Binoche as surprised as everybody else

When Juliette Binoche won the Oscar for best supporting actress for her role in “The English Patient,” there was an audible gasp of surprise from both the Academy attendees and the print journalists gathered backstage.

The Academy members’ choice was a surprise upset, with the sentimental favorite to win being Lauren Bacall for her role as Barbra Streisand’s mother in Columbia Pictures’ “The Mirror Has Two Faces.”

Both onstage and backstage, Binoche honored Bacall. “All of us, we were sure she was going to get this. I hope she gets an Oscar next year, because she really deserves it,” said Binoche backstage after the applause died down from the journalists. Asked if the win was bittersweet because Bacall didn’t win, she shrugged her shoulders and said, “I don’t know why I got this. It’s not my fault.

“It feels like a dream still. It feels unreal. I thought I was going to get the Oscar of chocolate Miramax gave us,” she laughed. Binoche, whose English was only slightly accented, said that she started learning English with the film “Lovers on the Bridge” and it took her two years to learn the language well. She answered questions in both English and French.

Asked for words of wisdom to pass on to other generations of actresses, she said: “The real success is not this one. The real success is achieving what you want to do, what is inside of you.”

(Ted Johnson contributed to this report.)

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