After years of covering all the other major award shows, I finally had the chance to be on the Academy Awards red carpet in Hollywood!
Had you not known it was the Oscars, you would have thought it was Armageddon in Hollywood yesterday. Streets in a half mile radius from the Kodak Theater, where the 84th Annual Academy Awards were held, were completely blocked off and abandoned. The only evidence of life were the bomb squad members, the LAPD and helicopters overhead. I’m not going to lie…it was creepy.
True Angelians knew what was going on in downtown Hollywood and stayed far away from the street closures and madness at Hollywood and Highland, leaving only the naive tourists to wander the streets — completely confused. “Is this how LA always is?” one unsuspecting middle aged man asked me. “Oh, it’s the Oscars?! I haven’t watched TV in five years.”
Welcome to 2012.
In fact, security was so intense, average civilians were forced to walk through metal detectors and past the bomb squad several blocks away from where the red carpet even started. You would have thought it was a gathering of the most important political figures in the world — not Brangelina and George Clooney.
After going through no less than six security check points, I finally had my credentials in hand and arrived to the red carpet, with my little sister, who I got to bring along for the fun. Typically when I’m at events, I’m working the red carpet — hustling to get interviews with celebrities. However, yesterday I had the opportunity to experience the Oscars as a fan — front and center in the jcpenney Oscar Fan Experience bleachers — watching all my favorite A-listers arrive.
I’d always seen fans at events before, but never knew how die-hard they actually were. In order to have the opportunity to be at the Oscars, the 800 fans had to arrive by 10:30 a.m. for a show that didn’t even start until 5 p.m.! (There was even a girl with a shirt that said, “Bleacher Creature.” Lol.) Thankfully, jcpenney kept everyone entertained with a mini-red carpet, plenty of food and even makeup touch ups by Sephora. Plus, we made tons of new friends.
Our seat was awesome. Located right behind Robin Roberts from Good Morning America, friends and family kept calling to tell us they saw us on ABC. That was surreal.
As the stars began to arrive, the energy was insane. Typically, award red carpets are REALLY long, with more than 100 outlets. However, the Academy Awards are shockingly short. There are not huge platforms for the bigger outlets. In fact, Ryan Seacrest, Al Roker, Mario Lopez and more were all behind the red carpet barriers like normal reporters. It was fascinating to see them have to hustle their own interviews for once.
What was truly telling was seeing how the stars responded to the crowds. For example, George Clooney was the only star who came over to our section and signed autographs. Even though it was only 45 seconds, it made all the difference in the world. Meanwhile, Natalie Portman didn’t acknowledge the audience at all — not a smile, not a wave…nothing. It was disappointing, to say the least.
Other crowd favorites included Jason Segal, the Bridesmaids cast and surprisingly, Mario Lopez. We could tell Mario was getting nervous about possibly not getting to talk to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, so we started chanting, “Mario, Mario, Mario!” He smiled, appreciatively. Then, as Angie and Brad started making their way down the carpet, people started yelling, “Talk to Mario!!!” When both of them ended up doing interviews with him, the whole crowd started cheering and Mario gave us the thumbs up. We felt so bonded to him!
Speaking of Angelina and Brad, they couldn’t help but arrive as the carpet was almost being packed up. As they came in, the crowd went wild. The noise was deafening and everyone was on his/her feet ready for the big moment. At first it was bizarre, both of them practically sprinted down the “fast lane” of the carpet, which is in the middle. (There are three lanes — one for the interviews, one for “regular ticket holders” and one in the middle for people in a rush.) However, Angie stopped at one point and ran back to an older couple, who turned out to be Brad’s parents. He eventually turned around as well and then the group of them went back and took photos and started doing interviews.
Later, an eyewitness told me Brad and Angie got out of their car and before starting the carpet, went and waved and said hi to the fans who were outside of the carpet for several minutes. How nice of them!!
And just like that, the Oscar red carpet was over and everything was getting cleaned up. In fact, if you drive by Hollywood and Highland today, you hardly see any remains of the biggest night of the year for Los Angeles.
That was my experience yesterday at my first ever Academy Awards. Next year, I hope to be hustling interviews just like Mario.
Who was YOUR favorite at the show last night?