Tonight we celebrate Hollywood’s best and whitest, sorry… brightest。
At one stage, it seemed as if the movie was going to be a
traditional(ish) love story – Hank finds Manny, who helps guide him
towards the woman he adores. But as it went on, it became apparent that
it was something quite different – more about the relationship between
the two male characters, and about loneliness. Was that always your
Graham Moore’s ode to individuality:
Washed up on a deserted shore, Radcliffe’s corpse, Manny, comes into the
life of Hank (Paul Dano) at a crucial moment: the lonely shipwreck
survivor is about to kill himself. After Hank realises that he can use
Manny’s gas-propelled body as a jet ski to escape the island, he decides
to keep him around – and a tentative friendship between the two forms,
as Radcliffe’s character slowly becomes more “alive”, regaining the
power of speech.
Julie Andrews on the Sound of Music and film scores:
DS: The year has been a rollercoaster. But [we’re happy about] the
fact that this movie has found an audience – that it hasn’t just reached
out to the kind of people who seek out weird cult films.. We wanted our
mums to like it. We wanted people to see it who might not see every
crazy weird movie and be pleasantly surprised by it. And start giving
more weird movies a chance. We could not be happier about the fact that
it’s getting out there, and that the people who like it, love it. It
makes us feel less alone in the universe [laughs].
When I was 16 years old I tried to kill myself because I felt different
and that I didn’t belong. Now I’m here, and I want this moment to be for
that kid who feels weird or different. Stay weird, stay different。
DS: They’re all 100 per cent real. Daniel ate things for breakfast…
DS: Manny was a different person before we met Daniel. Daniel’s such a
sweet, wide-eyed lovely guy, that we were like: “we need to make Manny a
sweet, lovely, wide-eyed guy. If we can capture an ounce of Daniel
Radcliffe in this character, people will love him.”
DK: Because we were so ashamed of this idea, so ashamed that we were
spending time on it, that kind of naturally bled into the film. That was
a very relatable thing, having thoughts or ideas or neuroses that you’re
too afraid to share with the world. In some ways, this movie became
that: something that we were afraid to share with the world. We realised
we could connect those feelings with the feelings of body shame, and put
them all together into a stew of what it means to be human, and what it
means to be alive.
Neil Patrick Harris’s diversity zinger:
DS: That’s a good headline for you!
I think this movie, for some people, needs a second viewing. Even some
journalists say that the first time they watched the film, they were
confused by it, or they hated it. But then the second time they watched,
they were able to understand what was happening and really came around
to it. In the end, this film is meant to change your mind about how you
And so Dan pitched to me: “What if there’s a guy who’s stranded in the
wilderness, who finds a corpse and feeds it beans, and it farts across
the ocean while beautiful music plays and he cries?”
Common and John Legend on Selma and Glory:
I think we made the most immersive fart of all time. I don’t think
there’s ever been a film with a fart that immersive, spread out across
I’m fully aware that I am a lucky, lucky man. This Oscar belongs to all
of those people around the world battling ALS. It belongs to one
exceptional family, and I will be its custodian and I promise you that I
will polish him。
DK: We also knew that this would be known as the farting corpse movie.
So it’s very intentional that 11 minutes into the film, he corks his
butt. People don’t realise that the movie is as tasteful as it is!
If so, the film you’re looking for is Swiss Army Man, the brilliantly
bizarre new movie from first-time feature directors Daniel Kwan and
- John Legend。
Fancy catching a moving, beautifully shot drama about loneliness, shame
and the need for human connection this weekend?
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson:
So, did you show Swiss Army Man to your mums? Did they enjoy it?
DK: No, that’s our kind of gig.
DS: I immediately regretted pitching. I was thinking “Oh no, this is a
Neil Patrick Harris’s Lego snub joke:
But the wonderful thing about both of them is that they loved the
script, but also had wonderful feedback about what they loved, and what
they didn’t understand. And so we actually rewrote the script really
drastically after we met each of them. They inspired the movie, in a lot
of ways. It’s lovely to hear that you can’t imagine anyone else in the
role because we can’t either.
Appearance-wise, too, Manny is a very friendly-looking corpse. How did
you decide how he should look?
Daniel Scheinert: It’s funny. A lot of the time our ideas come from very
circumstantial kind of situations. So when we first started out, making
music videos together, we’d listen to a song, and think “Okay, so which
of our friends can we cast in this? What have we always wanted to do?
What are our resources?”
Laura Poitras’s Citizenfour acceptance speech:
DK: It’s a miracle. We’re just so lucky it worked out the way it did.
We’re huge fans of both of theirs, and we thought they might be right
for the role, and so we asked them to try out for the movie, but you
can’t really know until you put them in the room and they start doing
This next presenter is so lovely you could eat her up with a spoon。
So that was a really interesting turning point – when we let Hank and
Manny fall in love and accidentally made a gay necrophilia movie.
DK: Apparently it’s quite common that five per cent of an audience will
leave during the first 15 minutes of a Sundance film, because buyers and
agents have to see a little bit of each movie. It’s like a business.
It’s a very industry-led weekend. We didn’t see anybody walking out but
apparently it was just the average number of people. But it did make for
a great headline – “people walk out of farting Daniel Radcliffe corpse
movie”. Saying “walk outs at the indie drama about cancer”….that’s not
going to be trending on Twitter.
We round up all this year’s key soundbites, as they’re served up at the
Dolby Theatre in Hollywood。
But then, when Manny farts, it has new meaning, and you’re actually
excited when it happens. Which is so funny to us – to narratively create
a reason for an audience to get pleasure, emotional pleasure, out of
hearing a dead corpse farting again.
Alejandro González Iárritu does bonus backstage funny:
DK: Well, in some ways, we thought we were making a more conventional
guy trying to get back to his girl story. But the more drafts we wrote,
the more we realised… it sounds stupid when writers say “I listening to
my character”, but that’s how it ended up happening. We could tell that
Hank and Manny needed each other more than Hank and Sarah ever did. We
just kept rewriting and rewriting, until we allowed them to fall in
love. And once we allowed ourselves to write that, that story really
started to grow and blossom into something worthwhile.
DS: My mum loved it the first time she saw it, and she cried at the end,
which was our goal – to make someone cry with a fart. And then Dan
Kwan’s mum – she loved the music, and liked parts of it, and then
started listing off what she didn’t like.
The movie has gone down really well with a lot of critics. But when it
premiered at Sundance, there were reports of people walking out in
disgust. Did that really happen?
Once it turned into a buddy film – that when we really fell in love with
the idea and started devoting time to it. But that was a few years
Radcliffe and Dano were great – it feels impossible, now, to imagine
anyone else in the roles. But how did you go about casting them? Did you
look at Radcliffe and think “yep, that’s our corpse”?
It must have felt good, after making something so strange and personal,
to see how well it’s been received by so many people?
DS: The moral of the story that we came up with – because every great
story needs a moral – was that shame keeps us from love. It gave us
permission to go down these deep, philosophical routes. And talk about
farts. They’re the most ridiculous thing in the world to be ashamed of.
Literally every human and every animal farts.
Another thing I really liked about the movie was just how well the
casting worked. Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano… is it “Danno” or
We wrote this film for events that happened 50 years ago but we say that
Selma is now. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world.
There are more black men incarcerated today than were in slavery in
DK: It kind of became a recurring joke. The joke was that it was the
worst idea we’d ever come up with. We’d never make that and put it in
theatres across the world… And then it kind of grew. We started coming
up with more of a story. And we though, what if we took that really
stupid idea and poured our hearts into it?
I can’t believe 50 years have gone by since that film was released. I
blinked and suddenly here I am. We all really felt blessed and as for
me; how lucky can a girl get. Great music does more than enhance a film,
it cements our memories in the film going experience。
DS: Because we started with a fart joke, no matter how far we went on
it, we’d always come back to “wait, but why does this movie start with a
man riding a farting corpse?” That had to be central and integral to the
film. And it took us a while to kind of find the movie.
Also want the movie to be very, very funny? And to preferably feature a
flatulent corpse with a love-guided compass erection, played by former
boy wizard Daniel Radcliffe?
Neil Patrick Harris’s Reese Witherspoon joke:
Why did you decide to make a movie about a farting corpse? Where did
that idea come from?
We caught up with the directors behind Swiss Army Man – who are
credited, collectively, as “Daniels” – to find out how they made this
year’s strangest movie.
But no, they were added in post. It was hilarious how hard we worked to
find sounds that we could all agree on. It was so important to us that
they feel…not like Looney Toons farts? And that it not feel like someone
on YouTube just added fart sounds to a Terence Malick film.
ca88，DK: It was a balance where we wanted him to look dead, but likable, and
it was important that he not just start to turn into a zombie or look to
crazy. Luckily for us, Daniel has pretty corpse-like features to begin
with, so we just augmented them a bit. He’s got quite a sharp jaw…and we
just took the veins in his neck and made them stand out…
DS: I guess there were certain scenes where we did want it to feel like
someone on YouTube just added fart sounds to a Terence Malick film. But
yeah, it was a big part of the process, and when we were mixing the film
on a sound stage, there were certain scenes where there were 16 separate
tracks of farts, all simultaneous.
Sound is so crucial to the film – the music, of course, but also the
farting noises. Were the latter all added in post production, or did you
improvise any on set?
DS: Years ago, in 2011, we were going to Alabama, where I’m from, and we
were thinking about shooting a short film. And my parents live in a lake
town in North Alabama, and we knew that my best friend growing up had a
boat there, so maybe we could shoot off the boat, and there’s a big
DS: It’s like an empathy game. We try to make you think you should hate
it, then make you like it, so you revaluate your prejudices. But that’s
a lot to ask in 90 minutes!
Swiss Army Man directors: how we accidentally made a gay necrophilia
DK: It’s “Dayno”. But he didn’t tell us that till after we were done
with the movie. Literally, we worked with him a year and a half before
he corrected us.
Recently, John and I got to go to Selma and perform it on the same
bridge that Martin Luther King walked over. Once a landmark of a divided
nation, the spirit of this bridge now for all people regardless of race,
gender, sexual orientation or social status. This bridge was built on
hope and welded with compassion. Common
Daniel Kwan: There’s not ever any money so you have to be really smart
about what you’re going to do.
Julianne Moore goes funny:
DS: It was just irresponsible journalism. People reading things on
Twitter, and letting the sensationalism drag the story down.
It is indeed! Bodily functions – the farting, obviously – feel very
central to Swiss Army Man, while the idea that we’re all constantly
ashamed, and hiding ourselves, sort of forms the emotional heart of the
film. Was this also something you worked out through the writing
We don’t stand here alone, it’s possible through the great organisations
that support us. The disclosures that Edward Snowden revealed aren’t
only a threat to privacy but to democracy, when the most important
decisions made affect all of us. Thank you to Edward Snowden. I share
this with Glenn Greenwald and other journalists who are exposing truth。
DK: My mum’s very Chinese. She’s a harsh critic of our work, always. She
watched it the first time, and was like “I’ve got some notes on the
first half…” But the second time she watched it, she loved it, and I
think understood what we were going for. She found it very moving, which
was kind of great.
The subject of Citizenfour, Edward Snowden, could not be here for some
[Before introducing the nominees for best animated film] If you’re at
the awards party with the guys who made the Lego Movie, now would be a
good time to distract them。
Maybe next year the government might impose some immigration rules on
the academy. Two Mexicans in a row is suspicious. [On Mexican
immigrants in the US] I hope they can be treated with respect of the
ones who came before and built this incredible immigrant nation。
I remember crying my eyes out when I watched the end of the Lion King。
Fear is the condom of life. It doesn’t allow you to enjoy things。
Eddie Redmayne goes gracious:
I’ve heard it said that winning an Oscar means you live five years
longer. If that’s true I want to thank the academy because my husband is
younger than me。
Neil Patrick Harris’s Edward Snowden joke:
Alejandro González Iárritu does funny and serious: