Seeing Stars: Hollywood Award Ceremonies
The most important annual celebrity event in Show Biz takes place late each winter (usually in late February or early March), right here in Los Angeles. It's Oscar Night, that dazzling evening when the prestigious Academy Awards are presented for the year's best achievements in motion pictures.
And if you act early enough, it's possible for you to
be on the red carpet, watching the celebrity arrivals (see
the details below).
The 87th annual Academy Awards was presented on Sunday, February 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre (formerly known as the Kodak Theatre), at Hollywood & Highland.The host will be Neil Patrick Harris.
Last year, the awards were presented on Sunday, March 2, 2014, and the host was Ellen DeGeneres.
Oscar presenters that year included Emma Watson, John Travolta, Charlize Theron, Barbra Streisand, Kevin Spacey, Will
Smith, Sidney Poitier, Brad Pitt, Bill Murray, Matthew McConaughey,
Jennifer Lawrence, Angelina Jolie, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Hemsworth,
Goldie Hawn, Anne Hathaway, Whoopi Goldberg, Joseph Gordon-Levitt,
Jennifer Garner, Jamie Foxx, Harrison Ford, Sally Field, Robert De
Niro, Daniel Day Lewis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Penelope Cruz, Jim
Carrey, Bradley Cooper, Kristen Bell, and Amy Adams.
(Nominations were announced on January 16, 2014.)
In 2013, the 85th Academy
Awards were presented on Sunday, February 24, 2013.
Presenters included Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Halle Berry, Robert Downey Jr., Meryl Streep, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Garner, Jamie Foxx, Liam Neeson, Kristen Stewart, Daniel Radcliffe, Jennifer Aniston, Samuel L. Jackson, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, , Melissa McCarthy, Paul Rudd, Salma Hayek, John Travolta, Ben Affleck, Michael Douglas, Jane Fonda, Jessica
Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Mark Wahlberg, Richard Gere, Queen
Latifah, Renée Zellweger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Channing Tatum
and Charlize Theron.
Performers included Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Adele, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kristin
Chenoweth, Jennifer Hudson, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, Helena
Bonham, Dame Shirley Bassey, Norah Jones and Barbra Streisand.
(Nominations were announced on January 10, 2013.)
And then there are the Oscar winners & nominees, of course...
The event has been televised live since 1953, and while trhe Superbowl draws larger numbers here in the States, the Academy believes the Oscar show to be "the most-watched television show in the world annually," as people all over the world tune in to watch the ceremony on TV from the comfort of their homes.
If you're in L.A., you can experience at least part of the Hollywood excitement and glamor in person.
Of course, you've got to be willing to pay the price... and we're not talking about money here. It's unlikely that any amount of cash could get you into the Academy Awards show. But if you enter your name and are lucky enough to win a free Oscars drawing, and if you're willing to wait long enough before the show, you can be among those lucky few in the bleachers outside the Kodak Theatre who get to watch the celebrities as they arrive in their limousines and walk up the red carpet into the auditorium.
Large grandstands are set up nearby to allow spectators a view of the stars, as they exit their limousines curbside and walk to the auditorium. The stars make their way up the red carpet, running the gauntlet of photographers, and stopping to give interviews to the horde of TV news crews and entertainment reporters, before entering the Kodak. It's a great opportunity to see (and take photos of) your favorite superstars, since virtually everyone who is anyone in Hollywood comes to the Academy Awards show. But there are only 700 bleacher seats, and far more fans who want to be there. So, they have an online random drawing. (See below for details about how to get in on the drawing for the red carpet bleacher seats.)
past hosts (Masters of Ceremony) alone represent a virtual "Who's Who"
of Hollywood, including Lionel Barrymore,
Fred Astaire, Danny Kaye,
Sir Lawrence Olivier,
Sammy Davis Jr.,
Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda,
-and more recently, Billy Crystal,
and David Letterman.
Unless you're an Academy member, your chances of actually getting inside to actually see the awards show are virtually zero. (In 1996, two people spent big bucks on scalped tickets to the Oscars, and made the headlines - when they were thrown out of the ceremony. Tickets are non-transferable..)
Fortunately, the bleachers outside, with a view of the red carpet, are free to the public.
In previous years, fans had to camp out on the streets for days in advance, in order to secure a spot in the bleachers - which were first come-first serve. However, two things happened to change things in 2002: one was Oscar's move from the Shrine Auditorium to the Kodak Theatre. The other was the reaction to the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
It would be a lot more difficult for fans to camp out on the busy city streets near Hollywood & Highland, and with new security concerns, the organizers wanted to pre-screen every fan who came into the bleachers. So, for 2002, they came up with an entirely new system. For the first time, they gave away reserved seat tickets, guaranteeing a seat in the bleachers, with no need to wait in line.
But the down side is that there are only 700 seats available. So they now have a random drawing of all the applications received (so long as they are postmarked by the correct date). Everyone now has an equal chance of getting bleacher seat tickets. Mind you, those chances aren't very good (about one out of 12, if last year is any indication), but at least you now have the same shot as everyone else.
BLEACHER SEAT TICKETS
They now use an online-only
(Internet) registration system to give away the free tickets. And you only
have a very brief window of opportunity in which to register.
for the 2012 Oscars show
If you don't have tickets,
you're better off not coming here in person. As the years pass,
security around the Oscar show has gotten more & more restrictive.
In 2011, they sealed off the entire block of Hollywood Blvd (west
of Highland), and fans who showed up hoping to catch a glimpse of the stars,
were held behind with a tall chain link fence on the east side of Highland.
(The only bright spot was George Clooney, who had the grace to walk over
to that fence and greet his fans.)
It got worse in 2012,
when they moved that fence a block east, to McCadden Place, where there
is basically nothing to see at all. So, don't bother coming that
night if you don't have bleacher seats.
Instead, come the week before Oscar
Night, and you can watch them setting up the giant
golden Oscar statues, and rolling out the red carpet. But on
Oscar Night itself, they won't let you near the place.
As for the show itself, the first movie stars start usually arriving at around 4 PM, a few as early as 3:30 PM (when the sun is still shining) for this black tie affair, but most of the celebs show up after 4:30 PM. By 5:30 PM, the stars are all inside and the show begins. The police block off the surrounding streets, and the stars say that just traveling the few blocks from the freeway to the auditorium can take an hour in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
The very first Oscars were handed out at a dinner held in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
For the next 14 years (1929-1943), the ceremonies alternated between the Biltmore Hotel and the Ambassador Hotel's Coconut Grove, where the awards ceremonies included a banquet for the stars. The banquet part was dropped after 1944, when the awards ceremony moved to Grauman's Chinese Theatre (1944-1946). Then for two years the show was held at the Shrine Auditorium (1947-1948). In the 1950's, the Oscar ceremonies settled down to the Pantages Theatre, where they remained until 1960. Then, from 1961 to 1968, the ceremony moved to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.
Finally, in 1969, the Oscars found what appeared to be a semi-permanent home downtown at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in the Los Angeles Music Center, where the ceremonies were held for most of the following years. In the mid-90's they began to alternate between the Music Center and the far larger Shrine Auditorium.
Finally, in 2002, a new, permanent home for the Oscars was built, and it returned the Oscars to downtown Hollywood where they started.
TrizecHahn Corp. built a massive $600 million project called 'Hollywood & Highland' on Hollywood Blvd., next to Grauman's Chinese Theatre, an outdoor mall filled with restaurants, boutiques and movie theatres. The center includes a 3,300-seat state-of-the-art Kodak theatre which has now become the permanent home for the annual Academy Award ceremonies. Included in the project is a 30,000-square foot ballroom for the annual Governor's Ball (which follows the ceremony).
Custom designed to meet the Academy's needs, with camera positions built-in, the new venue was created to be the perfect location for the annual awards show. The theatre has since been renamed the Dolby Theatre (since the Kodak company went bankrupt in 2012). During the rest of the year, the building is home to the live Cirque du Soleil show, "IRIS".)
Fittingly, the Oscars' new home is
right across the street from the Hollywood Roosevelt
Hotel, the site where the very first Academy
Awards ceremony was held in 1929.
The 79th annual awards show was presented on Sunday, February 25, 2007. The host was Ellen DeGeneres.
Presenters included Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Reese Witherspoon, Tobey Maguire, Queen Latifah, Jodie Foster, Kirsten Dunst, Will Ferrell, Penélope Cruz, Hugh Jackman, Diane Keaton, Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, Jessica Biel, Anne Hathaway, Jack Black, Rachel Weisz, Daniel Craig and Steve Carell.
Musical performers on the Oscar
show included Beyoncé,
and James Taylor.
In 2006, the awards show was held on Sunday, March 5, 2006. The host for the 2006 show was Jon Stewart.
Click here to see a list of last year's (2007) Oscar winner & nominees.
Presenters for 2006 included Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Morgan Freeman, Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, John Travolta, Keanu Reeves, George Clooney, Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Stiller, Jamie Foxx, Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Samuel L. Jackson,Charlize Theron, Queen Latifah, Will Ferrell, Salma Hayek, Owen Wilson, Uma Thurman, Jessica Alba, Terrence Howard, Naomi Watts, Steve Carell, Ludacris and Luke Wilson.
The host for the 2005 show was Chris Rock. Presenters included Halle Berry, Robin Williams, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson, Prince, Dustin Hoffman, Will Smith, Barbra Streisand, Al Pacino, Charlize Theron, John Travolta, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Winslet, Drew Barrymore, Pierce Brosnan, Tim Robbins, Orlando Bloom, Salma Hayek, Sean Penn, Annette Bening, Martin Scorsese, Adam Sandler, Renée Zellweger, Mike Myers, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jeremy Irons, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Sean Combs, Lily Tomlin, Penélope Cruz, Laura Linney and Emmy Rossum.
2005 performers included Beyoncé, Josh Groban and Counting Crows. Performers will include Antonio Banderas and Carlos Santana.
The host of the 2004 show was Billy Crystal. In addition to the nominees, presenters for the 2004 show included Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Robin Williams, Sandra Bullock, Angelina Jolie, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Carrey, Nicole Kidman, Tobey Maguire, John Travolta, Will Smith, Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery, Renee Zellweger, Susan Sarandon, Steven Spielberg, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta Jones, Charlize Theron, Tim Robbins, Pierce Brosnan, Diane Lane, Liv Tyler, Naomi Watts, Ian McKellan, Julianne Moore, Colin Farrell, Sofia Coppola, Uma Thurman, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Alec Baldwin, Chris Cooper, Francis Ford Coppola, Jamie Lee Curtis, Queen Latifah, Adrien Brody, John Cusack, Scarlett Johansson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jack Black and Will Ferrell. Performers/singers at the 2004 Oscar show included Annie Lennox, Sting, Eugene Levy and Elvis Costello.
("Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" won 11 Academy Awards in 2004, including "Best Picture", tying "Titanic" and "Ben-Hur" for the most Oscars ever.)
Other recent presenters (since 2000) have included
Denzel Washington, Brad Pitt, Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe, Meryl Streep,
Harrison Ford, Meg Ryan, Anthony Hopkins, Arnold Schwarzenegger,
Kevin Spacey, Cameron Diaz, Richard Gere, Michael Douglas,
Jodie Foster, Jennifer Lopez, Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Grant,
Ben Affleck, Winona Ryder, Edward Norton, Steven Spielberg, Jane
Fonda, Tommy Lee Jones, Jennifer Garner, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Connelly,
Sharon Stone, Kate Hudson, Nathan Lane, Ben Kingsley,
Dame Judi Dench, Ali MacGraw, Helen Hunt, Ryan O'Neal,
Angela Bassett, Ethan Hawke, Josh Harnett, Benicio Del Toro,
Juliette Binoche, James Coburn, Ryan Phillippe, Hugh Jackman,
Maggie Smith, Ian McKellen, Heather Graham, Ashley Judd,
Haley Joel Osment, Sarah Jessica Parker and Marcia Gay Harden.
For more information
about this year's event, call the
The Kodak Theatre is located in the new Hollywood & Highland center, in the heart of Hollywood, at the northwest corner of Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave.
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Copyright © 2015-Gary Wayne
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