“It was very serious tonight, it didn’t look like anybody was having much fun, except the winners,” said the actress.
Still, Collins was very pleased to see that fellow British stars Anthony Hopkins and Emerald Fennell had won.
“I was longing for Tony because I’ve known him for a long time,” said Collins about the 83-year-old. “I thought his performance was spectacular.”
As for Fennell, 35, Collins praised the family friend.
“I was utterly thrilled by Emerald Fennell, I’ve known her since she was a little girl,” said Collins. “Her parents are really good friends of mine. She was great, she made a great speech. To get best screenplay when you’re only 35, that’s pretty amazing.”
Collins reminisced about the Oscars in the past and how the star-studded festivities have changed.
“I’ve been lucky enough to go to many and I’ve been on it as well,” Collins explained. “I remember being on it when Jerry Lewis was the MC and we were all waiting in the wings to go on for a final performance.
“And then there were people like Danny Kaye, Paul Newman, a great bunch of stars and Jerry got the call that said they had four minutes to fill and so he went and grabbed all of us and we all had to dance on stage manically. I’ve seen so many of these. I remember Bob Hope, he was hilariously funny, and of course the great Billy Crystal. They made so many jokes.”
Collins also vividly remembered the first time she attended the ceremony.
“When I first went, I was with Joan Crawford… and she made her own dress,” Collins recalled. “I was working with her at the time and she was sewing her dress on the set… Joan made his gorgeous green taffeta dress, made it for under $100.”
Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland,” a wistful portrait of itinerant lives on open roads across the American West, won best picture Sunday at the 93rd Academy Awards, where the China-born Zhao became the first woman of color to win best director and a historically diverse group of winners took home awards.
In the biggest surprise of a socially distanced Oscar ceremony held during the pandemic, best actor went to Hopkins for his performance in the dementia drama “The Father.” The award had been widely expected to go to Chadwick Boseman for his final performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
Hours later, Hopkins made a belated victory speech from his Welsh homeland and paid tribute to Boseman, who he said was “taken from us far too early.”
The most ambitious award show held during the pandemic, the Oscars rolled out a red carpet and tried to restore some glamour to a grim year. For the first time ever, this year’s nominees were overwhelmingly seen in the home during a pandemic year that forced theaters to close and prompted a radical change in Hollywood.
More women and more actors of color were nominated than ever before, and Sunday brought a litany of records and firsts across many categories, spanning everything from hairstyling to composing to acting. It was, some observers said, a sea change for an awards harshly criticized as “OscarsSoWhite” in recent years, leading the film academy to greatly expand membership.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.