Welp. One of my pals, Seamus, went and got nominated for an Oscar this year - Best Cinematography for Anna Karenina. And if you've seen it, you understand why. It's real pretty.
I was invited to come along with him and photograph some of the behind the scenes at the Oscar's Nominee's Luncheon, which is just like any other fancy business lunch except that famous people are there. Like, all of them. Oh, and there are photographers. SO annoying. Wait, no we love those.
So I'm going to tell you every detail so that if you ever get the chance to go to one of these events, you'll know exactly what to do.
First, sit in a wheelbarrow.
Then, look around the room. Is there a weirdly shaped instrument lying around?
Play the hell out of it. The limo guy has shown up that's ok. Get centered, man.
Actually, maybe you could hurry just a little.
There will be three items in the limo waiting for you: perrier, mints, and hand sanitizer. Yes, hand sanitizer. Why? Because celebrities are riddled with germs.
Once you get to the Beverly Hilton, a very nice woman "from the studio" will hand you a card that tells you where you're sitting. Make as many Douglas Adams jokes as you possibly can.
If you're with the hardworking, talented and ingenious crew of artists who are directors, cameramen, stylists and set designers you will sit in one section, and if you're a celebrity, you will be placed at a table in the center of the room, I'm pretty sure to protect the rest of us from germs.
You WILL have a lot of eye candy to react to so enjoy it. There's something here for everyone.
Seamus: Linda, there's Ben Affleck!
Linda: OMG, grapefruit salad!!
Speaking of lunch, it will be amazing. There might even be sea bass and mint tea and baby carrots. Waiters will emerge magically from behind the walls, holding enormous platters of chocolate covered fruit and fudgey liqueur bites. Stuff as much of these into your mouth as you can so that when you do get introduced to Ben Affleck, the lower part of your face will be covered in strawberry bits and fudge. Stare him down like you totally planned this.
You may be engaged in conversation with people who care about your well being instantaneously: Janusz Kaminski, Steven Speilberg's right-hand cinematographer, was kind enough to ask me if I had a sister. It was nice of him to make sure I wasn't all alone in the world. And I wasn't. I had all this chocolate, and all these new friends who were carrying the chocolate.
At other times you'll be talking to one of your heroes and you won't even realize it.
That evening at one of the Oscar loungey parties, I talked to a very sweet, unassuming new friend named Tim for 20 minutes when I overheard Seamus say to one of his other friends "...this is Tim Burton" and I nudged Tim and whispered something like "Holy shit, Tim Burton is here!"
It's practically impossible to end the day on a better note. Unless of course...
I accidentally found Snoop Dogg spinning records in the back of the room like it was no big deal, right next to the buffet table, which I was obviously headed towards.
Snoop looked over at me smiling and swaying back and forth, holding a giant plate of mashed potatoes. He started to sway back and forth too.
And then he pointed at me.
And then we hugged.
Afterwards he grabbed the mic and said "Hugging the little babies in the house, y'all."
I'm pretty darned sure Mister Dogg was referring to me. I win.