85th Annual Academy Awards Red Carpet, a set on Flickr.
Glitz, glamour, fashion, anticipation, fashion, and great weather. From a press perspective, the 85th Annual Academy Awards provided everything you'd want to document via photos, video, and livestream. But doesn't every award show, you ask? Not really.
Oscar is the big dance in Hollywood. Every film related awards event before it, is just a pre-show of sorts. So although you may miss the other awards shows, celebs and entourages come out the woodwork for Oscar. That includes press.
There's more press for the Academy Awards than the other film industry awards shows. The carpet is HUGE to say the least--it takes up a whole block of Hollywood Blvd.
There's press from everywhere and I mean that literally. Asia, Europe, South America...damn near all the continents had representatives attending or so it seemed. But that's to be expected considering many of the films nominated are foreign. So of course, international press is plentiful at Oscars. But most of those in attendance speak English.
With so much coverage, nationally and internationally, also comes rules and regulations. What you can shoot, when, and where is very regulated.
And with social media being what it is now, the Academy wants to "contain" the best stuff for its own social profiles--facebook, twitter, instagram, and its official mobile app. So mobile phone pics and videos were prohibited inside the press rooms.
In a sense the show is in competition with the press to get content to viewers first thanks to social media and smartphone use. I'm sure show producers don't want your clip of a backstage interview to get to the internet before theirs does. Not to mention, theirs is probably monetized with ads from major sponsors. It's all about business, baby! I digress...
Back on the carpet we wait...and wait...and wait some more. Approximately two hours and half hours after arriving and the first celebs begin gracing the carpet. Then around 4:45 to 5pm the carpet experienced a celebrity bumrush.
This is why your location on the carpet is important. Top to the middle is where celebs spend most of their time. The end of the carpet is like the finish line and most celebs literally sprint towards it.
If you're assigned to the end of the carpet, and NOT a major outlet like ET or Access Hollywood, you better get ready to shoot fast 'cause the premium shots of A-listers will come quick or not at all.
So If you're trying to get an interview when assigned to the end of any red carpet stay positive is my advice. LOL. You are coming between that interviewee and what they want--a seat, some food, heat, a little peace & quiet, reunion with an old friend, or maybe even an interview with a bigger media outlet than yours.
I arrived in the warmth of the day before sweat began to dampen tailored tuxes and pretty gowns. Yes, even the press that's NOT on screen gets all "gussied" up for the affair. Not necessarily because we want to, but because we're required to.
Unless you are a celeb fearless of the "worst dressed" lists, working in a live truck, or possibly engineering on the production, you don't get away with attending nor covering the Oscars in your fav jeans and tshirt-- even if they're "nice". Nice doesn't cut it, boys and girls. Woman up and man up in dressy suit or gown.
Shoes are the only fashion that you can relax a little. Comfortable shoes are a NECESSITY if you're serious about covering the Oscars or any major event. Save being cute in your Jimmy Choos for the afterparty, not for the show you spend most of your time standing in a crowded space.
Back to my place on the carpet. As the pics will show, I was near the end. And not in a position to do interviews. I got what I could via mobile and digital camera. The shots are just "okay" mostly because I couldn't get all the pics I wanted. Most of my favs quickly passed by our section and into the Dolby Theater without a pause.
What was challenging too was picking people out in the crowd. The carpet was PACKED near our end with celebrity and non-celebrity arrivals. Even we, the press, were close together in our section. And when celebs started flying by we began getting in each others' way in attempts to get good shots quickly. All we could do was apologize and keep it moving.
Trying to live blog via mobile and take pics with another device was a challenge too, but I managed it. When it became cold, though, the fingers worked a little slow, or maybe I was just hungry. Actually I was both close to 5:15 pm and decided to head to the media room for some much needed food.
In the media room, is where I hit any real difficulty. Loews hotel, formerly the Renaissance, is known for spotty internet and cell phone reception especially near the ballroom areas where we were.
So I had to rely on finding a reception sweet spot in the hall with my smartphone in order to continue live blogging. It slowed me down tremendously, but again I managed to get my job accomplished. You can see a "replay" of the live blogging in the previous post.
All in all it was a good experience returning to the Oscars a decade later as press. And now If I had to chose between working the show in production again and press, I'd definitely choose press. True, you don't have as much access to everything as a media person, but you don't have to put in as much labor either.