FOXX, FREEMAN, ROCK RULE THE OSCARS: Wrap-up features backstage quotes from winners; Rock’s highlights.

   Madea at the top of the box office; Jamie Foxx and Morgan Freeman taking home Oscars; Regina King in this year’s Stuart Weitzman million dollar Oscar shoes; Puffy and Prince presenting; Beyonce singing not one, not two, but THREE Oscar-nominated songs; Halle earning her first Razzie award – and showing up to accept it!?
   It may have been “Million Dollar Baby’s” day in the sun on paper, but the night, as far as we’re concerned, belonged to Jamie Foxx, who won the best actor Academy Award for his starring performance in “Ray.”  Foxx’s supporting actor nomination for “Collateral” was beaten by Morgan Freeman’s role in “Million Dollar Baby,” which also nabbed golden statues for best picture, best director (Clint Eastwood) and best actress (Hilary Swank).   
  The way things were going, it looked as if “Baby’s” Clint Eastwood might take over the best actor category as well, but it was Jamie Foxx’s name that came out of presenter Charlize Theron’s mouth. When asked backstage the nature of the lengthy whispering between the South African actress and the Terrell, Texas native before he took the podium, Foxx joked: “I said [to her], ‘Can we talk about you and me?’”
   “When you see people like Charlize, like Halle, you see how beautiful they are, but it’s just great to chat with them about the art,” he continued. “Halle was tapping me on my shoulder saying ‘are you ready.’  It’s just great to just be in that league."
   With Halle and Oprah looking on from the audience like proud mamas, Foxx clutched his Oscar and thanked “Ray” director Taylor Hackford, his longtime managers Jamie and Marcus King, his late grandmother Estelle, and his 11-year-old daughter – and Oscar date – Corrine.
   “She said, ‘Dad after this, can we go to the big awards – The Kid’s Choice Awards?’” Jamie told reporters backstage.  “She doesn’t know the significance of it right now, but years from now when she’s talking to her friends, she’ll be like, ‘That night me and my dad…’”
    Foxx joins Denzel Washington and the legendary Sidney Poitier as the only African Americans to win a best actor award in Oscar’s 77-year history. During Foxx’s acceptance speech, he thanked Oprah for introducing him to Poitier.
    "He said, ‘I give you responsibility.’ So I’m taking that responsibility tonight.’ Thanks Sidney,” Foxx said, in his best Poitier impression.
    Foxx also provided the night’s most emotional moment when he talked about his grandmother who raised him.  Tears began to well when he spoke of her being his first acting coach.
    She taught him to "stand up straight, put your shoulders straight, and act like you got some sense," he said, adding that sometimes she talks to him in his dreams. "I can’t wait to go to sleep tonight because we got a lot to talk about," Foxx said.
    Meanwhile, three-time Oscar nominee Morgan Freeman, 67, said his first-ever win is “kind of tricky.”
    “After ‘Driving Miss Daisy,’ I became philosophical about the Oscar,” he told reporters back stage. “It occurred to me that winning the nomination is probably the height for me and after that its’ pretty arbitrary. How can any of us be best? But when they call your name, all that goes out the window.”
    Foxx and Freeman’s one-two punch marked only the second time in Oscar history that blacks earned two of the four acting awards, following Denzel Washington and Halle Berry’s lead-acting wins for "Training Day" and "Monster’s Ball."
    Peppered throughout Sunday’s ceremony were Beyonce’s performances of the Oscar nominated songs, which included the French number "Vois Sur Ton Chemin" from the film “Les Choristes,” “Learn To Be Lonely” from “The Phantom of the Opera,” and  “Believe,” a duet with Josh Groban from “The Polar Express.” Diana Ross-like outfit changes accompanied each performance, and her man Jay-Z soaked in each moment from the audience.
    And where do we begin with Chris Rock?
    The comedian came out to a standing ovation, then quickly began slinging stingers toward Hollywood’s elite. He joked about seeing films that made him think the starring actors needed money.  After seeing Cuba Gooding Jr. in “Boat Trip,” Rock said he sent the actor a check for $80.
    In another bit urging filmmakers to wait for better talent instead of rushing bad movies into theaters, Rock said:
    "Clint Eastwood’s a star, ok? Tobey Maguire’s just a boy in tights. You want Tom Cruise and all you can get is Jude Law? Wait. You want Russell Crowe and all you can get is Colin Farrell? Wait. ‘Alexander’ is not ‘Gladiator.’ You want Denzel and all you can get is me? Wait. Denzel’s a fine actor. He woulda never made ‘Pootie Tang.’"
    Some two hours after that joke, Sean Penn took the stage to present the award for best actress, but first took time out to defend Jude Law as “one of our finest actors.” 
    After the commercial break, Rock immediately addressed Penn’s comment, stating: “Sean Penn, my accountant wants to see you,” referring to the earlier joke about sending $80 checks to actors. After the ceremony, Rock was asked what he thought was his best line of the night.
   "I don’t know, my jokes are like my children,” he said. “I liked the Sean Penn comeback."
   This Oscar ceremony was the best year ever for African Americans, who earned a record five of 20 acting nominations, including the two for Foxx. Don Cheadle was nominated as best actor and Sophie Okonedo as best supporting actress for "Hotel Rwanda."
   It means that Hollywood is continuing to make history," Freeman said backstage. "We’re evolving with the rest of the world."
   Chris Rock’s take on the presence of African Americans in the Kodak Theater Sunday night? 
  “It always feels good to see some color in the room that don’t have mops.”

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