Thursday, May 30, 2024

Oscars: What Goes on Off Stage While Everyone’s Watching the Show


So what really was going on during the Oscars yesterday and last night? Everyone has a different perspective but…

New and improved: on the red carpet the security guards told us they’d been asked to cool it from last year. The vibe was mellow once you got through security. Even with the Secret Service clamping down for Joe Biden, there was a very different atmosphere than in prior years. And most welcome.

At the entrance to the red carpet, we huddled with Mark Rylance, his wife and daughter. This was their first trip to the Oscars–Mark is one of the most famous stage actors in the world, and a superstar in the U.K. Here he is best known for his work on Broadway, in Shakespeare, in the play “Jerusalem,” and in the comedy “Boeing Boeing.”

I took a picture of him with Sylvester Stallone which would prove to be ominous. They each though Sly was winning Best Supporting Actor. The Rylances hung out at the entrance until Mark’s “Bridge of Spies” director Steven Spielberg and wife Kate Capshaw arrived so they could all walk together…They were joined by Joel and Ethan Coen, who gave “Bridge of Spies” script a polish and were also nominated for Oscars…

The order of how the awards are presented is known to us in the auditorium because it’s in our lovely souvenir book. This means that after the first segment, the bars usually fill up. This year there was free drinks and snacks– which ran out very quickly. After Best Supporting Actress knocked out Kate Winslet and Rooney Mara, they each made their way into the beautifully new appointed side bar (thanks Dolby theater for an amazing viewing screen and sensational Dolby sound).

With Rooney came her parents, Chris and Kathleen, who are also part of the New York Giants’ Mara family. Rooney has no interest in football whatsoever, but Chris is one of the reasons I’m glad his daughter is a famous actress. We talked sports for quite a while, and he reassured this NY Yankees and Giants fan that good seasons are coming. Whew!

Also stationed in the bar: the luminous K/Cates– Blanchett, as well as Winslet. (I really like Kate’s new husband, btw.) Eddie Redmayne and his pregnant wife Hannah, my old pals and neighbors Julianne Moore and Bart Freundlich, Sony Pictures Classic’s co-prez Michael Barker in a very punk custom made tux, and Harvey Weinstein and wife Georgina Chapman. Brad Grey reassured me that Paramount was in for a “very big 2017.”

Virtually unnoticed in the bar Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. He’s very low key, understated guy, and I think he’s nervous that I always spot him. But after all, half my life is spent on Amazon. Isn’t yours? I asked him if Amazon was going to buy the now floundering Lions Gate? He asked, very politely: “Should I? How much should I pay or it?”

I told him, I thought he could get it for a good price these days. Hey, you never know…

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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