HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA—It’s 1:48 p.m. on the day of the Academy Awards and it’s getting busier on the Red Carpet. The fans in the bleachers across from me have been cued to start screaming—it’s show time! Surrounded by an army of gold Oscar statues, the staff and media are busy rehearsing their tasks and assuming their positions.
1:55: Rain begins, but the spirit is not affected. The show must go on!
2:20: Excitement is in the air: the stars are due to arrive. Wolfgang Puck and his team stroll the red carpet in chef attire, showing off samples of their cuisine.
3:00: Seat fillers and friends of nominees walk the carpet. Photographers and reporters are looking for the stars! Hosts Ryan Seacrest and Mario Lopez are spotted filming some pre-show clips. Red Carpet madness has begun! There’s Pete Docter, representing the Twin Cities, with his entourage! Documentary film nominees come next, surrounded by the stars of their films. Most touching was Prudence Mabhena from the documentary short film winner Music by Prudence. She came all the way from Zimbabwe to attend the Academy Awards, and she was all smiles going down the red carpet in her wheelchair.
4:00: Stars are everywhere! They walk through one after the other, barely giving us time to photograph! They are on a tight schedule, and their reps are there to remind them of the fact.
4:30-5:00: I push my way to the front row, catching all the nominees and presenters up-close and personal as they glide past the press area. Most are as generous as they can be, posing and answering brief questions about pre-show jitters and Oscar favorites. George Clooney flashed us a glimpse of his flask, apparently his Oscar secret! The overall energy is sensationally bright. “How does it feel to finally be here?” someone asked Mo’Nique. “It feels wonderful,” she replied. “How do YOU feel?”
Indeed, the feeling was mutual. The Red Carpet is an electric place to be, and the experience was unforgettable. The press are some of the hardest-working people I’ve ever met, but my love for the profession of filmmaking only grew stronger. To some it may seem far-fetched, but the next time I am on the red carpet I’d like to be walking on the other side of the rope.
Until next year!
Above: Best Director nominee for Avatar James Cameron and his wife talk to the press on the Red Carpet.
Above: George Clooney, nominated in the Best Actor category for Up in the Air, walks into the Kodak Theater, getting ready to show us his flask under his jacket.
Above: Nominee for Inglorious Basterds Quentin Tarantino and his wife on the Red Carpet.
Above: Carey Mulligan, nominated for Best Actress for An Education, greets the press on the red carpet in her Prada gown.
Above: Maggie Gyllenhaal, nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for Crazy Heart, enters the Kodak Theater.
Above: Colin Firth, Best Actor nominee for A Simple Man, talks with the press on the Red Carpet.
Above: Presenter Kate Winslet enters the Kodak Theater.
Above: Most touching was Prudence from the Documentary Short film winner Music By Prudence. She came all the way from Zimbabwe to attend the Academy Awards.
Above: Oscar presenter Penelope Cruz walks past press photographers on the red carpet.
Above: Presenter Rachel McAdams strolls the red carpet.
Above: Presenter Charlize Theron organizes her gown.
Above: Actress Jane Seymour takes time to answer press questions.
Above: Best Actor nominee for The Hurt Locker Jeremy Renner talks to reporters on the Red Carpet.
Above: Presenter Steve Carrell on the red carpet.
Above: Actress and Avatar co-star Sigourney Weaver takes time to answer press questions.
Above: Actor Jake Gyllenhaal takes a question from the red carpet press.
Above: Presenter Taylor Lautner gets whisked past the fans.
Above: Pete Docter on his way in to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
Above: Adapted Screenplay Oscar winner (for Precious) Geoffrey Fletcher, left, and writer of Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire Ramona Lofton greet the press.
Above: The Blind Side co-star Kathy Bates enters the Kodak Theater.
Above: Actors Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas walk the Red Carpet holding hands.
Above: Best Actress winner (for The Blind Side) Sandra Bullock tries to hear a press question on the Red Carpet.
Above: Posing with producers and Best Documentary Short nominees Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert (left) are four laid-off auto workers from the film The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant.
Above: a monk from Burma attends the Academy Awards with Best Documentary Feature Burma VJ nominees Lise Lense-Moller and Anders Ostergaard.
Above: Rain on the red carpet. But the show must go on!
Above: Academy Chef Wolfgang Puck, right, and his staff carry Oscar desserts through the red carpet crowd.
Above: Achievement in Film Editing winners (for The Hurt Locker) Bob Murawski and Chris Innis.
Above: Co-star of Inglourious Basterds Eli Roth stops by the press section of the red carpet.