There are some benefits to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences constantly tripping over themselves. A host-less show was actually nice and even a little faster than normal, Green Book gave the press the perfect thing to whine and moan about, and they invited me, of all people, to cover the show this year. After some heavy breathing and concerns about getting the proper credentials, I was able to suit up, put on my brand new bowtie, and head over to Hollywood for an at once surreal and relatively ho-hum experience.
To be clear, I didn’t get anywhere near the theatre where the actual ceremony took place but instead was in the “Interview Room,” the place where all press and media sat shoulder to shoulder while clacking away on their keyboards. About 15 minutes after an award was given, the winner(s) would walk in to field questions from us. Unfortunately, the Oscars are very literal, and because I wasn’t part of the “Photo Room,” I couldn’t actually snap any pics of the winners or even the room I was in. The area itself was quite cramped because of the amount of press, a lot of it international, but everyone had to be all dressed up and the environment was lively and jovial being surrounded by other movie mega-fans. If you were surprised Green Book won, imagine what a room full of in-the-know journalists looked like.
It’s strange having a production line of some of the wealthiest people in the world be presented to you as you help foster the weird and definitely unhealthy relationship a lot of us have with idolizing famous people. Then again, some of the winner’s outfits were spot on and breathtaking, so maybe it’s worth it. Those oscillating thoughts sum up my time in the Interview Room, at least when no one was answering questions.
The actual show portion was more or less like watching it at home, except with less comfortable clothes and chairs, while the interviews themselves were actually quite fascinating. Questions fell into two categories: the typical “How do you feel?” types, and the much more country specific questions, like how two Swedish reporters asked about Ludwig Göransson’s win and how growing up in Sweden affected him. Understandably, the answers were a lot more interesting because you got a peek, however brief, into how these people, literally at the top of their craft, felt.
One of the thousands of clichés about Hollywood is how all the stars and industry people are “Just like us!’ They aren’t, not by a long shot. Even when mingling with my more experienced media cohorts you could tell that this is almost like a different world, with weird quirks and customs that were a little overwhelming. Thankfully, they are still humans with those weird emotion things, and despite the millions of dollars and very distracting statues, I really enjoyed seeing how happy and thoughtful some of these people got. Domee Shi and Becky Neiman were ecstatic and warm. Spike Lee had a grand old time. I’m now convinced Alfonso Cuarón is one of the smartest people who ever lived. Guy Nattiv and Jaime Ray Newman are now the only power couple I’ll follow.
Most important of all, though, Olivia Colman is an absolute gem of a wonderful, joyful human being and I am going to watch The Crown now solely because of her. Next year we will call them the Olivias and they’ll automatically be 500% better. In summation, though, the night was basically just another night; no parties or starstruck moments or juicy gossip. Instead, like most Oscars, there were a few awkward moments, some dumb stuff and just enough genuinely heartwarming moments to make it worthwhile. And I looked nice AF.