I was lucky enough to be inside the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre this morning while the 83rd Annual Academy Award Nominations were announced. Here is a timeline and some insider information on how the morning played out:
2 AM : Time to wake up and get ready for the announcements. Since the nominations are coordinated with morning shows on the East Coast, I knew I would have to try and get some sleep before I had to be up in the middle of the night. My bed time? 5:37 PM. Just enough beauty sleep for this 2 AM wake up call.
3:30 AM: My official call time over at the Academy's headquarters in Beverly Hills. I arrive to find a huge breakfast buffet filled with bacon, bagels, and every caffeinated delight helping me to greet the day. It's a good thing there is a lot of food and caffeine since The Academy keeps all of the journalists, reporters, and TV crews in the lobby for the next hour and a half. It's a good opportunity to mix and mingle. It is here that I first spotted Nancy O'Dell for "ET", Chris Harrison of "The Bachelor" and ABC.com, and Lauren Sanchez of "Extra".
5 AM: They finally begin to let some of the crews into the theatre. First into the theatre are crews with the major news outlets like E!, "ET", "The Insider", CNN, and AP. They do their final set-up and get into place.
5:20 AM: The rest of us are admitted to the theatre as many race up the stairs to grab the remaining spots in the theatre. The bigger news outlets have reserved spots while the smaller outlets elbow their way to the middle of the pack. Once we have our seats and camera stationed, the ticking clock reminds us that there are less than 10 minutes until the official announcement.
5:38 AM: The announcements begin! Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President, Tom Sherak, takes to the stage and introduces last year's Best Supporting Actress winner, Mo'Nique, to assist with the proceedings. Mo'Nique looks gorgeous, but there isn't much time to note her fashion choice because they dive right into announcing the nominees. I can barely keep up as I furiously scribble on my notepad, "Amy Adams, HBC, M. Leo, Hailee Steinfeld, Jackie Weaver/Animal Kingdom". I thought I would have a moment to breathe, but they were already onto the next category. More abbreviations appear on my sheet: "CB (Christian Bale), John Hawkes, Jerem Ren, Mark R., Geoffrey." It gets worse from there as "Toy Story 3" became "TS3". You get the idea, the nominations went by in a blink of an eye.
5:42 AM: It's over and now the press rushes to the stage area to grab photos and interviews with Tom Sherak, Mo'Nique, and Oscar show Executive Producers, Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer. The theatre becomes a sea of reporters giving their thoughts on the nominations and shooting their stand-ups. In this corner, Jerry Penacoli from "Extra", over here; George Pennacchio from KABC, and over there, Cat Sadler from "E! News".
6:30 AM: The shoot is complete as I grab one final hot chocolate to go. The heels immediately come off in the car and I exchange my dress for pajamas the second I hit my house. My final mission will be to grab a nap on my couch before the day is over!
A couple of interesting things to note about today's announcement:
1. If you think you have an opinion about the nominations, the press definitely has their favorites too. The press went wild when Jacki Weaver, Michelle Williams, and John Hawkes' names were announced. They went downright crazy when Javier Bardem's name was called.
2. Michelle Williams has come a long way. She is now a two-time nominee and a voting Academy member. It sure beats 2006 when AMPAS thought she wasn't ready for membership (but Dakota Fanning was!)and did not accept her into the Academy even after her Best Supporting Actress nod for "Brokeback Mountain."
3. Finally, I have no idea what media outlet this reporter worked for, but the guy sitting next to me dropped a lot of expletives during a few of the categories including Best Director. I know many are upset about the exclusion of Christopher Nolan in this category, but this guy had a near meltdown. The second the nominations were over, he fled the room as if he were running from the apocalypse.
Well, that's a wrap! I am off to take a nap and then join the rest of the world. I will be covering the 83rd Annual Academy Awards from the red carpet and from backstage, so I hope you join me through the rest of Oscar season.