ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
72°
Few Clouds
H 83° L 62°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    72°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 83° L 62°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    76°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 83° L 62°
  • clear-night
    63°
    Morning
    Mostly Clear. H 87° L 64°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Movies
What it’s really like to hit a red carpet
Close

What it’s really like to hit a red carpet

What it’s really like to hit a red carpet
Lois Cahall and Mark Ruffalo. (Contributed by Lois Cahall)

What it’s really like to hit a red carpet

 

For all you mean girls…the ones stuck-in-high-school-bully-mentality, those-ladies-who-lunch with their Berkins, in Bentleys, with Botox and Boobs, who snubbed me at your high society social events – maybe you should have thought twice.

Here’s the life little-ole-me led before moving to South Florida in self-imposed witness protection, to write my next novel, ride my bike, and to be as far away from “society” as possible. Except at my little event — The Academy Awards — this once valedictorian-nerd appeared in a shiny little publication, too: “Vanity Fair.”

I had been dividing my life between New York and England with my boyfriend, Simon Beaufoy, before moving cross-pond to Palm Beach in April of 2011. I chose Florida to escape to a “gentle” place to write my third book. (My first, “Plan C,” from Bloomsbury Press, was an international best seller. My second, “Court of the Myrtles,” is due out Mother’s Day.)

I remember the sheer look of terror on Simon’s face the morning they announced he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Screenplay for “127 Hours.” (Simon had previously swept every award for writing “Slumdog Millionaire.”) This was an honor, sure, but he knew what his tour-of-duty would entail, and it wasn’t sipping champagne in the trenches.

Up until now, his previous awards had been used as doorstoppers. A Golden Globe weighs 5.5 pounds, a WGA Award 7, an Oscar 8.5 pounds, and, well, just the right amount of weight and amount of statuettes to hold our 17 doors into the swing-open position at our Oxford England townhouse.

The promotions began with the BFI London Film Festival closing-night gala, with long red carpet, screaming and fainting women — you’d think Simon, director Danny Boyle (who directed the Olympics last summer, too) and actor James Franco were the Beatles! But when the premiere ended, it carried on. And I was right by his side.

There were constant flights — London to Los Angeles — that seemed 127 hours long! First the People’s Choice awards, then the 16th annual Critics Choice awards then the 68th Golden Globes, the 23rd Scripters, the 62nd WGA Awards, and back to London for the 35th BAFTA. Turn around to LA for the 26th Spirit Awards. And, well, you get my point.

Finally: The 83rd Academy Awards. That’s about when my super-sexy boyfriend turned into Oscar the Grouch. And the Oscars turned into “Occupy Sesame Street!”

For those who will never walk the mother of all carpets, here are 10 things you don’t know about the Oscars, from a nominee’s girlfriend who did.

1. “He makes so much money!” You’re not paid for the Oscars. For months you’re involved in a promotional tour.

Colin Firth summed it best: “Open your calendar and put a big red X through your life.” While all of you think you want to be there, “there” means counting the moments until you can wipe off the makeup, rip off the gown, put on your robe and order room service. Instead, you will be hugged, kissed, groped and photographed for the public to marvel at like some exotic pet. Every PR itinerary begins with these words: “We appreciate your publicity commitment on behalf of ‘X’ film. Below please find your current schedule.” Five pages on how your life will run. Not a second to pee. Not even in the privacy of your room, because there are constant ringing phones, and notes slipped under your door.

There are awards luncheons, dinners, photo shoots, tea parties, cocktail parties and Q & A’s. Mark Wahlberg was at a dinner/screening for “The Fighter” when an audience member raised her hand. Mark said, “I know you have a lot of questions, but “I’m going to have a heart attack if I don’t get some sleep.” And then, “Where’s the men’s room?”

2.“You get all those free clothes!” Unless you’re Natalie Portman, you often buy your own gowns, tuxes and shoes. Though they might throw accessories at you. And then you’ll pay for your own psychiatrist, too. Upon arriving at an event, you wait inside your Escalade in long security lines so they can check under your hood for bombs. By the time you step onto the red carpet, your bladder is bursting through the sequins, so you can no longer fit into that expensive gown. Btw, probably a good time to mention you get these zany gift bags for being a nominee, sans Chanel inside, but full of teeth-whitening strips, faux-diamond-studded cowboy belts and even a neon pink thong.

3. “You get to be on the red carpet!” Actually there are TWO parallel red carpets. One to the right for VIP guests (some producers) sipping champagne and star gazing at the carpet to the left – the real one — where “Yippee, you’re a nominee!” I got to be on that red carpet. That carpet means no cells, no drinks, hot melting lights, and no peeing. Simon told me during Slumdog he attempted to leave the red carpet to find a bathroom and security refused him back in. I wasn’t about to miss his special moment…I remember thinking I could just tinkle right here…literally on the red carpet, right down my leg, concealed under my gown, step away from the puddle and let Penelope Cruz – just behind me — take the blame. Harvey Weinstein shared my sentiment aloud: “Where can a guy take a F*&#@K-ing leak?”

In the meantime, while performing kegel exercises, the chain-gang of nominees moves slowly down a line that wraps for miles as microphones pick up every peep… like Tom Hooper addressing me, “You’re gorgeous, sweetheart,” and Simon saying, “don’t be flirting with the hot director, Poppet.” Colin mouthed me the word “hangover” from all our late night martinis. That man should have won an award for holding his liquor sans bathroom.

4. And never text. I was texting Andres Heinz (the Academy-neglected nominee who wrote “Black Swan”): “Why the F*&*K! aren’t you here?!” Ryan Seacrest had his cameraman zoom in on my screen. Seconds later I received a text from a friend in Boston: “Stop texting! I can see what you’re texting! On national TV!”

5. With all of America watching you, you don’t have to prove anything. You’ve already proved it, wrote it, acted it, directed it. But here, in Palm Beach, the definition of proving means something else since so many PB women don’t have talent, they have jewelry. The question between the nominees isn’t “what label is she wearing?” or “Is she skinnier than me?” Quite the contrary the Oscars are “God, she did a better acting job. I wonder if she’ll take the gold. Because as soon as this is over. I can go back to the hotel and get some sleep.”

6. Starvation diet. By the time you’ve wrapped the red carpet, the courtesy bar has been shut. After a day that began at 11 a.m. sans lunch, dehydrated and starving, it’s now 5 p.m. — time to take your seat. We sat in row four from the stage, parched for water, and pasting on a happy face. Our cameraman squatted inches from director Danny Boyle (next to me), shoving a camera up his nose for two hours. Danny, a master at this, clapped and smiled while I scratched, shifted, fixed and fidgeted about like a toddler.

7. “Which awards are most fun?” The Golden Globes. Round tables of luscious food and wine. But if you’re a suspected winner, you shouldn’t drink. Colin Firth couldn’t drink. Paul Giamatti thought he could. He and I sat next to each other sharing a few good bottles of red. And when they announced him as the unexpected winner for “Barney’s Version,” he spit his chocolate into my napkin, walked shockingly to the stage with an unprepared opening line of “How ‘bout them Godivas?”

8. “Do you know you’ll win ahead of time?” No. But after a few awards you suspect who the front runner is. On a flight to L.A., Simon and I had just reclined our seats when this woman dressed in black – like she stepped out of “Sweeney Todd” — approached us down the darkened aisle: Helena Bonham Carter. She explained she planned to sew her acceptance speech inside her gown — either Vivienne Westwood or Colleen Atwood, she hadn’t decided. Helena proceeded to plop down on the airplane floor to discuss. This was all fine except we had just popped an Ambien with a glass of champagne. Airplanes are the only place you can drink, sleep and pee.

9. “Are the other stars nice?” Yes. You bond like “summer camp for grownups” except instead of roasted marshmallows, flashlights and ghost stories, you’re huddled into late-night gossip at the bar. There’s the “elevator exhale,” where celebrities discussed Natalie’s baby bump or how Aaron Sorkin’s fake tan turned more orange with each award. Or how poor (“Black Swan” director) Darren Aronofsky’s girlfriend left him. For James Bond! The elevator ‘dings’ and some person enters all thrilled to ride with a star. They exit and we go back to our inside talks with Ca-ca-Colin (we always did the “Kings” stutter) and joked he was on the “Weinstein churn.”

10. “What’s it like when it’s over?” You go home. Back to the life you lost six months ago. The end is the “Vanity Fair” party. There was a very emotional moment when our nominee friends all stood in a small circle amidst the explosion of stars and paparazzo. Writer Michael Arndt (“Toy Story 3”), joined our hands, and everything went bubble-incubated silent. And like Slinky, Big Baby, Mr. Potato Head, Barbie and Ken, we saw that incinerator of reality just ahead. Our gig was up.

Would we do it all again? Sure. Every miserable Grouchy Oscar moment. But first, where can we find a loo?

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • Six people were shot early Monday in a Florida neighborhood, the Sanford Police Department said. The shooting was reported shortly before 6:30 a.m. at a home on Hays Drive in Sanford, police said. >> Read more trending news Investigators said a gunman went to the home of someone he knows and shot two adults, an 8-year-old boy and a 7-year-old boy. One adult died. The other adult and the two children were taken to a hospital in critical condition, investigators said. Detectives said the gunman then fled the home and randomly shot two bystanders in the roadway, critically wounding them both. An officer who was in the area was able to subdue the gunman, who was arrested, police said. Authorities did not immediately identify the victims or the suspected gunman. Investigators said the initial shooting appeared to be domestic in nature. No other details were given. Check back at WFTV.com for updates.
  • A number of questions remain, after a woman was found dead on the Northside.   According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the woman was found dead inside a home off 59th Street, though they aren't revealing how she died or her identity at this time.   However, police tell us the woman's car is missing.   They're now trying to find the gold 2010 Buick Lacrosse, with Florida tag 275LLJ.
  • A couple has been indicted on accusations that they murdered their deaf teenage son and then burned down their house to cover up the crime, the Associated Press reported. >> Read more trending news  According to the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office in New York, Ernest F. Franklin II, 35, and his wife, Heather Franklin, 33, of Guilford, New York, were charged with second-degree murder, arson and tampering with physical evidence. The two were indicted Friday on charges of second-degree murder in the death of their adopted son, 16-year-old Jeffrey Franklin, People magazine reported. Following an investigation of a fire on March 1 at the family’s 1,300-square-foot home, the couple was arrested. Investigators believe they set fire to their home to cover up the killing of their son. An autopsy determined he died prior to the fire, according to the sheriff’s office. Local law authorities have not said how or when the boy was killed. The Franklins got married in 2011 and adopted Jeffrey six or seven years ago, the sheriff’s office said. According to People magazine, Ernest is an Iraq War veteran. Heather wrote in posts on her Facebook page that she is pregnant. The Franklins are being held without bail. They entered a plea of not guilty. “People are asking themselves, ‘How could this happen?'” Chenango County Sheriff Ernest Cutting Jr. told People magazine. “Certainly for the public here, it’s a mix of anger and frustration and disappointment.” Just days before Heather Franklin was arrested, she posted an update on her Facebook page about how much she missed her son, who she called JR. She also informed friends and family that she and her husband had added their “needs” and “wants” to the CheckedTwice.com Family Gift Registry because they lost everything in the fire. A GoFundMe page was also established, but it has been taken down. The Associated Press reported that police who responded to a 911 call about 1:15 a.m. on March 1 found the Franklin’s house, located about an hour away from Syracuse, engulfed in flames. Jeffrey was inside and unable to escape the fire, according to the sheriff’s office. Authorities initially said the cause of the fire appeared to be a wood stove, the residence’s main heating source. “People are wondering how anybody could do something so brutal to a developmentally disabled and handicapped 16-year-old boy,” Cutting told People. “There are a lot of people who would have taken him. There are organizations that would have taken care of him. Why resort to that? … It’s just a terrible, terrible tragedy.”
  • A beloved music teacher from San Jose Elementary will no doubt be on the hearts and minds of students and staff as they return from spring break. Deborah Liles was found dead in her Panama Park home on the northside late last week. Her car was recovered over the weekend not far from her home. Liles' gold 2010 Buick LaCrosse was found on Golfair Boulevard on Saturday and JSO is now asking for the public's help identifying who was driving it.  Neighbors said police found the car behind an abandoned house near Notter Avenue. Police call the case a murder, and Liles’ children said she'd been a victim of several crimes in the past. “I don’t know about the circumstances. I don’t know if they’re coincidences happening. I don’t know if there’s a connection between what happened then and what happened now,' Liles' daughter Rachel Sirmans said. 'We really want to find those answers.” 'Just the condolences, completely unknown numbers that text us…I was your mother's music student in third grade and I'm in high school now”, said Liles’ son Gerald. JSO says this is an active ongoing investigation.   Anyone who knows anything about this murder is asked to contact the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous and receive a possible reward up to $3,000 contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
  • Hannah Eimers, 17, was driving her father’s car in November when she lost control of the vehicle and slammed into a guardrail on the driver’s side, killing her. Months later, Eimers’ father received a bill from the Tennessee Department of Transportation to replace the guardrail. According to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Steven Eimers got the $3,000 bill four months after Hannah’s death but refused to pay it and called the model of the guardrail “horribly designed.” He told the News-Sentinel that he couldn't believe that the state would “bill my daughter for the defective device that killed her.” >> Read more trending news Rather than deflecting the car or absorbing its impact, the guardrail, which was removed from the department’s list of approved products a week before the crash, reportedly impaled the vehicle and struck Hannah in the head and chest, killing her instantly. “I’m shocked,” Eimers told the News-Sentinel. “The audacity. What bothers me is that they’re playing Russian roulette with people’s lives. They know these devices do not perform at high speeds and in situations like my daughter’s accident, but leave them in place.” Mark Nagi, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, insisted that the bill was sent as a result of a “mistake somewhere in processing' and apologized. He also said Eimers will not have to pay the bill, which covered both the cost of labor and materials. Read more here.

The Latest News Videos