HOLLYWOOD — There’s the show, and there’s the show behind the show, and which involves more work or offers more entertainment is debatable.
For instance, Jared Leto’s backstage session after winning the best supporting actor Oscar for “Dallas Buyers Club” may have been as enjoyable a performance piece as anything in the official show or the red carpet procession that preceded it — and given that all this stuff shows up online, why not?
Appearing in the “backstage” room that’s actually a hotel function room lined with tables populated by journalists in formalwear, the ebullient winner offered up his Oscar for a pass-around, asking, “Does anybody want to try it out? You can fondle.”
As the Oscar made its way from person to person, row to row, Leto discussed how awards and results were never discussed on the “Dallas Buyers Club” set. “It wasn’t even a fantasy of mine because it was so far-fetched,” he said of the Oscar, later adding: “I never won an award for anything I’ve ever done on screen until ‘Dallas Buyers Club.’”
Leto encouraged the press folks to take selfies with his Oscar until the woman running the room reminded that no picture-taking is allowed. “If you guys want to get media, let the media do what they do,” Leto responded, drawing applause.
Back on a serious subject: “I wouldn’t say that I’ve changed, but a lot of things around me have.”
Back to the fun stuff: “Does anybody else want to take a fondle?” he asked, regarding his statuette. “Who’s your favorite Oscar winner tonight?” Ending with the words, “And thanks for getting my Oscar dirty with your fingerprints,” his act would be hard to top.
Arriving later in the evening, supporting actress winner Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”) offered a humble sort of charm. “I’m holding this thing,” she said. “It’s in my hands, but I haven’t wrapped my mind around it yet. You hear people wanting you to win and predicting you’ll win, but it’s just not real until you hear Christoph Waltz say your name. It’s perplexing. But I’m so happy to be holding this golden man.”
Lesson learned: “You have to allow for the impossible to be possible,” Nyong’o said, later adding: “I feel like Willy Wonka in the chocolate factory.”
The actress, who holds dual Mexican and Kenyan citizenship, did display a cheeky side when a reporter asked how much the award belongs to Mexico, and she responded, “I think it belongs to me.”
The below-the-line winners mostly engaged in typical Q-and-A exchanges, offering insights into their work in makeup, costumes, visual effects, what have you, in between fielding one persistent reporter’s repeated question: “Where in your house will you keep your Oscar?”
Makeup winner Robin Mathews of “Dallas Buyers Club” responded by saying that when she’s asked whether she has a husband or kids, she’ll say, “No, I have an Oscar.”
“We’re all just trying to do films that will touch people, and once in a while you’ll get lucky.” — Animated feature winner “Frozen” co-director Chris Buck
“It’s the secret history of popular music, but to me it’s about more than music. Most of us are backup singers ... That’s what works about this film, that we’re all backup singers.”— Feature documentary winner “20 Feet From Stardom” director Morgan Neville
The choreography on the red carpet started with a key piece of stage direction: No rain. This is Hollywood, after all, so if about 4 inches of rain drench the Los Angeles area from Thursday through Sunday morning, the clouds will lighten and the sun will peek out the moment the stars start showing up at the red carpet entrance.
So the world’s glitziest, most scrutinized fashion show ran according to plan, albeit on carpet that had the squishy feeling of the freshly shampooed. The squeegee crew working on the carpet Saturday no doubt helped.
Former Charlie Trotter’s pastry chef Della Gossett, now at Spago in Beverly Hills, walked the carpet with Wolfgang Puck as they displayed their culinary creations for the Governors Ball.
was a best picture nominee, in large part because he was aware that his current best picture nominee was a long shot. “We’re not expecting anything, but if something were to happen, we’d be ecstatic,” he said.
This transplanted Chicagoan also paid tribute to a recently deceased hometown hero: “My thoughts are with Harold Ramis and his family.”
Supporting actress nominee Julia Roberts offered a shout-out to another Chicagoan, Tracy Letts, writer of the “August: Osage County” screenplay (and play): “I worship him. I think he’s amazing.”
“Vertigo” star Kim Novak, another Chicagoan, told the Tribune: “Say hi to my hometown.”