Something about the Oscar atmosphere makes everyone a critic, even the supposedly impartial press. Backstage at Monday's ceremonies, it was clear by the applause greeting the announcement of Oliver Stone as best director that "Platoon" was the favorite of the 200-or-so reporters from around the world.
Cheers greeted the awards to Marlee Matlin and Paul Newman.
The press (dressed in black-tie tuxes and mostly dark gowns--except for Rona Barrett's shockingly low-cut red-and-white number) broke into applause when Bette Davis arrived. Even when the hour grew late and the "Platoon" winners still hadn't arrived to answer questions, the infatuated news folk kept asking Davis questions and she loved answering.
Most revered was Steven Spielberg, who had received the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award. He entered to the accompaniment of applause and was never shaken by some reporters' questions about his acceptance speech, which pleaded the importance of "the word" (literate screenplays) vs. kid fare. It was as if he wasn't the guy who has inundated us with gimmicky images--mostly of the special-effects variety--since "Jaws." Steven the Cool glided through all the questions and sailed away, barely answering queries about an "E.T." sequel, to yet more applause.