This weekend, I was lucky enough to score a ticket to watch the red carpet at the Oscars. From Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper to Amanda Seyfried and Hugh Jackman, it was an exciting parade of stars—and an opportunity to get an inside look at how the red carpet really works. (Glamorous? Yes. Utter and complete insanity? Double yes.)
9:45am My friend and I arrive at check-in after passing two security checkpoints (there were policemen everywhere and streets were completely closed to outside traffic) to get our security passes and bleacher seat assignments.
10am We settle in to our seats and survey the scene below where tons of press outlets are shooting short segments to be used later in the day. The hosts of Oscar Road Trip, who have driven an Oscar cross-country from New York to LA, show up in the stands with a statuette—for the first time—and let fans hold it. It is every bit as shiny (and apparently heavy) as it looks on TV.
11am Manny Delgado from Modern Family comes into the stands to shoot footage for The Oscars pre-show. People are excited and on their feet since he’s the first bonafide celeb of the day.
12:30pm Even though our seats are under a large tent, the afternoon sun is really beating down. My friend and I abandon our posts after grabbing lunch and retreat to a small lounging area to enjoy the shade. We’re not allowed off the premises, even with our badges, so we kill time by chatting with other fans. T-minus two hours until the real festivities begin.
2pm From the lounging area, we see cameras flashing and run back to our seats. We arrive in time to see Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne, Maria Menounos, and Mario Lopez jet down the carpet to get in place before the stars arrive. Straight across from us, Kristin Chenoweth sets up shop for the ABC pre-show, and Al Roker is busily preparing to grab stars for his Today Show coverage.
3pm Stars begin arriving and it’s clear that the interview process is long. There are more than 50 outlets all trying to grab celebs for interviews, and it takes each person roughly 45 minutes to move about 150 feet. Jessica Chastain is one of the first to show up with her gorgeous Hollywood waves.
4pm The carpet is out.of.control. It’s packed to the brim with people, and trying to spot anyone (celebrity or otherwise) is like playing a frenetic game of Where’s Waldo? My eyes start to hurt from focusing and refocusing on all of the faces.
4:15pm Channing Tatum arrives. Embarrassingly, I have a full-blown teen girl crush on him even though I am in my late twenties. This picture feels like my greatest (pixelated) snapshot ever.
4:30pm My head is spinning from all of the faces, gowns, and hair (even though it’s hard to see, I’m trying to pick apart Amanda Seyfried’s multi-section updo) that I’ve seen. It feels a little silly to be so excited, but there is something palpably electric about seeing actors like Christopher Plummer, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Sally Field dressed to the nines for the event—like you’re getting a taste of Hollywood in Marilyn Monroe’s era.
4:45pm Almost every star has stopped to wave and say hi to the fans. (Fun fact: many of the female stars have helpers holding the trains of their dresses so they can race down the carpet). Particularly entertaining: Anne Hathaway’s gesture to us that we raise the roof (in her evening gown—holler) and Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence hamming it up with each other.
5pm George Clooney and Ben Affleck are two of the last stars to appear, and Clooney takes the opportunity with so few people around to run over to the stands and sign autographs and shake hands. I don’t want to admit it, but as he hops over the velvet ropes to come say hi it’s evident that he is almost unbearably charming.
5:15pm It’s pretty much a wrap! The carpet has emptied out and the show is about to start. My butt is officially frozen into the shape of a bleacher seat, but it was worth it to have such a close-up seat to see all the glamour. (Amy Adam’s Oscar de la Renta gown looked that much more fluffy and gorgeous in person.)
Next year, though, I think I’ll stick with the other Birchbox eds and enjoy the show from the comfort of a living room with grub, cocktails, and Ryan Seacrest’s brilliant interviewing skills.
Can’t get enough Oscars? Don’t miss our Top 5 Beauty Looks from the Red Carpet!