Current mood: ecstatic
Category: Movies, TV, Celebrities
I am working as a Seat Filler at the Oscars today…I job I love and still can’t believe I get to do.
My love affair with Oscar began when I was a starry-eyed kid growing up in Sydney, Australia. For days leading up to each new Oscar event, I practiced my Academy Award acceptance speeches in my dad’s bedroom mirror (it was bigger than mine) and although I do remember I gave lengthy thank yous, I can’t recall what they were for. I don’t think it was for writing.
There was a wooden banana in my grandma’s bowl of wooden fruit on the dining table and this was my microphone.
I gave up those long, emotive, grateful tirades after getting caught by my brothers and their friends who were outside the bedroom window, laughing their asses off. There they were in our front garden, rolling around the grass making fun of me!
To this day, my brother Alex only has to hold his hand up to his mouth like he is holding a mike and I shut up quickly…
The Oscars are of course the Rolls Royce of awards shows and I am amazed how each year they are tweaked and refined, according to the political climate, not to mention the actual climate. We’re expecting rain today so a big tent is up over the red carpet.
Owing to the current economic climate, I’m hearing there’s going to be a lot less bling…but don’t bet on it. My friend Dan’s company got the flower gig and he delivered 74,000 blooms in two days. I bet the Kodak will be looking amazing by the time I arrive at noon with my credentials, my ID and my limitless patience. It’s a long day until showtime and we must allow for nerves, anger outbursts and constant running.
So much goes into the actual production of the shows it is breathtaking. I respect and remain in awe of the crew men and women who work like dogs without sleep for the final 36 hours…only to start breaking it all down again the moment the show ends.
This year, security is higher than ever and the volunteers who seat fill are old hands at it. two days ago I perused the theater with my friend Mary to collect our credentials and we strolled the aisles, stdying the big pieces of cardboard with celebrity names.
The stars of “Slumdog Millionaire” naturally have the best seats in the house and the celebrity stand-ins portraying them have had fuin making up speeches…just like me and my banana!
We seat fillers dress head to toe in black, we remain unobtrusive. One year a girl plastered her website on her back and was sent home. We have strict rules. We are not allowed to attempt to smuggle photos, bios, demo DVDS, demo CDs, books or screenplays into celebrity hands. We do not break into soft shoe routines when we spy P.Diddy and hope for a cameo in one of his videos.
We are in fact, lucky if a celebrity we are sitting next to chats with us, but mostly, they ignore us. I remember one year Sting and his wife were fantastic and so was Orlando Bloom, who was intrigued to see us charging around from seat to seat so the camera wouldn’t pan to an empty chair. He was down to earth and lovely.
One year I sat in front of the actor Richard Crenna (since sadly departed) and I turned and gushed that I was a fan. He was not rude. Well…he was, sort of. He was simply non responsive. He looked me right in the eye and completely ignored me. I was crushed. I can’t watch that episode of I Love Lucy where he is the “Young Fan” and look at him the same way.
I’ve seen startlets poaching cigarettes froms seat fillers, a couple of actors snorthing coke in the john…I’ve seen actresses look so stunning in person in their sweeping couture…yet on film it looks hideous. I’ve seen hideous dresses that photograph like sunshine.
I am still that starry-eyed kid from Australia who loves movies and loves the celebration of them.
It’s Oscar time. My banana microphone and I are ready.