Last Sunday night was not just Sunday night…it was Oscar Night. The worldwide frenzy over Hollywood’s Academy Awards always reminds me of the insane years I spent held captive by my own frenzied ambition to become a professional screenwriter. Yes, I did sell a few scripts and get a few little movies produced, but mostly, all that led to this: making my own webisodes, blogging and writing a book called False Confessions of a True Hollywood Screenwriter. I’ll publish the book as an e-book soon and let you know where to find it. Meanwhile, here’s an except about my initiation into Hollywood’s life-or-death awards night.
My first Oscar Week was bizarro. Famous stars, directors and producers descended upon our little town like locusts on corn, or potatoes, or whatever it is that they devour. You couldn’t go out to dinner without being forced to dine with Emma Thompson, Quentin Tarantino or Spike Lee. Adoring fans gathered across from popular celeb haunts like The Four Seasons, Beverly Hills Hotel, the Peninsula and the Beverly Wilshire to scream and take photos when their favorite star emerged to dive into his limo.
I spent Oscar Night at Women in Film’s Academy Awards viewing party at The House of Blues. Leaving about 11:00 in a stream of industry folks headed to other parties, I had a relatively quick run from Sunset to Melrose. But then I came upon an amazing sight: bumper-to-bumper limos as far as I could see.
One of the biggest parties every Oscar Night is held at Morton’s. It’s the Vanity Fair party and all the award winners are there. Little did I know I had merged into the wrong lane and somehow was trapped in the never-ending parade of limos circling the blocks around Morton’s. So there I was in my old silver Saab in a sluggish river of shiny new black and white stretch limos, going round and round.
I did get to see Whoopi Goldberg waving to crazed fans as she went into Morton’s. The throng cordoned off across the street from Morton’s screamed out stars’ names as they popped out of their limos. It was near hysteria as I slowly cruised by in the crush of luxury autos.
After circling the event four times in the stream of limos, I finally nosed my way into the escape lane, ran a red light and fled south until I hit stalled traffic near The Four Seasons.
I finally caught on to the limo logic and realized there was nowhere for hundreds of limos to park, so the drivers had to keep on driving. That made every street in Beverly Hills a slow-moving parking lot. Instead of going ballistic as I usually did in gridlock, I decided to enjoy the Oscar Night cruising.
I let myself get caught in all the important traffic jams. I did the Vanity Fair traffic jam again, then took a detour to Chasen’s, where one of the big hoodoos was hoodooing. I may not have gone to the Oscars or gotten into any of the big parties, but I was rubbing bumpers with Tom Hanks and Carrot Top. At least that should count for something.