From a ticked Spike Lee to Rami Malek's mom: 10 things you didn't see on the Oscars telecast

Queen’s thunderous opening. Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph earning the award for Best Non-Hosts Ever. Spike Lee’s joyous leap into Samuel L. Jackson’s arms. Those were the Oscars highlights you watched on TV. But some of the most compelling viewing took place behind the scenes. Here are the best moments you didn’t see, as observed from our perch inside the Dolby.

1. Speaking of Queen and Adam Lambert’s opening performance, the rollicking rendition of “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” brought down the house. There was lots of energy in the building, and several of Hollywood’s biggest A-listers were singing along. However, not everyone was a big fan of Bohemian Rhapsody. There were scattered boos in the Dolby Lounge downstairs when the film won for Best Editing.

2. “Do not turn that mother****ing clock on!” Those were the bleeped-out words Spike Lee uttered upon winning his first competitive Oscar for writing BlacKkKlansman. The audience roared, and the timekeeper didn’t interfere with Lee’s supersized speech.

3. Meanwhile, Lee was visibly upset when Green Book was named Best Picture at the end of the evening. He tried to leave the theater while the Green Book team was onstage, but was turned around by ushers at the back door. He reluctantly returned to his seat, where he began conversing with BlacKkKlansman producer Jordan Peele, who also declined to applaud the Best Picture winners. Green Book has been a controversial film among critics, for its treatment of race and for drawing comparisons with Driving Miss Daisy. Lee recently said it still stung that his Do the Right Thing was snubbed in the year that Driving Miss Daisy won Best Picture. Backstage afterwards, he told reporters: “I’m snakebit. Every time someone’s driving somebody, I lose. … I thought I was courtside at [Madison Square] Garden and the refs made a bad call.”

Spike Lee holds up brass knuckles reading “hate” and “love” from his iconic film <em>Do the Right Thing</em> as he arrives at the Oscars. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Spike Lee holds up brass knuckles reading “hate” and “love” from his iconic film Do the Right Thing as he arrives at the Oscars. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

4. “Whoa!” “Oh my god.” There were audible gasps of disbelief in the theater when Olivia Colman was announced as the winner for Best Actress over Glenn Close, who many expected to win her first Oscar in seven nominations.

5. Lady Gaga is such a big-time star that it required two seat fillers to shadow her — not in a creepy way, but they were prepared to tag-team for any of the entertainer’s bathroom or bar breaks, or during her performance of “Shallow” with Bradley Cooper, which received rapturous applause in the auditorium. Her win for Best Song also earned a standing ovation

6. What the audience sees during commercial breaks: montages, mostly of winners’ speeches, and themed segments, like winners telling their kids to go to bed. Unlike the Golden Globes, there are no meals served at the Oscars. But you can snack. All the lobbies are lined with tables stocked with assorted cookies and snack mixes. Stars spend much of the evening picking at tables, lined up at the bar or chilling in the Dolby Lounge.

7. Indeed, before she won Best Actress, Olivia Colman was sipping bubbly at the backstage bar and toasting Roma‘s Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar.

8. Crazy Rich Asian‘s Henry Golding followed around his co-star Gemma Chan and helped wrangle her massive bright pink dress, while making sure no one stepped on it.

9. Shameik Moore, who voices a certain wall-crawling hero, had to explain who he was to a couple who clearly had no idea: “I just won an Oscar for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” They took selfies real quick.

10. During his acceptance speech for Best Actor, you might have heard Rami Malek give a shout-out to his mom, Nelly. The TV captures couldn’t find her because she was sitting up in the mezzanine, but she got a standing ovation from those seated nearby.

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