- Thrilled to see Dustin Lance Black and Sean Penn win Oscars for "Milk". I thought that Lance gave the best acceptance speech of the night. It is hard to carry a political message to that stage, and he did it with grace and eloquence and a personal touch.
- Was it just me, or did the "In Memorium" section feel too full of loss this year, with so many giants no longer with us? Of course it was moving for me to see three of my mentors flicker by in brief images recalling their careers; Ned Tanen, Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack. Pollack got a rousing response from the crowd, and they found some really beautiful footage I had never seen before of a young Anthony - it felt like a home movie, and captured his joyous spirit wonderfully.
- I remember when Minghella first got the rights to "The Reader"; it feels like it must have been almost 10 years ago. When we were in pre-production on Tom Tykwer's film "Heaven" we had dinner in Berlin with Tom and a number of his colleagues at X-Filme who were complaining that the film should be directed by a German. Anthony loved the book and hung on to it for years, but in the end he handed off the directing chores to his English colleague Stephen Daldry. Somewhere in that transition, which happened after I had left Mirage, the casting changed as well, as Minghella had long planned to make the film with his "The English Patient" co-star Juliette Binoche. Daldry cast his "The Hours" star Nicole Kidman and started filming the movie on location in Berlin with her in the lead. But the film ran into delays and other production problems and then when Kidman got pregnant, she was unable to complete the film. Daldry had to re-cast and reshoot, and Kate Winslet got the role, and tonight she won the Oscar, with Nicole on stage as one of the five presenters. It's funny to imagine how Binoche or Kidman might have played that character, but Winslet's memorable characterization is now the one immortalized.
- The whole evening was a celebration of multi-culturalism with the triumph of Slumdog Millionaire, but I loved the Japanese guy who quoted Styx in his acceptance speech: ("Dōmo arigatō, Mr. Roboto")!!!