Oscars 2015: Backstage antics run the gamut at Academy Awards

Oscars 2015: Backstage antics run the gamut at Academy Awards
Jennifer Lopez backstage at the 87th Academy Awards on Feb. 22, 2015 at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

As the Oscars unfolded, backstage was a place for nerves, prayers and fashion emergencies.

"Big wins tonight, brother!" John Legend said to Alejandro G. Inarritu, after Inarritu accepted the best picture Oscar for "Birdman."


Inarritu lingered backstage clutching his Oscar between two actresses in his film, Emma Stone and Andrea Riseborough.

FULL COVERAGE: Oscars 2015

"I look good between beauty!" Inarritu said with a smile.

"That was such a beautiful speech," Cate Blanchett said to Julianne Moore, who had just she accepted her lead actress Oscar.

"Was it? Thank you," Moore said, clutching her chest.


Host Neil Patrick Harris arrived 90 minutes to show time. "I'm here and I feel great," Harris said.

He discussed his many planned costume changes for the evening with a wardrobe coordinator. "I went with gray for the red carpet," he said.

"Fifty Shades of Grey" star Dakota Johnson glided to the greenroom with her mother, Melanie Griffith.

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.

Moments before the show, it was so quiet backstage all you could hear was the swish of Lupita Nyong'o's gown as she walked to the greenroom.


As she waited beside a monitor laughing, watching Harris' opening number, a stage manager said, "Remember what we talked about yesterday. Feel free to take that moment."

Show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron stood beside the monitors in the stage right wings, receiving kisses and praise.

"Hi honey!" Reese Witherspoon said to Meron. "Great opening!"

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"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.

"I just keep stepping on sequins left and right," Jennifer Aniston said.

"Can I get those flyaways?" a hairdresser asked, coming at her with a comb, as Aniston read over her script.

"I like my flyaways!" Aniston said.

"Just a reminder... ," a stage manager said to Aniston, who was presenting with "Selma" star David Oyelowo.

"There's holes in the floor?" Aniston asked.

"Yes, and, don't lock arms with David, 'cause the steadicam's going to come right around," he said.

FULL COVERAGE: Oscars 2015

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.