It's not every day that Hollywood icon Robert Redford gets upstaged. But then again, the 74th annual Academy Awards wasn't your "everyday" Oscar ceremony. The honorary Oscar recipient was in the midst of fielding reporters' questions backstage when onstage Denzel Washington became the first African-American thesp in nearly four decades to win best lead actor. With the majority of the press under their headphones and glued to the monitors, Redford realized there was only one thing to do: He temporarily halted the Q&A so he too could listen in.
Pity the Oscar winner who was in Redford's place when Halle Berry was named best actress the only African-American to ever win in that category. Actually, go ahead and pity foreign film victor Danis Tanovic as he was in that unenviable position. On hearing Berry's name called out, the entire press room leapt to their feet in excitement just as Tanovic was about to explain what his next project would be. Sadly, unlike Redford, the No Man's Land filmmaker seemingly oblivious to the fact that no man or woman was paying attention to him forged on with the questions. (It was not a pretty sight, folks.)
Of course, there were no such interruptions when it was Berry's turn to meet the press. On entering the room, she was greeted with a second standing ovation. The still-emotional Monster's Ball actress confessed that she was temporarily paralyzed when Russell Crowe declared her, and not Sissy Spacek, the winner. "I thought I wasn't going to make it up the steps," she said. "I thought, 'God, just don't let me embarrass my mother.'" Even Washington commented on Berry's fragile mental state. "I was just taking pictures with [her] and she doesn't know where she is," he cracked. "She's gone." (Quick side note: In case you were wondering why Berry ended her acceptance speech by thanking Warren Beatty, a little birdie told TV Guide Online the reason. Apparently, Beatty once advised her to hire a different acting coach for every film.)
Like Berry, Washington also received a second standing ovation in the press room albeit a less enthusiastic one. (C'mon, the guy already won a gold dude.) However, in contrast to Berry, the Training Day thesp seemed to downplay the role race has played over the years in determining who wins an Oscar noting that up until this year, Caucasian singer-songwriter Randy Newman was batting 0-15 with the Academy. "What would he say on the 15th time when he lost? Was that racism?" In fact, when a reporter asked him what it felt like to be a part of Oscar history, he replied: "I'm a part of history because of why...?"
Alright, so enough about the race card. Here's what else had people buzzing backstage...