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Last Updated:  Monday, 24 March, 2003, 08:43 GMT
Backstage with the stars

By Ian Youngs
BBC News Online entertainment staff in Hollywood

Nicole Kidman and Catherine Zeta Jones
Kidman and Zeta Jones: Same dress, difference sizes
In real life, the Oscar statuettes really do sparkle.

When winners were ushered into press room backstage, some cradled theirs as if it were a child - while others gripped the trophy triumphantly.

In a hotel next to Hollywood's Kodak Theatre, winners were taken from the ceremony to a photo room to face a grandstand of photographers before going into a hall with rows of reporters.

Some winners staggered, still reeling from the shock, while others confidently swaggered, taking it all in their stride - or at least wanting it to appear as though they were.

Michael Moore
Michael Moore: "Only five people booed"
A very round Catherine Zeta Jones - heavily pregnant - came in after the ceremony, giggling, saying she was "dumbstruck" and dedicating her win to the people at home in south Wales.

An ambulance was said to have been waiting outside in case the excitement brought her into early labour - but she did not need it.

When Nicole Kidman came in, she asked the press to tell her what she had said during her acceptance speech.

She had "no recollection" of what she had said on the podium. "It's a very intense and wonderful experience."

She also apologised for being shy. "The wrong time to get shy, right?"

She also revealed she had been given a golden nose by the producers of her film, The Hours, as a reward for putting on a prosthetic nose for filming every day.

Oscar winners (l to r) Chris Cooper, Catherine Zeta Jones, Nicole Kidman and Adrien Brody
The snogging stopped backstage
The surprise winner of the best actor prize, Adrien Brody, played auctioneer from the platform, making fun of the press manager who was collecting the numbers of journalists who wanted to ask questions.

After imitating the way she reeled off numbers, he declared: "Sold, Oscar, $1."

When veteran Peter O'Toole stepped onto the press room platform, he squinted disdainfully at reporters and, despite his honorary award, did not appear to be overcome with joy.

Asked how the experience was for him, he replied: "Exhilarating. Charming. Delightful," with the air of someone annoyed at being kept from his party.

Most journalists seemed interested only in the big names who would be making the headlines in the morning - so the less well-known winners were all but ignored.

Peter O'Toole
O'Toole: Not happy to be there
Most were too busy watching the screens to see whether outspoken anti-war film-maker Michael Moore would win best documentary feature.

When he came backstage, there was applause from journalists, but Moore told them not to report that opinion in the ceremony's audience was split "because five loud people booed".

When asked why he had caused the biggest scene since Vanessa Redgrave's pro-Palestinian speech at the 1978 show, he replied: "I'm an American."

The stars then left for their usual tours of the post-Oscar parties as hundreds of fans gathered outside.

Although the parties had cancelled their red carpets, it was clear that the celebrations were continuing inside.

The Vanity Fair party attracted stars from the ceremony, plus others like former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, who had been due to comment on red carpet fashion for a UK TV channel - until the red carpet was cancelled.

Peter O'Toole milked the crowd's applause as another golden oldie, Michael Caine, swept past.

And attached to trees at the entrance were flashing lights in case the stars felt confused by the absence of paparazzi.

Oscar ceremony in quotes
24 Mar 03 |  Film

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