The Oscar Red Carpet Experience – Food and Gift Bag

Okay, celebrities are fine, but what about the food and freebies?

Here we go:

Breakfast – LA Bagels with cream cheese, Coffee

Drinks (all day) – Vitamin Water Zero (the red one), Coke, Diet Coke, Water

Lunch – Box lunches brought to us in the stands with either a turkey or roasted veggie sandwich, chips, chocolate chip cookie, and a red apple. It was quite tasty and filling.

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The Oscar Red Carpet Experience – Star Search

Sally FieldSo I saw a lot of celebrities on the Red Carpet from the bleachers. It wasn’t always easy. Some were in a big ole hurry. And the carpet was jammed with people, so it easy to miss someone – especially a man in a regular tux. So when Aaron Tveit walked by on the carpet, I’m sad I missed him, but I can see how he was overlooked by everyone. (Just as his amazing performance in Les Misérables wasn’t given its due)

Of the 25 nominees for director and acting, we saw 21 of them. The only ones we never saw apparently did not walk the carpet: Denzel Washington, Emmanuelle Riva (no surprise), Michael Haneke, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. There is a side door off of Hollywood Blvd. for people to come and go without touching the press or the crowds.

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The Oscar Red Carpet Experience – Part 2

The Red Carpet for Real

After 7 hours, it was finally happening. While people had been walking down the carpet clearly dressed for the Academy Awards for a long time, we now had a collection of known quantities around the Carpet ready for action. (Al Roker, Kristen Chenoweth, Robin Roberts, Kelly Rowland, Michael Strahan, etc.) Never saw Ryan Seacrest though – he was much closer to the beginning of the carpet.

Ballot BoxThe first “famous” (non-“reporter”) people were the Ballot Box guys walking their precious cargo with great determination. And then doing it again for a better camera shot.

Then we had a series of interviews with nominees…but not the ones we wanted. Still, it was nice to hear from Benh Zeitlin, director of Beasts of the Southern Wild, who looks like he is 20, Michael Dana, composer of Life of Pi, Rich Moore, director of Wreck-It-Ralph, and…okay, I wasn’t that interested either. The banter was basic and we wanted the A-Game.

And then superstars of Hollywood were upon us.

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The Oscar Red Carpet Experience – Part 1

MK OscarsI am a huge Oscar fan. I love the excitement, the contest, the celebrity. The Academy Awards are my favorite night of TV every year. This year, I got a new view of the event as I was thrilled to sit in the bleachers by the Red Carpet and watch the day unfold.

I am not a big “celeb-spotter”.  When I see someone famous, I am interested, but if they are in a restaurant or the mall, i think they deserve a measure of privacy. I also got my fill of celebs about 20 years ago. I was staying at the famous Beverly Hills Hotel on vacation with my friends Jonathan and Valerie, we stumbled across a small crowd in the lobby waiting for the conclusion of the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony (I think for Robert DeNiro). About 20 minutes later, the ballroom doors opened a flood of pretty much every celebrity passed by us. Some friendly. Some in a hurry.  It was famous people overload and I think served me well for massive star power.

But seeing the best of movie stars pass by you in their finest on the Hollywood’s biggest night is a thrill unto itself. To reflect the fun day, I’ll be posting a few separate entires rather than one massive one.

How Did I Get the Tickets? How Can You Get Tickets?

My student cantor Lizzie Weiss (Thanks, Lizzie!) connected my to an auction at Dream Street, a great organization that provides camping programs for kids with chronic and life threatening diseases – NOT the boy band from 1999-2002. They were having a last minute auction for a bunch of tickets. I tossed in a bid and a few days later was told I had won 2 tickets. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences apparently gives out these 700 or so bleacher seats through raffles, charities, and various other means. We met people from Hurricane Sandy who also got plane and hotel covered, many many military members, and a fair number of people who have been doing this for years. Not sure how they get their tickets. You can learn more at the Oscar Fan Experience. But if you really want them, do some healthy Googling for the variety of places that offer them.

Glickman and KaisermanSecurity

Because Dream Street got the tickets only a week before, we had to do the security check in just two days. A detailed bit of paperwork for a background check was followed by an last minute requirement of a photo. Turns out the iPhone can do some impressive editing if needed. I attended the event with my friend David Glickman who remarked that this was more security intensive than when he met the First Lady of the United States.

The Morning

We were told to arrive at 9am, so we got there at 8:30am. We got a lift to the area so we wouldn’t have to deal with parking. A line was formed and at 9am we were led cross the closed part of Highland Avenue onto Hollywood Boulevard. We check in, received fancy looking credentials. We got a gift bag (see later post) and were led to our bleacher seats.

David and I were sitting in the very last set of bleachers closest to the Dolby Theater in the very last row. With reserved seats (supposedly random) we could arrive any time we wanted. It was about 9:20am when we were settled in. The first celebrities don’t really arrive until 3:30pm. But the Academy needs us in and out of the way before they can deal with the rest of the complications of this show. We grabbed some breakfast (later post has all the food details) and took it all in.

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The Academy Awards – Who Should Win?

Academy AwardsI love the Academy Awards. It isn’t just who wins or loses. That’s often predictable way in advance and sometimes is a terrible choice (Shakespeare in Love over Saving Private Ryan? Dances with Wolves over Goodfellas? Out of Africa over The Color Purple? Crash over Brokeback Mountain? How Green Was My Valley over Citizen Kane? – to name a few) I love the whole experience – the stars, the glamour, the jokes, the celebration of movies.

As a matter of Oscar pride, I have seen every Best Picture winner. I’ll tell you now, Cimarron from 1931 is a terrible, terrible film. For the past decade or so, I have made sure to see every film nominated for the Top 8 awards (picture, director, acting, writing) and also Animated Film, just because I love Animated Films.

1313641431db2db-1So here are my thoughts on who SHOULD win the awards. If you want to know who WILL win, there are plenty of sites that will guide that better than I can. Siskel and Ebert used to this every year and I loved it.

PICTURE – Argo – I thought it was the best film experience of the year, so no surprise I think it SHOULD win.

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Best Films of 2012

bestmovies 2012As an armchair film critic, it takes me a while to finish seeing most of the “best” films of a year. There are still a half dozen smaller films that got great reviews I haven’t seen from 2012, about 15 films I’d still really like to see, and others I’ll discover down the road. So my Top Films list is always a work in progress. I feel no obligation to establish it in stone right this second.

As a whole, I thought 2012 was an outstanding year – one of the best overall in a while in depth. And, unlike some recent years, the best films weren’t all completely depressing. Of the 9 films nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, 8 of them made my top 20. Only Amour (AKA 2 hours of incredible sadness) didn’t quite make it.

Just before the Oscars, I will reveal my picks and predictions, but here is (ever-evolving) Top films of 2013.

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Finding True Love and Passion (According to the Movies)

Alone this Valentine’s Day? No worries. The movies have taught us that finding your true love and hot passionate sex is only moments away. Here are 14 guidelines to remember on this February 14th.

Top-10-Valentines-Day-Movies-294x300

  1. Can’t find your true love? Make sure you are immersed in the biggest professional crisis of your life. True love is sure to follow.
  2. If you find your true love, you can be certain he/she will be reciprocate instantly.
  3. But if you don’t fall in love at first sight, make sure you become enemies. Then you’ll fall in love. Hatred makes excellent foreplay.
  4. Even if the world is about to end or you are about to be assassinated or attacked by zombies or are currently in a dank cellar – sudden, unprotected sex is perfectly appropriate.
  5. While having that sudden, unprotected sex, you will be impervious to any outside harm. (The minute it’s over, things might change)
  6. Make sure that your first time involves as much ripping of clothing and knocking over of furniture as possible. If you can have sex without foreplay on a stove or in back of a car or on a nature trail or in that dank cellar or anywhere uncomfortable, all the better.
  7. Magically, after ripping off each other’s clothing before sex, you will be modestly dressed by the time it is over.
  8. Remember that person you met just hours ago, were enemies, and had sex in a cellar before the zombie attack? He/she’s your true love forever. Unless her death makes a better plot point. Or if you refuse to be in the sequel, then you are a goner.
  9. Coy, playful, platonic relationships are best stretched out over many years with no follow-up.
  10. Warning: A Random Hook-Up can result in pregnancy. However, impulsive, unprotected sex with your true love (of the cellar floor kind) never does.
  11. Warning: Emotionless sex can result in the other person (usually a woman) trying to kill you right afterwards. That is never a commentary on your lovemaking.
  12. Random hook-ups, emotionless sex, and impulsive, unprotected true love sex do not result in STDs.
  13. Simultaneous orgasm is standard and typical.
  14. Remember, there’s nothing in the world better than “True Love” except a MLT sandwich where the mutton’s nice and lean…

movie-heartYour true love is out there – only a professional crisis, an impending zombie attack, and a cellar floor away.