Friday, February 20, 2009
If you live any place other than the Hollywood area, you might not know that this Sunday - February 22nd (at 5 pm PST (8 pm EST) on ABC) over a billion (yes that's with a "B") people worldwide will be glued to their televisions to see an Aussie (Hugh Jackman) open the 81st Annual Academy Awards - not to mention all you fashionistas glued two hours earlier to see who's wearing who on the red carpet - All this hub-bub just down the street from my apartment at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland. Well, it might not mean anything in Peoria or Portland (both Oregon and Maine) but in my town time stops - streets are closed off and traffic is directed down my street - helicopters circle over my 3rd floor apartment - Klieg lights can be seen for miles, while every limo in this and surrounding areas are filled with recognizable celebrities that are in a traffic jam waiting to stop at the red carpet, now wanting the papparazzi to flash their pictures - All the local newscasts lead off with what the weather will be on Sunday - hopefully no rain - even though they have plastic up over the red carpet .... just in case. Other than Halloween - also known as the West Hollywood (Boy's Town to those in the know) New Year's Eve - when over a 1/2 a million folks show up on Santa Monica Blvd. in professional costumes that they've spent way more than a month's salary on (yes...adults only!) - Academy Award Sunday and the days leading up to it are the most important days in this industry town! And we, of course, are surprised to hear that some of you in other parts of the country have not seen all (or any) of the nominated films and don't really care.
81st Academy Awards official poster
Now if you're thinking all of us L.A. folks are breaking out our Monolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choo's with our Valentino and Carolina Herrara gowns waiting for the limo to take us up to Hollywood Blvd. you really aren't in the know. Unless you work for a celebrity, are a celebrity who is nominated or presenting, or are a stylist, hair dresser, make-up artist, etc working that day, you wouldn't be caught dead anywhere near the Kodak Theatre - It's strictly for tourists - sorry to burst that bubble! We "common folk" - even those of us who work in the entertainment industry will be at friends homes or at parties with ballots printed off the internet - just like some of you - but the difference is we take this whole Oscar thing pretty seriously because depending on who wins and who's nominated it can generate work for those of us who work in the industry for the coming year. Just as Mardis Gras is everything to New Orleans - Oscar night is to Hollywood. We will mark our party ballots prior to the first award given out - drop $10 or whatever the going amount is in the fishbowl or hat at the party we're attending - and hang on every word when the awards are given out to check our ballot so that we might be the winner of hundreds of $$$$ based on who gets the most categories correct. So there it is - my life in Hollywood - - and even though I'm not a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences who vote on the Oscars (but am a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and we vote on the Emmys) I am caught up in the whirlwind that is Academy Award week - Soooo.... in honor of my 31st year in Hollywood working in the "industry" and the 81st Oscars, I decided to announce my very first blog giveaway -
Mr. Oscar himself...
Here's how it will go down: post on my blog who you think will win the Oscar for Best Art Direction* and also for Best Costume Design (hey...we're artists, right and those are the two categories that come closest to what we do) Those nominated for these two awards are listed at the end of this post - (you can see all the categories and nominations at Oscars.org) - You must post your vote for both categories on this blog by 3 pm PST on Sunday 2/22 - The person who picks the Best Art Direction winner correctly will win - if more than one person gets it correct then I will use the Best Costume category as the tie breaker - the people who tie then must also get Best Costume Designer correct as well - if no one does I will put the tie winners in a hat and have my big orange cat-boy - Elvis - paw the winner - if I can wake him!
Elvis - also known as Elvie Bear - without a care in the world!
Oh! the prize - a nice bag of assorted ephemera - ribbons etc including some Hollywood ephemera that you can't get in your home town! Consider this prize your "Hollywood swag bag" - better than the nominees will get backstage on Sunday! Here are the nominations - get busy and join in the Hollywood hype. Ohhhhh... c'mon - you know you want to - Elvis is waiting!
Elvis - just hangin' waiting for your vote on my blog...
* Art Director: is the head decorator, designer of a film. He/she is the one who aesthetically develops infrastructure for a film to make it beautiful or create the world as defined by the script and works closely with the Director to complete her/his vision of the film that you see on the screen. So everything you see other than the actors in costume is under this person's domain - the total look of the set and everything on it - from the color scheme - the design - all the nuances large and small - This person must make you believe what you are seeing on the screen.
ACHIEVEMENT IN ART DIRECTION:
“Changeling” (Universal), Art Direction: James J. Murakami, Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt, Set Decoration: Victor J. Zolfo
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Art Direction: Nathan Crowley, Set Decoration: Peter Lando
“The Duchess” (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films), Art Direction: Michael Carlin, Set Decoration: Rebecca Alleway
“Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage), Art Direction: Kristi Zea, Set Decoration: Debra Schutt
ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN:
“Australia” (20th Century Fox), Catherine Martin
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Jacqueline West
“The Duchess” (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films), Michael O’Connor
“Milk” (Focus Features), Danny Glicker
“Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage), Albert Wolsky
I will announce the winner either late Sunday night or Monday morning on this blog. Good luck!