IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Backstage at the Oscars: Pitt, Leto, Blanchett and others talk partying, pjs and dog poop 

The Academy Award winners had more to say than just the thank yous and musings they shared from the stage on Sunday night. Behind the scenes, those with Oscars in hand talked more about what it meant to win — as well as how they prepped for the big day and how they'd be partying into the next one.Brad Pitt and Steve McQueen, best picture, '12 Years a Slave'McQueen, on what inspired his onstage
Image: Brad Pitt, Steve McQueen
Brad Pitt, Steve McQueen.Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

The Academy Award winners had more to say than just the thank yous and musings they shared from the stage on Sunday night. Behind the scenes, those with Oscars in hand talked more about what it meant to win — as well as how they prepped for the big day and how they'd be partying into the next one.

Brad Pitt and Steve McQueen.Mario Anzuoni / Today

Brad Pitt and Steve McQueen, best picture, '12 Years a Slave'

  • McQueen, on what inspired his onstage jump (at the end of his acceptance speech): "You saw the jump; I'm so ecstatic for us all. It's not a dream, it's a reality. Van Halen — JUMP!"
  • Pitt, on what he did to prepare for Oscar day: "I had to clean up dog poop today. In my bedroom."
  • Pitt, on developing and working on the movie: "I love this movie. As a lover of film, this heroic story, it's counterintuitive to the way films are made today. ... It’s important we understand our history not for any kind of guilt but so we can understand who we were and better understand who we are now ... and most importantly understand who we’re gonna be."
  • McQueen, on the current relevance of '12 Years': "The background characters are now in the foreground. It’s indicative of what’s going on now. ... I think people are ready for this narrative. Before it was, of course, quite painful. People want to look at it, embrace it. Like Brad said, if we don’t know our past, we’ll never know our future." 
Matthew McConaughey.Mario Anzuoni / Today

Matthew McConaughey, best actor, 'Dallas Buyers Club'

  • How it feels to hold an Oscar: "It feels, I’m not gonna say surreal. I did not expect it. ... I’m standing here now — I got a prize for excellence for work I do. It’s not my job, it’s not my fad, it’s not my hobby, it’s my career. That’s a very special thing."
  • What is it like to be behind the scenes of the 'McConnaissance'? "Someone first said that to me at Sundance. I don’t know what that is but it sounds good."
Cate Blanchett.Mario Anzuoni / Today

Cate Blanchett, best actress, 'Blue Jasmine'

  • On being the first Australian two-time acting winner: "Don't you (expletive) forget it!"
  • You were the front-runner all season, does that add more pressure? "YES! An intense, unbearable pressure which I’m so glad it’s over."
  • What's the post-Oscars plan"Putting on my pajamas, going dancing. Maybe it's easier dancing in your pajamas."
Jared Leto.Mario Anzuoni / Today

Jared Leto, best supporting actor, 'Dallas Buyers Club'

  • Why he talked about his mom so much: "She has inspired me in ways that I can talk about for days, so I was really proud to bring my mom tonight, to bring my brother tonight — the two most important people in my life. And to be able to thank them in such a unique and grand way."
  • When did he realize he could be an Oscar winner? "Never in a million years did I dream I would be here talking to you. It was not even a fantasy of mine. It was so far-fetched."
  • How will he celebrate? "Celebrating to the break of dawn, trust me. Look me in the eyes and see that I will revel tonight. If they only knew what was gonna happen tonight ... the stories we will have to tell."
Lupita Nyong'o.Mario Anzuoni / Today

Lupita Nyong'o, best supporting actress, '12 Years a Slave'

  • Did you ever dream this big? "No. No. No. I’m a little dazed, can’t believe this is in my hands. I can’t believe this is real life. I’m just, ugh, I don’t know. I’m really overwhelmed."
  • You've been the It Girl on this Oscars journey, what are you going to take with you from this journey and what do you understand now about the human spirit? "I don’t know whether I can answer that question. What I will say is that what I've learned is I don’t have to be anybody else and myself is good enough. And when I am true to myself, I can avail myself to extraordinary things."
  • You are always so humble and poised, where do you get that from? "I have phenomenal parents. My father is famous in his own right. He’s done amazing things for our country, Kenya. And my mother is a trailblazer and a pioneer. To watch those two people do so much for everyone, to have the humility to serve. Their example ... at the end of the day, I feel my deeds are more important than my fame."
Alfonso Cuaron.Mario Anzuoni / Today

Alfonso Cuaron, best director, 'Gravity'

  • How does it feel having two Oscars in hand right now? "Balanced!"
  • On how he doesn’t think enough praise went to Sandra Bullock for her performance: "Under the conditions she was performing, the relationship we had as actor/director was as if we were sitting in a dinner table. There were no obstacles around all the physicality, the strain, the complicated amount of cues and the make believe that was required on her part. She had to serve absolutely everything. Sandra’s amazing."

Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho, best animated feature film, 'Frozen'

  • Jennifer Lee, on the biggest reward from 'Frozen's' success and its message about true love: "People are relating to the characters from any part of the world and all types of families, and that’s been huge for us. We love all the interpretations of our characters. That’s the greatest thing you could do as a filmmaker."
Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.Paul Buck / Today

Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, best original song, 'Let it Go'

  • Robert, on the inspiration behind the song: "We thought of our girls. We have two girls just like Elsa and Anna, and we wanted to instill in them that shame and fear should not prevent them from being the magical people they really are."
John Ridley.Mario Anzuoni / Today

John Ridley, best adapted screenplay, '12 Years a Slave'

  • What do you think of the fact that Solomon Northup's book is now a bestseller and it’s on school curricula? "I want to be very clear about something. Before I started this project I didn’t know Solomon’s name, I don’t know his story or anything about his life. The fact that it’s out there in the public domain and people choose to pay their money, that means the world to me. Our hope and desire was to entertain, but if you can inspire people, I think about the movies and stories that inspired me, that is so special. It makes a difference when people choose with their pocketbooks."
Spike Jonze.Jordan Strauss / Today

Spike Jonze, best original screenplay, 'Her'

  • On normally being known as a director, and now being a writer: "I don’t think I could have written a screenplay when I was younger. I think it took me a long time to learn how to write. Now, I feel like I’m ready to write what’s in my heart and what I have to say. That’s what this chapter of my life is gonna be."
  • On what he was trying to do with the movie: "I wanted to use the future as a heightened version of the world we live in now; we don't get lost but there's loneliness."

Morgan Neville, best documentary feature, 'Twenty Feet From Stardom'

  • On the fact that backup singer Darlene Love broke into song accepting the award: "They sing all the time. That’s how they express joy. I just had the biggest goosebumps."