Posted by Jill Boniske aka Arty Chick on March 2, 2013
During all my years living in Los Angeles, I never got anywhere near the Academy Awards. I watched at Oscar parties (including one attended by my favorite ♥ George ♥), and I always wondered who all those screaming fans in the bleachers were and how they got to sit there. Now I know. Thank heavens for Mainstream Chick! She entered the lottery online for Academy Awards bleacher seats and won! And I was her lucky +1. So the day of the Oscars, we headed to Hollywood. We were required to be there at 8:30 AM, so as not to disturb anything or anyone, and from our sunny perch we witnessed all the last minute preparations: the red carpet was taped down across Highland Avenue, a multitude of security personnel made sure no one of the uncredentialed variety made it inside the barricades, miles of communications cords were connected, the b-roll shots of the adoring fans (including the Chicks) in the stands and intros for all the news outlets were pre-shot, and then the announcement was made that the carpet had to be cleared and the journalists scurried to their appointed spots lining the celebrity route. And the STARS began to dribble in.
From our vantage point, in the middle of the last bleachers before they went into the theater, it seemed at times like just one big mass of humanity – albeit very well-dressed humanity. The stars were stunning, but the press and the handlers were also dressed to the nines, causing me at times to mistake them for “someone.” The famous (and not yet famous) stopped at the beginning of the carpet for most of the big interviews we see on television, so by the time the celebs got to our portion of the carpet, they were probably getting tired of the same questions about how they felt about their chances and who they were wearing, and some of them seemed to be dashing for the entrance. Charlize Theron did indeed run past, twice! Others were still in interview mode, working their way down the line, stopping before the horde of news outlets all vying for their attention.
In front of our stands, across the vast red sea of carpet Chris Cornell of MTV fame had set up shop flagging down as many of the nominees as possible for short interviews, some of which we could actually hear. They were all gracious. Some funny. Most waved. Sadly, with the vast herd of celebrities, we could not see the full silhouettes of the actresses, and so we had to wait until the broadcast to see the dresses in full.
Many bypassed Cornell and were simply working the carpet, saying hello to old friends and colleagues, strolling slowly towards the theater entrance, and making the most of a warm Southern California evening in front of the cameras. Even without seeing the whole dress there were standouts. Jane Fonda could not be missed. Jennifer Hudson’s sparkles caught the sun. And Jessica Chastain was luminous.
Ben Affleck is one smart guy; he gave props to Harvey Weinstein who produced two of the films he was competing with for Best Picture. And most of the passing celebs took the time to give us a wave and a smile. But Joaquin Phoenix tried to pretend he was invisible behind his dark glasses as he scampered past speaking to no one.
From our vantage point, as the day passed, we would hear the roar of the crowd at the start of the carpet, so we knew when the BIG STARS had arrived. And most (though strangely not all we saw in the actual show) eventually made it down to our end. We would love to know how they got in without going down the carpet (and why Joaquin did not use that entrance.) And then the moment we were all waiting for. It had to have been planned that the last ones on the carpet were the most anticipated. The “best part for last” was of course George. Ben was just ahead of him. And as it was getting close to the start time for the awards, I feared that George might be rushed and not be able to wave hello and establish the requisite eye contact with me. But the Academy gods were smiling and so was George. He stopped. He joked. He waved. He made a mental note of me. ♥ And we were all happy. ♥
With all the stars safely inside the Dolby Theater, we bleacher creatures were escorted across the street to the El Capitan Theater, where we watched the show on an immense movie screen, which made it almost seem like we were there. It was a great experience watching with a huge audience of film folk, but I was not blown away by the show. Sure, “Seth was Seth” and his shtick was just adolescent and mean, but I didn’t find most of it funny. He had his moments, but… The musical numbers were great, but the production was otherwise kind of a mess. And on top of it, I did not agree with who went home with the Oscars. Except George, of course, and Daniel Day-Lewis, and a couple of others. But until they make me a member of the Academy, guess I’ll just have to suck it up. I hope next year they get a great producer and a decent host who can be funny and classy. I know, tall order.
As guests of the Academy, Mainstream Chick and I were allowed to hold one of the Oscars that was given out in the ceremony. They told us it was the first time ever that an Oscar was allowed on the Red Carpet before the ceremony. No idea who went home with it, though you know who I hope it was. All in all, it was a fun experience, now to be struck from my bucket list. Next stop Cannes.
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