ShowbizMonkeys.com is in Los Angeles this weekend covering the Oscars. But let's not kid ourselves -- we're not CNN or Entertainment Tonight or even TVGuide.com, and as such, we weren't given the same kind of access these media outlets who have been around for more than five months received. But that doesn't mean we didn't get any access. Yes, The Academy gave ShowbizMonkeys.com exterior access prior to Oscar Sunday, granting us a view of the red carpet and other areas off-limits to the general public.
So what is there to tell? Well, first of all, we'll pretend we're the Weather Channel for a minute. It's raining in L.A., and not just a little. There were moments of heavy rain on Saturday during the show preparations, but Oscar Sunday promises to be a very wet day (as I sit in my hotel room, the rain is already coming down quite hard outside). But as the tired old chiché that I'll gladly use again states: "the show must go on". Thus, there are tarps, and lots of them.
You can see from the main article photo, and the photos below, that pretty much everything around the red carpet is covered. Even the grandstands, where lucky Oscar fans have been chosen to sit and watch all their favourites enter the Kodak Theatre on the red carpet, are spared whatever the weather might bring. The fact that everything is covered is good for those who love to see what the stars are wearing (sorry, who the stars are wearing), because nobody wants to see raincoats and umbrellas.
The set-up of the whole red carpet and entrance area is quite elaborate, with what seems like thousands of lights set up for almost every angle (and a few lights so bright they'd rival any football stadium or baseball field), flat panel TVs, and hedges and flowers throughout the area to simulate the "outdoor" atmosphere, even with everything enclosed due to the weather. There are also Oscar statuettes everywhere, with many on Saturday covered in plastic to protect them from the rain. The red carpet itself was also covered in plastic, though I'm sure that's done every year -- rain or shine -- to prevent the hoards of media from making a mess of it before the big show.
Another interesting part of being on the red carpet the day before the Oscars is seeing who is part of those hoards of media. Aside from the more mainstream press we spotted, like Fashion Television's Jeanne Beker getting interviewed and TV Guide Network's Lisa Rinna working on some preparations, there were some more interesting media represented as well. Of note was what I can only assume a comedy duo from Brazil, who were taping goofy bits at various places throughout the red carpet area. One of the guys put crazy fake teeth in before the camera rolled, and if I understood Portuguese at all, I'm sure it would've been even more entertaining than it already was.
Both inside the media access area and all around the Hollywood & Highland Center (where the public were happily dealing with the slight detours down Hollywood Blvd. to take some photos of Oscar statuettes), there were lights and cameras and hosts from around the world, with pieces being taped in countless languages. Outside of the Olympics, you're not likely to see this many cultures represented in one place at one time. With that many people and that many cameras around, the entire area was filled with a buzz I haven't really experienced before. It felt like something huge was about to happen. And of course, even if you aren't a fan of awards shows or Hollywood glitz and glam, you can't deny the enormity of the Academy Awards, with its hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide.
It was quite the experience to get a peek behind the curtain of the biggest show on the planet, and who knows, maybe next year -- when we've been around for over a year -- we may be able to bring you full coverage of Oscar night live from the red carpet!
The 80th Annual Academy Awards airs on ABC and CTV at 8pmET/5pmPT. For a complete list of nominees, view our Academy Award nominees post. For more information on the nominees and the entire show, visit OSCAR.com. And of course, if you miss all or part of the broadcast on Sunday, be sure to visit ShowbizMonkeys.com for a complete list of winners.
ShowbizMonkeys.com will be posting a full "Behind the Scenes at the Oscars" video report in the near future.
Paul Little is the founder and Managing Editor of ShowbizMonkeys.com. When not interviewing his favourite musicians and comedians, he can also be found at The Purple Room in Winnipeg, where he is Artistic Director. (@comedygeek)