They arrived by the hundreds. About 400 hundred to be exact. TV reporters, entertainment trade writers, international correspondents and most importantly of all good old Latin Heat Magazine itself, represented at the Academy Award nominations by yours truly whose car trouble the night before meant a 3:26 AM bus ride to Wilshire Blvd from that other heart of the entertainment Capital of the world, Alhambra CA.
It's a very still, very strange time of morning. It was so early there literally was no earlier bus to be had. Lions, Tigers and Heffalumps roam the streets those hours along with what I could have sworn was Amelia Earheart, D.B. Cooper and Enid Coleslaw (Ghost World reference points anyone?). Through the eerie quiet mist of this morning before morning as I know it on a rather odd route through Whittier Boulevard to Wilshire on the Metro Rapid in under an hour (Who knew such a thing was possible!) I made my way to the hallowed halls of the Academy.
Unless the malodorous gentleman next to me was reporting on the awards for a malt liquor company, I believe I was the only one off at this stop and my first site was an agitated woman from the foreign press who had been ousted from the building for not getting her credential on time. I explained to her that 5:00 PM the previous day was the deadline, not 5 AM Tuesday morning. Imagine having to explain THAT to your editor!
Making it barely on time for the announcements, I was greeted by a makeshift metal detector and some serious looking security gentlemen, but all went well ? with the exception of a ?Chasing Papi? DVD ? no other bombs were found on the premises.
As my eyes dart towards the red staircase which leads into the auditorium (Thankfully Joan and Melissa free) I do a double take and witness a glorious site: a truly Elvis-sized breakfast buffet. From Total cereal to gourmet bagels, pastries, coffee and bacon so good I hope to be buried with it someday, it?s a thousand times better then the mystery meat sausage thingy and greasy hash browns I figured I would have to grab a little later at a fast food joint. I am no Ebert but major thumbs up from the Academy for feeding the world's starving and bleary-eyed gossip and showbiz folk. We truly are the world and I mean that, man!
But I am jumping ahead of myself, Duty called ,so up I climbed up the stars but the funny thing is how brief the announcements actually are. It?s literally mere minutes as Oscar winner Adrian Brody and Academy president Frank Pierson approach the podium and in rapid fire style spew out the names and categories and are gone faster then you can say ?Hey, there's a new Ben Affleck movie opening!? It?s like Awardus-Interruptus.
It?s then the horde of reporters (herd mentality never seemed more correctly named) rush the tables right out the auditorium doors where publicists risk their hand being cutoff while the media mavens snap up the thick Oscar Press packets from their paws, which will take four times longer to thumb through then the announcements themselves.
Loud phone calls follow barking out names of the winners and the neglected (?Giamatti got screwed!!!? yelled one) some go to the buffet with their laptops, others gossip why so and so got passed over while other heavy hitter network types remain in the auditorium, their faces resplendent against the wicked white TV lighting.
So are these my people? I don?t know. I am new at attending these awards, though I have met my fair share of celebrities in the last three years. I often smile to myself at the unreality of being on the inside of the looking glass in these situations and I wonder if those making a handsome living in this sparkling toy department of life appreciate how lucky they are. I am not there myself, but I wouldn?t kick it out of bed.
As for me, well I know its shallow but while I enjoyed seeing George Pinacchio who seemed to be a real nice guy, my lack of a Sam Rubin sighting was a disappointment. It was like when I was kid and you go to a Dodger game and learn too late Steve Garvey has taken the day off.
My Oscar nominations badge is hanging on my door as I write this, and sadly, its superpowers have vanished and I don?t believe it qualifies me to make any kind of citizen's arrest I am aware of. I don?t know if I?m going to the ?big? show (Hint, hint Academy) but I did enjoy my moment in the sun even if it was less than 15 minutes.
Mark Sotelo won't forget where he started, right here in LatinoLA.com (Thanks Abelardo) and for more coverage of Latinos in the entertainment world check out http://www.latinheat.com