Behind the big names backstage

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More backstage vignettes from tonight's Oscars ...

After earning the first of ‘‘Pan’s Labyrinth’s’’ multiple Oscars, art direction winners Eugenio Caballero and Pilar Revuelta speculated about the film’s popularity. ‘‘In this cruel world right now, it is important to give a chance to fantasy,’’ said Caballero, who nabbed his first Oscar with his first nomination. ‘‘I think it’s a movie about hope. That’s why it has been a lucky year for us.’’ For Revuelta, who also took home a statuette on her first try, the movie demonstrated the power of pan-Hispanic coalition. ‘‘It’s good that it was a collaboration between Spanish people and Mexican people,’’ said Revuelta, who took most of the backstage questions in the countries’ common language, Spanish. ...

David Marti and Montse Ribe, the winners for best achievement in makeup, are longtime partners in special effects and makeup. While the two won their first Academy Award, they have been nominated for numerous Goyas and BAFTAs for achievement in special effects. The duo answered most of their questions in Spanish, but they did discuss in English when they first discovered that Guillermo del Toro’s script for ‘‘Pan’s Labyrinth’’ was special. ‘‘It was in a restaurant,’’ Marti said. ‘‘With Guillermo, it’s always in a restaurant. He told us about ’Pan,’ and we thought it was amazing, and we wanted to be part of it.’’

Torrill Kove beat such studio heavy-hitters as Pixar, Buena Vista and Blue Sky Studios for her animated short win with ‘‘The Danish Poet,’’ and she isn’t going to join their club anytime soon. Kove said she spent most of her week in Los Angeles meeting other animators, not thinking about joining a studio or jumping into the feature business. ‘‘I’m still attached to the short-film format, and I’m going to do that for a while longer.’’ She said she is grateful for the Academy for keeping her category alive: ‘‘(The short-animated community) is an inclusive community, but it is a little bit insular, and to have the Academy recognize this form every year is really wonderful.’’

Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman, longtime collaborators of Clint Eastwood, were sound editors for ‘‘Flags of Our Fathers’’ and ‘‘Letters From Iwo Jima’’ — and were nominated twice in the same category for their work on the two films. While they didn’t see ‘‘Letters’’ until they had already finished ‘‘Flags,’’ the pair clearly distinguished between the works. ‘‘‘Flags’ had immense size to it, while ‘Letters’ was much more claustrophobic, living inside those caves with the threat always on the outside,’’ said Murray, whose father served in the Armed Forces at the Battle of Iwo Jima. ‘‘We tried like crazy to make it feel that it was pretty scary. We were scared.’’

When Ari Sandel directed ‘‘West Bank Story’’ as his master’s thesis film, he never envisioned winning an Oscar for best live-action short. ‘‘My dream was to take it to Sundance,’’ the USC graduate said. ‘‘The rest is all incredible.’’ Although Sandel doesn’t expect the comedic take on the volatile region to change the world, he will take credit for changing a few minds. ‘‘I wanted to make it even-handed,’’ he said. ‘‘I wanted Jews watching it to like the Arab characters, and I wanted Arabs watching it to like the Jewish characters.’’ In fact, Sandel found the response to ‘‘West Bank’’ to be overwhelmingly positive from both sides of the divide. After receiving letters and e-mails from the film’s fans, he promised that he would tell reporters, ‘‘There are people on both sides who want peace.’’

Could a little rivalry have been revealed in the sound mixing world? Things turned weird when the winners of that category — Willie Burton, Bob Beemer and Michael Minkler for ‘‘Dreamgirls’’ — were onstage in the press room. A question was thrown to the trio about what advice they had for Kevin O’Connell, who now has been nominated now 19 times. While Burton and Beemer had conciliatory things to say — ‘‘Hang in there, Kevin, you’ll get your chance,’’ Burton said — Minkler’s words were the opposite. ‘‘I think Kevin should go away with 19 nominations,’’ he said without cracking a smile. ‘‘We work really hard, and if we stumble upon an award, we are so grateful. I have to wonder ... Kevin is an OK mixer, but he should take up another line of work.’’ He exited the stage leaving people wondering whether he was serious.

The Hollywood Reporter

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on February 25, 2007 10:53 PM.

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