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Joaquin Phoenix tears up backstage, producers explain Eminem

LOS ANGELES – Before stars appear on camera at the Oscars, the scene just offstage is so very human.

True, the scene backstage is as impossibly A-list as it gets, with stunning stars dressed in designer duds, thousand-dollar updos and diamonds the size of marbles. But as the Academy Awards sped from act to act, USA TODAY had a bird’s-eye view in the wings of the show.

That’s where we saw Elton John collecting himself in the moments before his rendition of “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” was broadcast to billions of people around the world. It’s also where an emotional Joaquin Phoenix first took a steadying breath after claiming gold.

What else did we see? From Idina Menzel’s vocal warmups to producers refusing to play off the “Parasite” cast and filmmakers, here are all the best moments that happened steps from the stage.

Joaquin Phoenix took the road to Oscar glory his way:Emotional, empowering and batty

Everyone hits the bathroom (and the bar) after the red carpet

Immediately following the red carpet, stars queue up for one of the two single bathrooms backstage. “Are you in line?” Steve Martin asks a woman waiting for the restroom, before striking up a conversation with Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is dutifully holding wife Vanessa Nadal’s purse. These stars seem well aware that Martin and Chris Rock are opening the show. “Break a leg out there!” Sandra Oh calls out to Martin as she walks by.

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