Oscars 2015: The master of ceremonies is also the King of Schmooze

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  • Updated: Feb 23, 2015 10:00 IST

The master of ceremonies
Neil Patrick Harris isn't just the Oscars' master of ceremonies. He's also the king of schmooze. During a single commercial break, Harris checked in with Octavia Spencer to make sure she was keeping an eye on his locked-down Academy Award picks, smooched husband David Burtka near his fifth row seat, chatted with Selma stars Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo and embraced his Gone Girl co-star Rosamund Pike. Harris managed to accomplish all that and be back on stage in time to introduce Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

This speech will never end
Try to play Pawel Pawlikowski off stage, will you? Forget about it. The director, accepting the Oscar for best foreign film for Ida, mumbled something about ending his acceptance speech when the music that was his cue to wrap it up started playing. Then he just kept talking until the orchestra finally gave up and stopped playing. Among those he thanked as the audience cheered were his late wife and parents, his children and his film crew, "who were in the trenches with us and who are totally drunk now."

The best Oscar bets


Julianne Moore with her husband at the Oscar Red Carpet. (AFP)
If you were a betting man or woman with a penchant for offshore wagering, the Oscar odds would be ever in your favor if you backed Julianne Moore for best actress, J.K. Simmons (best supporting actor) and Patricia Arquette (best supporting actress). That's based on wagers from UK sports book William Hill. But don't expect a fortune. The three were such front-runners that a $100 bet would only win you a dollar. Biggest longshot? Steve Carell for best actor in Foxcatcher. If he wins, a $100 bet would pay off with a $20,100 return.

Quick quote: Margot Robbie

"The most important thing is to have a ginormous team of professionals making you look beautiful" - actress Margot Robbie on what it takes to look great on the Oscars red carpet.

Question of continuity


Ethan Hawke, who played the father in Boyhood. (AFP)

Ethan Hawke, who played the father in Boyhood, said he was stunned by "the reality of what's happened with this movie." It was shot over 12 years with the same cast growing older in real time and was nominated for six Oscars, including best film. "This movie started as a dream 12 years ago," he said on the Oscar red carpet. "What if? What if? It seemed so ludicrous. "The biggest challenge is figuring out how to make the people have a continuity to them so they're changing but they don't seem like different people," he said of playing the same character over 12 years.

Quick quote: Reese Witherspoon

"About two years ago I got frustrated with what I was seeing coming down the pipeline. I decided I would read some books and bring stronger leading roles (for women) to the screen." Reese Witherspoon on why she started her own production company and made Gone Girl and Wild.

Unselfish selfie

Ellen DeGeneres may have taken the selfie of all selfies at last year's Oscar show. But this year's Reese Witherspoon snaps were the hit of the red carpet fan bleachers.

In an off-shoulder black and silvery grey gown, Witherspoon took grinning photos of herself in front of the bleachers as fans whooped with delight. "Wow, she's so awesome," yelled Andressa Weber, in town from Miami.

Daughter and dad

It was a father-daughter date for the Oscars: Laura Dern, nominated for her performance as the free-spirited dying mother in "Wild," came with her dad, Bruce Dern. "Amazingly I've never come without one of my parents, both as a nominee and as a child supporting them," said the best supporting actress nominee. "It's very beautiful to share the history of film and the Academy along with my family." Her mother is Diane Ladd.

Said her father: "I can't be prouder. She started when she was 9. She wanted to know what was the drill. I said, 'You gotta learn how to dance and take risks.'" In Wild, Dern's daughter is portrayed by Reese Witherspoon, who was nominated for best actress. "I'm proud to (be among) two of the 47 women nominated tonight," Dern said. "May we see that number double."

First to find his seat


The award for first celebrity to take his seat inside the Dolby Theatre goes to Terrence Howard. The actor, accompanied by his wife, was the first famous face to scope out the Oscar venue ahead oThe bestf Sunday's show. He was followed closely by Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, who immediately walked over to greet the star of the TV series "Empire."

Howard didn't stay put for long. An usher came over to inform the actor that no glass was allowed in the theater and he'd have to dispose of his drink. He quickly headed to the lobby to do so.

Diversity in every way

David Oyelowo says it's not just the Academy Awards that need diversifying. "Every facet of life, whether institutions or the nation in general, should reflect what society is composed of, not just racially, but in terms of sex, women, young, old," the star of Selma said on the Oscar red carpet. Although Selma was nominated for best movie, Oyelowo, who played Martin Luther King Jr in the film, was passed over, something many considered a snub.

Looking for some laughs

Marion Cotillard, nominated for best actress for her emotional portrayal of a woman struggling with depression in Two Days, One Night, says she'd actually like to start doing comedy. "I hope we're going to see more of me in comedies," she said on the Oscar red carpet. "I wish I can find my way into comedies. Sometimes it's hard to live with dark ... characters all the time." She added that she didn't see the movie as just a woman's story, although it relates the struggles her character faces to hold onto her factory job.

"She's a woman, but I don't think it's just a struggle of a woman," she said. "Men and women can face the absurdity of our society's choosing money over human people."

Quick quote: J. K. Simmons

"People who are from foul weather climates know how to dress for the weather" - J.K. Simmons, who grew up in the Midwest and West, sporting a black fedora as rain poured during the red carpet portion of the Oscars.

Craving attention

The first to arrive on the Oscar red carpet are likely to be a small army of publicists trying frantically to draw attention to their not-really-famous actor clients. Some will hold up signs with a nominee's name and a list of film credits to help those reporters thinking to themselves, "That guy looks familiar, but ... " Sometimes they are turned away with a curt nod by a reporter or producer and they'll fade into the crowd. Moments later they'll be back, looking for another media pack to pitch.

Quick quote: Andy Samberg

"It's like losing your virginity, you gotta goof it." - Andy Samberg about his appearance at the Oscars performing Everything is Awesome from The LEGO Movie.

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