RSVIP: Notes From the Academy Awards Red Plush and More
The Backstory: I won't give the year, but in High School, back in Falls Church, Virginia, Cohen introduced me to his close friend, then known as Julie (nee Smith), a sweet redheaded sophomore. We went on exactly one date, Homecoming. Bruce was always the hyper-organized one, who made all the posters for class elections. At Yale, we were in the same film class. As RSVIP practically lives on the red carpet, I have run into both him and Julie (now Julianne Moore) every few months over the past 20 years.
And on Oscar Sunday, Februry 27, true to his word, Cohen invited RSVIP inside the world's largest red-carpet media bubble.
12:44 p.m. Fans shrieked in the bleachers facing the Oz-like red carpet, flanked with giant Oscar icons. And human-sized Oscar statues loomed in a line down the center of the red plush. Members of the Marines, Navy, Army, and Air Force in full uniform anchored the grandstands brimming with slack-jawed fans.
12:55 p.m. Cojo arrived in a tux with blue lapels. Fans shrieked as he busted a dance move. Mary Hart wore a black sequined Barbie dress, Nancy O'Dell, left, chose aqua. Tim Gunn, above, had a neatly shorn coif.
12:49 p.m. RSVIP caught Al Roker yawning as he faced the quarter-mile of red pile. A chill breeze swept through the clear plastic dome over the center of the carpet, and Nancy O'Dell wrapped herself up in a pashmina. Mario Lopez, wearing a tux and a diamond-encrusted watch, mentioned to a friend, "Boy, the ladies without sleeves must be cold."
2:39 p.m. Two PriceWaterhouseCooper suits toted the results down the carpet in black leather satchels. Then Wolfgang Puck swept by with salmon apps and desserts from the Governor's Ball. He tossed chocolate Oscars into the stands and the fans yelped.
2:51 p.m. Lisa Falcone, a New York-based producer of "127 Hours," mentioned that the 300-year old mine-cut diamond pendant around her neck was upwards of 40 carats.
3:28 p.m. Melissa Leo arrived in a long white doily of a dress with much gold sparkle, followed by Amy Adams, wearing a blue beaded number by L'Wren Scott and emeralds.
3:30 p.m. Jennifer Lawrence, right, the young star of "Winter's Bone," trod the carpet with her two brothers, her parents, and a brother-in-law. "We didn't time it very well today," she told RSVIP. "I thought I was an hour late."
The dress? "Calvin Klein collection," she said. "I'm going to be sitting for a while, so I didn't want a corset." Designer Nicole Miller accidentally stepped on Lawrence's train.
By 4:00 p.m, a half-hour later, every star had arrived, so the famous faces were flying by fast and furiously.
A few highlights: Aron Ralston, who lived the story of "127 Hours," arrived with his beautiful wife. He told us it's okay to cry watching his story. "I've seen it ten times," he told Luxist. "And I still cry."
Mark Ruffalo's wife, Sunrise Coigney, left, said she was practically sewn into her dress and that her husband, the star of "The Kids Are All Right," had to help her get into it. What will they do when it's all over? "Escape to Jamaica with our kids for ten days."
"When I was a starving actor," said Ruffalo, "there were a bunch of crackheads laying around everywhere on Hollywood Boulevard. And now look at this! Even the journalists are saying, like, 'Hey, man, you made it!'"
Jennifer Hudson had borrowed from Versace. Director David O. Russell, standing beside her, joked about trampling her giant train. RSVIP
mentioned that we'd seen her baby at the Beverly Hills Hotel. "That was my little Munchkin," she said. "He goes everywhere with me. And if he's not with me, he's backstage creating his own audience. The other day, Sandra Bullock said, 'Oh, my God, he kissed me. I'm in love.'"
Russell mentioned that he didn't expect his film "The Fighter," to win. "We'd like to deliver a seventh-round body punch," he said. "But even without that, we've already won."
Rupert Murdoch's wife, Wendi Deng, noted that her massive emeralds were from Lorraine Schwartz, but added, "Yeah, I own these."
Trend alert: Annette Bening, in a long, sparkling silver gown, also had on serious emeralds.
A woman knelt down down and smooched Gwyneth Paltrow's hand while she was being interviewed. "Ewwww," Paltrow said after she left.
Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, far right, also had on Lorraine Schwartz jewelry. "I'm just keeping my fingers crossed for my husband [Harvey Weinstein] tonight."
Helena Bonham Carter lifted the skirts of her massive Colleen Atwood gown to show me a Union Jack hanging from her garter. "We all have
secrets," she quipped. Next, she displayed a bracelet with a bee and an hourglass. "I've got a little timer. See, time's up," she said, marching on.
"Blue Valentine" nominee Michelle Williams, tiny in person, said she "couldn't pee alone" in her dress. What makes her feel beautiful? "When I left my daughter, she said so, when I was eating breakfast this morning," answered Williams, left.
I tapped Bruce Cohen on the shoulder as he passed. He had a photographer take a picture of us together. "The surprise is going to be the look of the show," he told RSVIP. "Seven times, we're going back to the past, previous movies, previous events. How we do that, what happens when we get there, will surprise people."
Russell Brand bringing his mum, Barbara, was also a shocker. "I love her," he told RSVIP, launching into a veritable comedy routine. "I grew up in there, nine months. Then I came out, and I'm here now."
Any tricks getting ready? "Well, yes," Brand said. "She took quite a lot of drugs this morning--smack, crack, meth, uppers, downers, benders. I said, 'Mum, you're going to the Oscars. You're going to need more drugs.'"
"I'm having a lovely time," she offered sweetly.
Armie Hammer, who played both Winklevoss twins in "The Social Network," had a touch of blood on his collar. Shaving accident?
And Matthew McConaughey, one of the last to arrive, had on a Dolce and Gabbana tux and a Brioni shirt. "It's a challenge to walk," said his girlfriend, Camilla Alves, navigating the carpet in a sprawling dress by Kaufman Franco.
Backstage during the show, RSVIP was privy to a couple of zingers. Natalie Portman, right, mentioned that she and Benjamin Millepied don't know the sex of their child, but it had been kicking "during the song portion of the show."
Colin Firth refused to succumb to the urge to dance that he mentioned in his speech, saying that we should understand why. "Have you seen 'Mamma Mia?'" Good point.
If readers recall, Melissa Leo called out for Dickie Eklund to yell out "Banana" when she was onstage accepting her award, but he was actually at the bar with Christian Bale. "I was with Dickie and my wife," admitted Bale backstage. "I thought it was just like the other awards, where you could just wander in and not be barred outside. But, unfortunately, I missed Melissa's acceptance speech. I was literally banging on the door with Dickie, saying, 'Let us in.'"
10:30 p.m. RSVIP arrived at Sir Elton John's afterparty in a giant tent beside the Pacific Design center while Florence and the Machine was performing "Tiny Dancer" with John. What a treat! Florence, left, has a young, fun hippie energy onstage and had everyone jumping to wake up.
The grand dinner tent was decorated with chairs covered in orange silk. Prince wandered in during the concert, and Jamie Foxx was seated at table 76. We also spotted Heidi Klum in a mirrored dress that she claimed to have used Windex to clean.
It was new dad Elton John's 19th Academy Awards Viewing Party to benefit his eponymous AIDS Foundation. RSVIP loved the Godiva bar. And DJ Johnny Dynell, who founded the legendary night club Jackie's 60 in New York, was spinning for a shiny gold dance floor, peopled with rich bumpers and grinders . . . all for a terrific cause.
The hangover: West Hollywood The Coffee Bean 5:30 p.m., February 28. Angeline, a fading L.A. beauty best known for putting up billboards of herself in the 1980s, pulled up out front in a pink Corvette. She wore a leopard jumper, a faux pink fur and was carrying a bag from Hello Kitty. Her pink platform pumps matched her eyeshadow.
Apparently, the rarefied glamour of awards season had officially ended.