Patt Morrison was lucky enough to be invited to the Oscars this year! She gives us the scoop on what she saw and what it was like to be 5th row at Hollywood's biggest night of the year.
The red carpet walk into the Dolby Theater was like walking through the bottom of a canyon, with high bleachers of screaming fans on one side (None of them, mercifully, screaming for me), and on the other, ranks and ranks of photographers.
I did hear someone call my name, though. It turned out to be Senator Barbara Boxer, dressed in spring green and there with her daughter Nicole, the executive producer of "The Invisible War," the harrowing Oscar-nominated documentary about American military women sexually assaulted by their male comrades-in-arms.
I was there in the second-floor women’s bathroom for the now-famous toilet explosion before the Oscars. It didn’t leak: it BLEW. It sprayed, it gushed, and we all beat a hasty retreat as the water came after us. I heard they brought in wet-dry vacs to clean it up.
My fifth-row-center seat gave me a vantage point I’d never even thought of, after years of watching the show on television. The nominees and the big Hollywood faces were just a few seats away, true, but what impressed me was the sense of being in a Broadway-show audience. Things that may not have come across on television were immensely impressive in person. I could see the performers actually performing, seeing from a few yards away how hard Catherine Zeta-Jones worked at that dance number, and Adele doing a diva’s work with her songs.
In my row, across the aisle, Best Actress nominee Emmanuelle Riva had someone whispering a translation of the events into her ear. She’d never been to L.A. before, doesn’t speak English, and Oscar sunday was her 86th birthday. Across the aisle on my right were Tony Kushner, nominated for his "Lincoln" screenplay, and Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush.
I followed Kristen Stewart out of the Dolby, giving a wide berth to her voluminous dress as she picked her painful way on crutches down the ramp out of the theatre. She’s not much given to easy smiles but her painful grimaces were more than justified – I read she'd cut her foot badly on broken glass a few days before.
The Governors’ Ball afterwards was the letdown – as in letting your hair down – after the weeks of buildup and tension. I talked to Ang Lee – I’d interviewed him some years ago after "The Ice Storm' – who was not letting go of his Best Director Oscar for a moment. And I ran into our own Comedy Congress’ Ben Gleib, who’d been on a road tour with an Oscar before Sunday night.
My favorite hors d’oeuvre was the one that made me laugh: flatbread with smoked salmon and caviar, cut in the shape of an Oscar, like the Academy Awards’ version of a bell- or holly-shaped christmas cookie.
I did hear someone say that the plastic trash bag that Bradley Cooper wore in "Silver Linings Playbook" had to be custom made, because a real plastic bag turned out to make too much noise. That’ll be an answer to some Academy Awards trivia question in years to come, so take notes.