The irony of Cuba Gooding Jr.’s montage of jumpin’, jammin’ thank-yous was that the only name — includ-ing God — he omitted was his agent — any of his agents.
“If there is anyone who wasn’t thanked by Cuba, please give their names, he’s waiting backstage,” said emcee Billy Crystal.
The reps, in fact, conspicuously received the least number of thank-yous, only three, compared to multiple kudos to the filmmakers, families, friends and crews.
Leading the charge for most kudos was spouses/significant others and crews, with 16 each. Barely trailing was Saul Zaentz and the other producers, with 15, as well as the directors rolling in with 14 mentions.
The Academy — which won the kudos race last year with 19 nods — only tallied 12 acknowledgments this time.
Like last year’s kudos, which saw moms outdo dads by eight to four, this year mothers edged fathers six to five. Kids improved their presence, with sons getting thanked 11 times and daughters eight.
Some visual effects insiders remarked about the failure of the “Independence Day” team to thank Tricia Ashford, who, as the pic’s digital visual supervisor, carried a large part of the work. She was not included among the nomi-nees, producers said, because Academy rules limit the number of recipients to four for each award.
One of the evening’s most gracious acceptance speeches was also arguably the evening’s biggest surprise.
“It’s true I didn’t prepare anything,” said best supporting actress winner Juliette Binoche, who thanked only An-thony Minghella, her director on “The English Patient. “I thought Lauren (Bacall) was going to get it — and I think she deserves it,” Binoche added to a round of cheers from Academy members.
Speaking of applause, there were eight standing ovations, including standing O’s for Crystal, Michael Kidd, Mu-hammad Ali, Geoffrey Rush, Minghella, Zaentz, Billy Bob Thornton and Frances McDormand.
Next year’s winners: Please take a cue from this year’s model thank-you by Jessica Yu, producer of the best short documentary “Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien.”
Her concise speech was generous and refreshing, particularly her final words:
“But my deepest thanks must go to Mark O’Brien,” said Yu, referring to the film’s subject. “Mark hates to be called ‘brave’ or ‘courageous’ because he has never wanted to be seen as a hero, but more importantly as a human being. Well, it was not your bravery but your humanity that earned this award.”