Return of the king

Bret McKenzie was so dazzled at the Oscars he doesn't remember the moment the award was handed to him – but the flood of job offers since have left him in no doubt that it's real.

After flying back to Wellington from Los Angeles yesterday, a tired-sounding McKenzie told The Dominion Post he was so overwhelmed when his name was called out that he couldn't remember anything else till he was walking off the stage.

"It was incredible. A friend of mine yesterday was like: `Do you remember going up there?' and when I thought about it, I only remembered the moment they called out my name, and then I remember going off stage.

"It was so much buildup through the nomination, and all month was leading up to this one day. Hannah [Clarke, his wife] and I were sitting there so nervous throughout the ceremony. Then once I got offstage it was an incredible feeling, and from there you are ushered through crowds of people saying congratulations and through photo rooms and a press room ... it's just crazy."

Job offers had flooded in since he won Best Original Song for Man or Muppet, with the awards getting huge exposure in America. After the ceremony he was tossing the 3.8-kilogram, gold-plated statue into the air like a feather, and it was only a couple of days later he wondered how he had been doing it so easily.

"Now that there's less adrenaline in my body I've realised that it's quite heavy. The first thing everyone says is, `Wow, it's really heavy'."

In the Air New Zealand Koru lounge on the way back from Los Angeles, McKenzie passed the Oscar around so everyone could have a hold – which brought to mind The Lord of the Rings, he said.

"It reminded me a little bit of the ring, like everyone wants to touch it and once they did they didn't want to give it back."

At the Oscars, his splay-legged leap on the red carpet was totally spontaneous. "You're standing there and there's heaps of photographers, and everyone is just standing there. I'd done about half an hour of standing there so I got a bit bored and started doing some jumps."

The ensuing photograph, with actress Jane Seymour "working it", in the background and his wife laughing at him, like "what are you doing?", had encapsulated the evening for him, he said.

When he took the job as music supervisor for The Muppets he had no notion he would win an Oscar – and even at the awards ceremony, he was joking that comedies didn't win.

"The whole team were so excited because comedies don't usually get awards from our experience, doing TV shows, and we were joking we usually get nominated but no-one actually wins – so we were all really thrilled.

"It does sort of make you think that anything can happen, you know what I mean – for people who are starting out in the arts. If I can win an Oscar, then anyone can win an Oscar.

I guess I've worked over the years but you know, it felt like an accident." He credited growing up in Wellington for helping him get there. "I've always been really committed to working in the arts, and one thing in Wellington is it's different to America in that there's not a lot of people [audience] and so you do a lot of different disciplines to keep busy.

I played in bands and did shows when I wasn't doing gigs so I was always busy. But there's definitely a lot of luck involved." McKenzie planned to get in some serious relaxing before making any decisions about the future.

"I've been back on and off during the summer, but I haven't really had much of a break so I'm looking forward to catching the end of the New Zealand summer before I make any definite plans."

Wellington