When Griffith passed a group of Pricewaterhouse Coopers representatives carrying briefcases, she asked, "Are those the ballots? Are they locked?"
Behind her, a woman rolled a garment steamer into the corner for last-minute touch-ups, and two prop handlers with white gloves wheeled a cart into an elevator to collect the night's real stars, the Oscar statuettes.
"Y'all look beautiful and dapper," Channing Tatum said to the Team Oscar presenters, a group of young, aspiring filmmakers who won a contest to deliver the trophies on stage. "Keep making movies."
The stage right wings were prime for chance encounters.
"I used to watch you, my dear, when you were 1 year old," Liam Neeson said to Dakota Johnson, who is the daughter of actors Griffith and Don Johnson. "How graceful you look tonight."
A stage manager parted the crush of crew and photographers in the stage wings to make way for Jennifer Lopez's voluminous beaded toile gown, which nevertheless dropped beads like a bread crumb trail behind her.
"Whew, that's over!" Lopez said as she returned from presenting, wearing a wide smile of relief.
Before he made a stage entrance in nothing but his tighty whities, socks and shoes, Neil Patrick Harris waited in the wings nervously tapping his stomach and watching the monitor.
Will Arnett, in a Batman costume for the "Everything Is Awesome" musical number, and Questlove with a pick in his hair and a heart cutout on his lapel, waited to perform. Arnett quipped, "We always go to the Oscars together."
"Do I have anything in my teeth?" Gwyneth Paltrow asked Zadan and Meron.
The crowd in the wings applauded raucously when Patricia Arquette came backstage after her passionate acceptance speech calling for wage equality for women.
When her presenter, Jared Leto yelled, "The winner! The winner!" Arquette hollered back, "Chicken dinner!"
During the in memoriam segment, the mood backstage was somber. After introducing the segment, Streep stood at the monitor and watched the names and faces go by, shaking her head at the picture of her "August Osage County" costar Misty Upham.
As the show neared its end, emotions were running high.
After performing her "Sound of Music" tribute, Lady Gaga stepped off the stage weeping and shaking. "You did it! You did it!" Meron said, as first he then Zadan enveloped her in a hug.
"I'm going to go have a drink!" Gaga said.
When Octavia Spencer arrived in the wings, Meron mentioned a bit Harris did earlier in the show, enlisting Spencer to watch a box on the stage.
"We didn't want to tell you, but we picked you 'cause we knew you'd play along," he said.
As John Legend and Common performed "Glory" backstage, Spencer fanned her face as her eyes filled with tears.
"Oh, my God! Oh, my God!" Common said, when he stepped off the stage after winning the Oscar for original song. "We should probably quiet down, huh?"
"Once you get rolling, put me in one of your flicks," Eddie Murphy said to the Team Oscar filmmakers.