If you are a movie groupie like me, you will be watching the Academy Awards this Sunday evening. R tells me that the “pre” show is almost as important as the awards themselves. You get to see who is with whom, and who wears (or almost wears) what. Many stars and starlets wears designer clothes that cost tens of thousands, on loan from the couturier du jour. You will note that they usually mention when stopped by “E” or “Access” on the red carpet that the rag they just threw on was from so in so or whomever.
I have spent the last two days in meetings with the companies that are going to handle the limousine and valet service for the Oscars. There will be over 700 limos processed and a few more than that in cars that are handled by valet. Over 200 parking folks are involved in this event that actually lasts 10 hours. The limos line up and it can take up to an hour for one to snake through the line and reach the red carpet. I asked if those Hollywood types might get impatient waiting. Then the story in the first paragraph hit me. They are waiting for their 20 seconds on TV, and maybe a million hits on the ‘net as they step out of that car. It’s all staging. As they wait their turn, they know they will have a few seconds only for them. Could they move the limos through faster, sure. But then those starts whose names are above the title would either have to share the spotlight or have 10 seconds instead of 20.
The red carpet walk begins early, and by the time you see snippets on TV, most of the stars are inside with cocktails and tiny sandwiches waiting for the word to take their seats.
I asked the valet manager if any “big” stars actually drove their own cars. “Only the ones that are ‘green.’ They drive Priuses, and want their environmental creds shown world wide. No gas guzzlers here.
Security for the event is high. I had to have a police background check, and be photo badged so I could wander around and check out the parking. But I am restricted only to the area where the folks are dropped off. But probably not too close.
The parking is critical. One manager told me that if his shuttle operation failed, the Oscars simply wouldn’t come off. There would be no press, no caterers, no camera people, no security, no musicians. They all park off site and have to be brought in. Some streets are closed, others have their directions changed. If you are coming, you have been gives maps that bring you in from certain directions, with the map starting 20 blocks from that fabled red carpet.
I will report back on Monday and let you know how it went. The issue, I’m told, isn’t dropping people off or valeting cars, it’s giving them back when it’s all over. Oh, and there is a possibility of rain. The Prius drivers can blame that on climate change. It never used to rain in Southern California, at least according to Barry Manilow.