"The Hurt Locker" may have been the big winner at the Kodak Theatre on Sunday night, but there's another set of awards you won't hear about in all the post-Oscar wrap-ups: the prizes for the most notable speeches. With that in mind, we present the best, worst and most unusual addresses of the evening, both onstage and in the backstage interview room, in the Los Angeles Times' first-ever Speechie Awards.
The Waterboard-the Metaphor Award
Winner: Christoph Waltz
Waltz has made acceptance speeches an art form, building elaborate poems out of the name of the prize he is receiving. At the Kodak, he didn't riff off "academy" or "Oscar." But he rode the metaphors further than a wild bronco.
"I always wanted to discover some new continent, and I thought I had to go this way, and then I was introduced to Quentin Tarantino, who was putting together an expedition that was equipped by Harvey Weinstein and Lawrence Bender and David Linde." But he wasn't done with the Vasco da Gama talk. "Quentin, with his unorthodox methods of navigation, this fearless explorer, took this ship across and brought it in with flying colors."
The 'Thank-You Cam? What Thank-You Cam?' Award
Winner: Jeff Bridges
There may be someone in Hollywood who didn't get a shout-out in the lead actor's onstage acceptance speech, but we've yet to find him. He seemed to thank everyone from his makeup artist to his agent to his housekeeper.
"I want to thank Scott Cooper, our wonderful director . . . And thank you for assembling such a wonderful cast: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin, wherever he is backstage, and Bobby Duvall, so wonderful . . . I want to thank Barry Markowitz, our wonderful D.P. . . . Judy Cairo, our producer . . . T Bone Burnett and Stephen Bruton . . . My wonderful team that's kept me together: Jean Sievers, David Schiff, Rick Kurtzman, CAA, Bob Wallerstein, Loyd Catlett, Tarra Day and Roger Love, man."
The 'Let's Get Activist in Our Tuxedos' Award
Winner: "The Cove" filmmakers
We knew when "The Cove" star Ric O'Barry held up a save-the-dolphins sign that the backstage talk would be technical and political. Director Louie Psihoyos did not disappoint. "Every single bit of dolphin meat tested is over the provisional limit . . . The biggest thing will be when dolphins are no longer slaughtered for meat . . . If people take action, [they] can solve this problem."
The All-Choked Up Award, sponsored by Kleenex:
Several winners cried Sunday night, but none was as earnest as Fletcher, the surprise winner of the adapted screenplay Oscar for "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire."
"I don't know what to say," he said, tearfully. "This is for everybody who works on a dream everyday -- precious boys and girls everywhere . . . My role models, my heroes, Buddy and Ty. My mother, Betty, angel of my world. My father, Alphonse, he spent so much time with us and taught us everything. I'm sorry I'm drawing a blank right now but, uh, I thank everyone."
The 'Scott Brown Award' for Running Against the Media
Onstage, the supporting actress winner said she was grateful that the Oscars "can be about the performance and not the politics."
Backstage, however, she had pointed words for the media: "Through this journey and process -- and I'm sure some of you are sitting in this room right now -- some journalists wrote, some reporters wrote, 'Someone needs to teach Mo'Nique a lesson; someone needs to tell her how this game is played.' And I am very proud to be part of an academy that says, 'We will not play that game. We will judge her on her performance and not how many dinners she attended and how many pictures she took. . . .' This academy said, 'We won't play the game that the media wants to so readily put out there.' "
The 'News at 11' Award for biggest promotional tease
Winner: Sandra Bullock
Bullock has some great stories to tell. She just doesn't necessarily want to tell them to us.
The lead actress' line from the Kodak stage about an incident involving George Clooney and a pool naturally prompted some reporter questions backstage. But the actress wasn't feeling inclined to elaborate.
" Tom Cruise was involved in that, as well. And I told them one day [I'd tell it] in a very public forum. And then I saw George and he looked so tired and I saw his little eyes and I thought I couldn't do that to him. Ask George about that."
Bullock also playfully deflected a question about what her husband, Jesse James, whispered in her ear just as she won. "You expect me to tell you that?" she demurred. "But bless your heart for trying."
Tears, peers, a few jeers
After all the that talk both onstage and off, meet the evening's winners of the Speechie Awards.
Jeff Bridges (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)