As overwhelming an experience as winning an Academy Award can be, the victors often can be extremely eloquent while claiming their Oscar. Later, they're frequently even more composed as they head backstage to the press room to talk what's really on their minds after their big moment.
SPINOFF had a prime seat Sunday night as the triumphant artists and artisans of the 88th Annual Academy Awards, awarded for films ranging from "Max Max: Fury Road" to "The Revenant" to "Inside Out," had a chance to share their reactions -- whether it's opining on diversity or just being hungry for a burger -- to winning the movie industry's biggest honor.
Best Actor winner Leonardo DiCaprio ("The Revenant"): "I grew up in East Los Angeles. I was very close to the Hollywood studio system, but I felt detached from it my whole life. And to have had parents that have allowed me to be a part of this industry, to take me on auditions every day after school, and to tell stories like this has been my dream ever since I was four years old. And this film to me was exemplary, in the sense that I got to work with a director and all the things we spoke about off camera during the making of this movie transferred their way on screen. This was true storytelling. We really got to have a collaborative experience together, and this was a journey that I'll never forget with Alejandro. It took up, you know, such a large portion of our lives, but as a result, we have a great film to look back on for years to come."
Best Actress winner Brie Larson ("Room"): "This time a year ago I was still trying to figure out who I was. The movie was done, but I was in deep searching. I was pulling apart the pieces between the things that I had learned while being Ma and then trying to remember who I was before this movie, because I had spent about a year prepping and then doing the film. And who I was by the time the movie was over was so far away from who I was when I started that it was a long process of many different things in trying to find myself. And the weird part is, I am standing here now completely myself. Everything about this experience down to the way that I have handled it, the way that I felt about it, the dress that I'm wearing, everything has been very pointedly about it being a representation of who I am; and I feel really strong and excited to be holding this gold guy that I do feel like it is an incredible metaphor for how I feel inside."
Best Picture winner and producer Michael Sugar ("Spotlight"): "It was a huge surprise for us, but I had visualized this at my wife's suggestion for many months. And in my visualization of this evening, Morgan Freeman always was the person who came out and said 'Spotlight.' True story. And then my wife was visualizing it, and she always -- I always asked her, 'Where were we sitting?' She said, 'Well, the left side.' And then yesterday we got our tickets and I asked her, 'What row?' In her visualization, she said 'Row 8.' We were in the eighth row. So I felt really good about that. So I guess I'm saying there may be some divine intervention in the win for 'Spotlight,' which is ironic, I'm sure."
Best Director winner Alejandro González Iñárritu ("The Revenant"): "I think the debate is not only about black and white people. What's that mean? That now is #OscarSoBrown or what? I think we are yellow and Native Americans and Latin Americans… still we are dragging this tribal thinking with this. I think one of the problems that we are suffering is there is no moderate platforms to talk about something deeply, very important, that in a way it's deciding the destinies of people around the world -- not only here -- by the color of their skin. So we are still dragging those prejudices and tribal thinking at this time? It seems to me absolutely absurd."
Best Original Song winner Sam Smith ("Writing's On the Wall" from "Spectre"): "I have been eating the most boring food you can imagine for months now, and I'm going to destroy some burgers and chocolate cakes in a second, and some beer. You have no idea."
Best Visual Effects winner Sara Bennett ("Ex Machina"): "Let's say two people come knocking, a man and woman come for the same job, they had about the same talent. I'd pick the female and get more women in basically, just so it will make the ratio more even. But I've been doing it for 17 years. There's a lot of women, a lot of brilliant women, doing what I do in our industry. It just so happens you get picked, if you're nominated for an Oscar or a BAFTA, but there's a lot of women doing it already. So we just need more."
Best Cinematography winner Emmanuel Lubezki ("The Revenant"): "Honestly, I never saw the Academy Awards as a competition. It's more a celebration of the craft and the art of filmmaking in general. And I'm just so lucky to be here. And I don't think it should be viewed as a competition because it's not objective. It's not, you know, five cinematographers running a hundred meters to see who gets the Oscar first. It's very subjective, and it's only 6,000 people that vote. So I'm just lucky. Doesn't mean I'm the best cinematographer."
Best Original Screenplay winner Tom McCarthy ("Spotlight"): "Spending real time with these journalists ‑‑ one thing we didn't do was we didn't thank the Boston Globe, and we probably should, because that institution really opened their doors and their hearts to us, really guided us, really helped us, every step of the way right up through shooting. They were an incredible asset to this movie. Of course, the reporters and the editors were incredibly helpful. And, you know, I think if Josh [Singer] and I came away with anything from this it is just what hard‑working, dedicated, curious, and committed professionals these reporters are. And, you know, for any profession you take your hat off to people like that. And for us, it felt more like a social calling than it did a job with these people, and it was incredibly inspirational."
Best Adapted Screenplay winner Adam McKay ("The Big Short"): "The amazing thing about this movie has been that we've seen Bill O'Reilly and Bernie Sanders support this movie. This is a right/left movie. And we've got to stop, man: Big money is taking over our government, and until right and left goes, no more big money. It has to be like a scarlet letter on these candidates. Google it. Just Google it. You can see what the candidates have been paid, and when you elect people that get money from banks and oil and weirdo billionaires, that's who they vote for."
Best Sound Editing winning team member Chris Jenkins ("Mad Max: Fury Road"): "Late in the game, there were questions whether the movie was too strange or too off‑putting to audiences, and it really wasn't at all. And there was a lot of talk about, 'Should we take some of the things out of it that we really loved,' which were kind of legacy 'Mad Max' things? And you know, that's what made it individual. That's what it made it stand out. And to George [Miller's] credit I think this made a lot of filmmakers, ourselves included, take bigger risks, because not only do people recognize that George at 71 years old spent 10 years making this astonishingly crafted movie, but he made all of us rise up to it and do our best work, and he allowed us to do it, and it doesn't always happen… For a long time, it wasn't a successful movie, and it found its place, and it's found its heart and its soul, and it found its audience and critics."
Costume Design winner Jenny Beavan ("Mad Max: Fury Road"): "The way we made the film is so much in little bits and pieces that you never got a real sense of it. You knew it looked stunning and it was extraordinary, but it was only when I actually saw it three years later at a press screening in Berlin where I was working that I actually understood some of the power of it. Because it's very odd for the film, quite often, when it all comes together with all the elements, it's much greater than the sum of its parts. And our part was obviously just doing the costumes."
Best Animated Feature winner Pete Docter ("Inside Out"): "I will say primarily what we were after was entertainment and fun, and then as we got in there we realized this has something very deep and applicable to every human being. And the weird thing about emotions are they're completely invisible to us most of the time. We know we feel angry, but we don't stop and really rationalize what's driving all of that, and so this film has the potential to help people kind of unpack and think about some of these things that they don't normally. We have heard from a lot of folks -- teachers, especially parents of special needs kids -- who have said this film has given them a new vocabulary to talk about emotions for the first time, and that is nothing we were aiming for, but it is such an amazing by‑product of the movie. And we're so thankful that we are able to contribute in that way."