A little local shindig we like to call “The Oscars”

In years past, I usually tuned in for the Academy Awards. Sure, the ceremony often dragged, the host never hit all the punch lines and I hadn’t seen most of the movies that were being hyped, but at least you could look at the pretty dresses. It was like a tiny glimpse into an unknown and wholly rarefied world where everyone is rich and attractive.

For the first time this year, I viewed the Academy Awards as a (nominal) Angeleno. The LA Times had a special section building up to the awards season for months in advance. I went to a forum sponsored by my local public radio station where a ton of top film critics duked it out with their predictions and my boyfriend and I furiously added movies to our  must-see list. The week before the Oscars, we went to a sold-out showing of all of the short film nominees (Apparently, you can see the short films on ITunes – you should, they were all FANTASTIC).

Much like the run up to the Olympics, there were minor scandals. An ingenious businessman covered one of the buildings right by the red carpet with a nearly 3-story advertisement, and the City Attorney not only had it removed, but threw the guy in jail. Super-graphics will not be tolerated in LA!

Apparently, neither will impropriety. Sorry if you just choked on your donut there. However, one of the awards nominees learned first-hand just how hard-nosed the Academy can be. Now, there is plenty of lobbying in the run-up to the Academy Awards and lots of movie advertisements in the newspaper reading “Academy members: For your consideration.” However, the nominees are not allowed to talk smack about their competition.

One of the producers of “Hurt Locker,” Nicolas Chartier, sent out an email to friends urging them to support his movie and “not the $500-million film.” Ouch, way to stick it to Avatar! Scandalous! However, some of those people he emailed were Academy members, thus the punishment was swift. Nicolas did not get to attend the senior prom, I mean the Oscars.

Ouch.

To get the full Oscar experience, my boyfriend and I made an excursion to the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood to check out the preparations. A side note: We took the metro. Bet you didn’t even know LA had a metro! Believe it!

Everything was under wraps due to rain in the days leading up to the big event, but the red carpet was indeed rolled out. Click here to see the photos. The red carpet goes up the street and turns into the shopping center just before Mann’s Chinese Theater (which has all the Hollywood stars in front). As you enter, there are lighted pillars on both sides that have the names of the best pictures going back to the first Academy Awards in 1929.

And just as they were when I lived in Sonoma, the Oscars this year were a glimpse into another world – albeit one just on the other side of town.

Here’s some Post-Oscar humor for ya.

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