Look out! Here comes a sound bite!

Being at the Academy Awards has a strange effect on the attendees. Some are moved to eloquence, some to idiocy, while others become just plain insufferable.

Published March 27, 2000 3:00PM (EST)

If you like your Oscars well done, hold the cheese -- last night was for you.

There were no streakers, no shocking political diatribes, no Sally Field moments (unless you count the commercials), no "king of the world" declarations and no Debbie Allen dance routines to ridicule.

Celine Dion didn't show up in a backward dress. (In fact, she didn't show up at all.) Gwyneth Paltrow didn't cry. Cher displayed precious little flesh. Roberto Benigni even seemed to have mastered English and to have remembered to take his lithium.

Oddly enough, after all this time, Oscar has learned, if not to stay within his allotted time, at least to stick to his script. When you get excited about Jane Fonda saying, "It is my privilege to prevent ... to present this Oscar," you know you're hard up for a non-teleprompted moment.

Nevertheless, a few choice quotes managed to add a hint of texture to an otherwise super-slick affair. So here, without further ado, are the best on-air celebrity quotes of Oscar night 2000:

"Are you saying I was nominated because I've got a good ass -- is that what you're saying? Maybe the Wall Street Journal should do another poll about that." -- Kevin Spacey, getting frisky in his red-carpet interview.

"Despite what the Wall Street Journal says, our awards are the best-kept secret in America, with the possible exception of what George W. Bush did in the '70s." -- Billy Crystal.

"I had this dress made, and I'm sure I'll hear about it tomorrow." -- Drew Barrymore to fellow presenters Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu.

"We agree sometimes on politics. He's not as conservative as you think." -- Maria Shriver on hubby Arnold Schwarzenegger before the show.

"If you're like Kevin Spacey, you call your friends pretending to be Marlon Brando and then laugh at them when they get all excited." -- Edward Norton, poking at the best actor.

"'The Straight Story' ... is the story of Dr. Laura Schlessinger. She couldn't be here tonight because she couldn't get anyone in town to do her hair and makeup." -- Billy Crystal.

"Like ... like ... like ... like ... like ..." -- Cameron Diaz, showing her Valley Girl roots while giggling with Tyra Banks before the ceremony.

"I never saw the Oscars until I became an actor." -- Tom Cruise.

"They searched Erykah Badu's hat and they found one of the missing Oscars." -- Billy Crystal.

"Sam Mendes said to me, 'Don't you ever have any unusual thoughts yourself, Conrad, about 16-year-old girls your daughter brings home?' And I thought, 'Oh, well.'" -- Best cinematographer Conrad L. Hall on getting over his fears that no one would sympathize with the characters in "American Beauty."

"Uh ... I don't know." -- Salma Hayek on what Tyra Banks termed her "secret to being so hot."

"Because of the dignity of the occasion, Annette Bening's condition and the age of the recipient, there will be no sex jokes." -- Jack Nicholson, paying sly tribute to Warren Beatty.

"You gotta pick one. They'll never believe both." -- Warren Beatty on stretching believability's bounds by winning the Irving Thalberg Award on the very night he and Bening were due to have their fourth child.

"It's wonderful to look out on this elegant crowd and realize you're all alive." -- Haley Joel Osment on not seeing dead people.

"I'm so in love with my brother right now." -- Angelina Jolie, showing some emotion as she scooped up the award for best supporting actress.

"Well, you must be trying to get me to reconsider my day job." -- John Irving on winning the best adapted screenplay award for "The Cider House Rules."

"I wish I possessed a tail. I could wag to be here." -- Roberto Benigni, presenting the best actor award, doggy style.

"Tom Cruise, if you'd won this, your price would have gone down so fast. Have you any idea how much supporting actors get paid?" -- Michael Caine on edging out Cruise as best supporting actor.

"Damn this dress. Don't pay any attention to what's going on below my knees." -- Cher, after tripping on her train.

"This is the highlight of my day. I hope it's not all downhill from here." -- Kevin Spacey on winning best actor.

"Mom ... It looks like living out of our car was worth it." -- Hilary Swank, accepting her best actress award.

"He makes Benigni look like an English teacher." -- Billy Crystal on director Pedro Almodsvar, winner for best foreign-language film.

By Amy Reiter

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Arnold Schwarzenegger George W. Bush Tom Cruise Tyra Banks