Stars sound off on Oscar wins: Jennifer Lawrence, Daniel Day-Lewis speak about roles

LOS ANGELES - Jennifer Lawrence was excited and in a joking mood after winning the Oscar for best actress for her role as Bradley Cooper's love interest in "Silver Linings Playbook."

"This isn't like an auction, right?" Lawrence said in response to reporters holding up numbers in the backstage press room at the Dolby Theatre in hopes of being called on for questions.

"You guys aren't going to take it away?" she said of her golden statuette.

But the 22-year-old struck one serious note, saying she hoped "Silver Linings Playbook" would help erase the stigma around mental illness.

"If you have asthma, you take asthma medication ... as soon as you have to take medication for mental illness there's a stigma," Lawrence said.

The film and its writer/director, David O. Russell, have been praised for raising awareness of mental illness and the struggles of people coping with it.

Lawrence, a Louisville native who broke into show business on "The Bill Engvall Show" and received her first Oscar nomination for 2010's "Winter's Bone," said preparing for Oscar night was "chaotic."

"I felt like Steve Martin in `Father of the Bride,"' she said.

But backstage, the actress -- who also appeared as Katniss Everdeen in this year's blockbuster hit "The Hunger Games" -- was completely relaxed and surprisingly candid.

"I'm sorry, I did a shot before (coming backstage)," she said, laughing.

Asked what happened when she fell on her way to the stage, the actress joked, "Was it on purpose?


"What do you mean what happened? Look at my dress," she said, referring to her white, Cinderella-like Dior gown. "I think they waxed the stairs and then I stepped on my dress."

Describing what she thought when she fell, she said, "A bad word that ... starts with F."

She gave kudos to first-time Oscar host Seth MacFarlane.

"I loved the boob song," she said. "I thought he was great. I thought he was hilarious."

Daniel Day-Lewis talks about Lincoln role

Even for a man who now has three Oscars to put on his mantel, the large shadow cast by Abraham Lincoln was a daunting one, says best actor winner Daniel Day-Lewis.

Portraying the former president "had a paralyzing effect," Day-Lewis said of the challenge of playing a venerated historical figure such as America's 16th president. "I think I need to have a lie-down for the next couple of years."

Although admittedly burdened by the weight of the Lincoln role, Day- Lewis was light-hearted when asked backstage Sunday night at the Dolby Theatre if his penchant for adopting his characters' traits full-time during filming had led him to remain in the Lincoln character.

"I'm definitely out of character at this point. But if I slip back into it, you can do an intervention or do the Heimlich maneuver or whatever you do with actors," the 55-year-old actor quipped.

The first-ever three-time best actor winner -- his previously wins came in 1989 for "My Left Foot" and 2007 for "There Will Be Blood" -- also drew laughs when asked if it was difficult for him to wear a heavy beard during the filming of "Lincoln."

"How do you wear your hair?" he fired back at the questioner.

Christoph Watz shocked by supporting actor win

Best supporting actor Oscar winner Christoph Waltz was as surprised as anyone that he won for his role as Dr. King Schultz in Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained."

When asked backstage Sunday night if he was shocked when his name was called, Waltz said: "I still am. That's why my answers are somewhat incoherent. I was on a list with some of the greatest actors around."

He was referring to competitors Robert De Niro ("Silver Linings Playbook"), Philip Seymour Hoffman ("The Master"), Tommy Lee Jones ("Lincoln") and Alan Arkin ("Argo"), who -- along with Waltz -- have seven Oscars and 21 nominations among them.

Waltz spent years in relative anonymity, acting primarily in German films before he was noticed by "Django" director Quentin Tarantino, who previously cast the Austrian actor in "Inglourious Basterds," for which he won his first Oscar in a supporting role in 2009.

"Quentin writes poetry and I like poetry," Waltz said. "When I read the script for the first time, I realized it was something special in the making."

Waltz demurred when asked if his two consecutive Oscars under Tarantino's tutelage have emboldened him to approach the offbeat director about a possible third role in the near future.

"This is only about seven minutes old, so somehow I forgot to capture the moment to tell Quentin I was around," he said.

"Django" is the highest-grossing western in Hollywood history, but Waltz was unwilling to offer insight on financial matters.

"I'm just an actor, not an accountant," he said.

Anne Hathaway still claims underdog status

Despite her new designation as an Oscar-winning actress, Anne Hathaway is unwilling to give up her claim to underdog status in Hollywood.

 "Officially, never. I'm an actor, man. This is spectacular, but if you want to get realistic with it, you're always looking for the next job," Hathaway said backstage after winning best supporting actress honors for "Les Miserables."

No matter what has just happened, performers "always feel, `No one's ever going to hire me again,"' Hathaway said. So while Sunday night she was able to "feel the respect of my peers," she's sticking with the actor's mantra of "gotta work, gotta work, gotta work."

Hathaway credited Hugh Jackman -- who played Jean Valjean to Hathaway's Fantine -- as "our rock and our inspiration" on the set of the period musical.

"(Director) Tom Hooper has gone on record as saying this film wouldn't have happened if Hugh Jackman didn't exist," Hathaway said, citing Jackman's "magical alien combination of strength and heart and soul and artistry and fun."

"We do live in a world that can tend toward the cynical ...," she said. "It's inherent to the film's success that you believe in the central character's goodness ... (Jackman) has that goodness inside him and that made the film soar."

As for watching her own singing in the film, Hathaway said, "All I can hear are all the notes I didn't quite hit."

The musical's focus on "the darkness of life and ... the suffering that human beings inflict on each other" took its toll on the actress during filming. But she said the end result was to make her more compassionate.

"There's a positive to every negative and a negative to every positive," Hathaway said, waxing philosophical backstage. "Things tip in the scale of the positive."

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