying to do your best. It's very nerve wracking, very exciting, various mix of a lot of things."

He said he had certainly not chosen the Capote role in order to impress award voters.

"I never thought of a role as an "award" role. If I thought that way I'd be a pretty miserable person I think, if I was making choices based on a role that was going to bring me something."

Best director Ang Lee was the perfect gentleman, congratulating Crash on its best picture win.

And he said of Heath Ledger, who missed out on winning best actor for his role in Brokeback Mountain: " A lot of people told me that his performance remind them of a young Brando. It's just outstanding."

And he was refreshingly honest about his abilities.

"I work hard. I think I'm a talented film-maker; there's no false modesty about that, and I think I'm used to adapting because I've been here for a long time and my parents from China, so I adapted Taiwanese way of life, so I'm always adapting."

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