Erin Lynn Violette is a recent graduate from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program in Creative Writing. She currently lives in Hollywood with her husband Ryan, and their spirited dog Abbey. As HOLLYWOOD CORRESPONDENT for this blog, Erin gives us an up-close and personal view of THE OSCARS.
‘THE OSCARS’: Close Up by Erin Lynn Violette
So the Oscars have come and gone, but I have to say this year they’ve left a big impression on me. It could have been because this was New England’s year with Connecticut born Seth MacFarlane hosting, and Boston native Ben Affleck taking Best Picture for Argo. But I think it had more to do with living locally and witnessing all that goes into the preparations for such an extravagant event.
~Of course it’s too easy to get caught up in all the glitz and glamour, but a lot has to be said of the weeks of meticulous preparation, and the high security detail that took over several blocks of Hollywood Boulevard, and all this for the sake of honoring movies. And then what took nearly a month for the Academy and Dolby Theatre to set up had literally disappeared overnight. Right down to the Oscar billboards, which had been replaced with the old standard – Sofía Vergara smooching up to a can of Diet Pepsi (she’s 40 and clearly fabulous by the way).
~At first I couldn’t quite wrap my head around how they pull this off.
I tried to imagine how they got all these celebrities inside. I thought perhaps limos simply pulled up to the curb depositing celebrities at the front of the Dolby Theatre where a slender red carpet, much like the yellow brick road, led them to their destination inside. Let me tell you, it made much more sense that they blocked of the section of Hollywood Boulevard in front of the theater, set up security check points for everyone entering the ceremony, laid out a red carpet that covered the blocked off street and entrances, and placed bleachers along the street on the way into the theater.
~The bleachers are where 700 hundred lucky people get to sit and watch the celebrities as they arrive. And! Tickets to sit in the bleachers are available when you enter a lottery to win them. This year the lottery opened on September 24, 2012, and closed on November 16th with winners being announced later that month. So mark your calendars and look into this next year. The process is simple. Just sign up to be an Oscars insider at www.oscars.org/insider and bookmark the site.
Then next fall keep your eyes peeled for your chance to enter. The best thing is you don’t have to live in Hollywood, LA, or California to be chosen, so it’s the perfect excuse to come visit the area and have a blast!
Perhaps next year I’ll try for bleacher seats, but for this year my husband and I walked the neighborhood to check things out, and then settled in our living room to watch the awards. Even though we walked the area of our neighborhood it was clear that even though we lived here the actual area of the event was off limits. You couldn’t really get too close to the actual area, and the streets seemed more NYC than LA in terms of foot traffic.
Tourists stopped in the middle of the street to get pictures of the black limos and giant SUVs even though there was no sign or promise that a celebrity was in tow. A radical religious group staked out a few street corners and yelled some pretty mean stuff through loud speakers at the limos driving by, and the people walking around. It was just another day at work for the LAPD officers working the traffic detail as they seemed unaffected by it all.
One thing that shocked me was the lack of viewing parties being held in the LA area. I should rephrase that – a lack of affordable viewing parties in the area, because of the few viewing parties I could find the prices ranged from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars. I thought for sure the American Cinematheque would have a viewing party, or maybe even the Roosevelt Hotel (which was the site of the very first academy awards in 1929), but neither establishment hosted such an event this year. So we watched live from our living room, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
I thought Seth MacFarlane was fabulous. I love that he tried to crack an Abraham Lincoln joke and realized after “140 years it’s still too soon.” Not only was MacFarlane funny, he was an excellent singer and dancer. I loved his sock puppet version of the movie Flight. Bravo!
I was less impressed with the gowns this year than I have been in the past, but there were still a few noteworthy ones. My top favorites were Octavia Spencer’s Tadashi Shoji gown (right), and Sandra Bullock’s Elie Saab Haute Couture gown. And because I love the 80s and Jane Fonda I adored her yellow Versace gown that looked like something out of Dynasty.
Selma Hayek had my favorite hairdo, and I was super disappointed that Kristen Stewart never gets her hair done. True to form she looked like she just rolled out of bed and was dragged to the event. Poor Kristen.
Jennifer Lawrence was super classy, and it appeared that she tripped on her tremendous gown walking up to receive her Oscar for Best Actress, but she saved face with her short, sweet acceptance speech. (And I thought I was the only one who fell going up stairs).
Daniel Day Lewis who won the Oscar for Best Actor gave my first favorite acceptance speech, but when Ben Affleck accepted his Oscar for Best Picture my New England heart was proud, happy, and utterly softened by his overwhelming show of gratitude. His final words, “It doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life because that’s going to happen. All that matters is you gotta get up.” Loved it!
(Oscar outdoor photos courtesy of the author; actor photos GoogleImages)