AM 720 KDWN
News, Traffic, Weather

SHOW BITS: A tale of 2 red carpets

KDWN

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Show Bits brings you the 86th annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles through the eyes of Associated Press journalists. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.

QUICKQUOTE: ELLEN DEGENERES

“If you win tonight, I think we should bring you the Oscar.” – Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres to last year’s Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, who DeGeneres ribbed for her penchant for falling down at awards shows.

- Anthony McCartney – Twitter http://www.twitter.com/mccartneyAP

HANGING WITH MR. COOPER AT THE OSCARS

Bradley Cooper may not have been the winner of the supporting actor trophy, but he was the most social and smiley celeb inside the Dolby Theatre as the show began.

Within about 10 minutes of arriving, the “American Hustle” nominee smooched, in no particular order, Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, Michael Fassbender and John Travolta before making his way to his seat.

- Derrik J. Lang – Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang

MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD

Most stars either strut or speed walk down the red carpet, but the subjects of the Oscar-nominated documentary “20 Feet From Stardom” sang their way down.

The four backup singers featured in the film crooned in soulful a cappella, serenading television personalities and momentarily quieting the screaming fans.

The feature-length documentary chronicles the highs and lows of the backup singers who worked on some of the biggest songs of the past century but were often forgotten by fans and the music industry as a whole.

- Hannah Dreier – Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/HannahDreier .

STARS GET PSYCHED UP FOR SHOWTIME

With just minutes to Oscar showtime, a crush of stars flooded into Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre and quickly went through their pre-show rituals.

Jared Leto put in eye drops. Michael Fassbender dipped into the green room for a quick smoke. Kurt Russell waited outside a backstage bathroom for date Goldie Hawn.

Steve Coogan came out of another restroom and walked right into Russell and also Sally Field. Lupita Nyong’o and Jennifer Lawrence quickly joined the group.

Lawrence and Field joked that they might consider wearing adult diapers under their dresses at future awards shows to beat the bathroom line.

Jamie Foxx greeted Kerry Washington with a hug and these words: “I heard you’re going to name the baby Jamie. Works for a boy or a girl!”

- Sandy Cohen – http://www.twitter.com/APSandy .

HOW OSCAR’S OTHER HALF WALKS

Of course status-obsessed Hollywood would have an exclusive red carpet, and then an even more exclusive red carpet.

A red velvet rope separated the A-list Oscar red carpet from the B-list one, which was parallel but closer to the fan bleachers. The social rules were as byzantine and strictly enforced as on any studio set. Or in any high school cafeteria.

- Taking cellphone pictures from the B-list red carpet of the megastars a few feet away: allowed.

- Shaking hands across the velvet rope and telling a star how much you admire them: allowed, but only as long as the tuxedoed security guards don’t see.

- Walking down the lower-ranking red carpet at a leisurely pace: Not allowed, as evidenced by the guards continually muttering, “Please keep moving.”

An A-lister masquerading as a B-lister to get down the carpet quickly: Allowed (and taken advantage of by “Hunger Games” actor Stanley Tucci).

- Hannah Dreier – Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/HannahDreier .

SITTING PRETTY WAITING FOR OSCAR

Inside the Dolby Theatre, stagehands frantically pound hammers on the grey-hued set just before the doors are to open to attendees.

While most folks are still sipping champagne and cocktails in the lobby, a few, including Liza Minnelli, have already strolled inside to take their positions inside the 3,400-seat venue. The star of “Cabaret” and “Arthur” passes the time watching the red carpet coverage being broadcast on giant screens from her third-row position.

Meanwhile, a female announcer calmly informs everyone on the overheard speakers to “please make your way to your seats. The show will begin in 25 minutes.”

- Derrik J. Lang – Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang

IDINA MENZEL: OF COURSE I’M NERVOUS

Idina Menzel acknowledged some pre-performance jitters before singing “Let it Go,” the catchy song from Disney’s “Frozen” that has become a tween anthem. But she said that was only normal.

“If I wasn’t nervous, something would be a little off,” the veteran Broadway songstress, who voices a main role in “Frozen,” told AP Live on the Oscar red carpet.

She said she had a plan for calming her nerves: Pretending she was singing the song to her young son at home.

The song has gone viral, with countless young girls making their own versions and posting them on YouTube.

“It’s about liberating your soul and accepting yourself for who you are,” Menzel said.

- Jocelyn Noveck – Twitter http://twitter.com/JocelynNoveckAP

JARED LETO LETS OUT HIS INNER ROCK STAR

Best supporting actor nominee Jared Leto let out his inner rocker – if only for a second.

Most stars who acknowledge the Oscar fan bleachers on their walk down the red carpet give out humble waves or blow gentle kisses to the crowd.

The long-haired Leto, who before his nomination for “Dallas Buyers Club” was known as much for his band 30 Seconds to Mars as his acting, gave a slow-rising rocker’s fist and an “Oh yeah” face to rev up the volume of the delighted bleacher fans.

He never stopped walking, though, and disappeared before many could learn what the commotion was about.

- Andrew Dalton – Twitter http://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton—

PHARRELLL WILLIAMS IS … HAPPY

Pharrell Williams came to the Oscars minus the tall leather hat that made such a splash at the Grammys and won him Twitter comparisons to the Arby’s logo.

This time he made his mark below the waist. Williams, nominated for the song “Happy” from “Despicable Me 2,” wore a formal black tux on top with formal black shorts, and no socks, on the bottom.

It allowed him to look normal in the black-tie crowd until nearby viewers caught a glimpse of his tattooed calves.

Asked how he was feeling, he paused a moment to consider the question.

“I’m … happy!” he finally said.

He also told AP Live that he was thrilled at how his song – and the video – have become so popular.

“I know it’s the people, man,” he said. “It’s just done so much for me.”

- Jocelyn Noveck – Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JocelynNoveckAP

NYONG’O CHOSE A DRESS TO REMIND HER OF HOME

Lupita Nyong’o, breakout movie star and fashion superstar, says she chose her ice blue Prada gown because blue “reminds me of home” in Kenya.

“I wanted to have a sense of home with me,” she told AP Live on the Oscar red carpet.

Nyong’o, nominated for best supporting actress for her heart-wrenching turn as a slave in “12 Years a Slave,” said her gown was also meant to evoke Champagne bubbles. Could that be a reference to some anticipated celebration later in the evening?

Or perhaps the actress was still celebrating her birthday. She turned 31 on Saturday.

- Jocelyn Noveck – Twitter http://twitter.com/JocelynNoveckAP

RED SEA OF SELFIES

Cellphone-clutching celebrities are turning the Oscar red carpet into Selfie Central.

For the first time in memory, the photographers walking this year’s red carpet were clearly outnumbered by Oscar nominees, presenters and other attendees stopping to snap photos of themselves with their phones.

So many selfie shooters crowded the carpet that Oscar organizers had to remind them to keep moving to avoid a traffic jam. Or, worse yet, having someone bump into them and ruin their photo.

- Andrew Dalton – Twitter http://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

BELGIAN, BLUEGRASS AND BARELY RECOGNIZABLE

As if they weren’t anonymous enough amid a stream of American stars, the two leads of the “The Broken Circle Breakdown” were barely recognizable even to those who saw and loved the Belgian nominee for Best Foreign Film.

Lead actor Johan Heldenbergh was shorn of the shaggy hair he wears in the unusual film that features Dutch-speaking bluegrass musicians parenting a cancer-stricken daughter. His thick beard had been trimmed to a light goatee.

Lead actress Veerle Baetens’ strapless-and-backless gown showed that the head-to-toe tattoos she sported in the movie were for the most part phony.

Both walked the carpet, however, with huge smiles that were unmistakably real.

- Andrew Dalton – Twitter http://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

A JOYFUL CAPTAIN WALKS THE RED CARPET

Supporting actor nominee Barkhad Abdi says the way he wraps his head around his new celebrity is simple:

“I don’t think about it,” he told AP Live on the Oscars red carpet. “I’m just enjoying the day.”

Abdi plays the chief Somali pirate in “Captain Phillips,” opposite Tom Hanks. It’s his first acting role – and, obviously, his first Oscar nomination.

“I’m feeling great to be here,” he said. “It’s been a long road. We’re supporting `Captain Phillips’ and everybody who put in hard work on the movie.”

WEIR, LIPINSKI SKATE OSCAR RED CARPET

Straight from Sochi, a snowy-white Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski felt the full force of their newfound fame as they skated past the red-carpet crowd at the Oscars.

The duo, dubbed a “dream team” of figure skating commentary after their Olympic appearances last month for NBC, were both dressed in white from head-to-toe. They quickly won one of the biggest reactions from the fan bleachers.

Weir and Lapinski are reprising their analysts’ role, giving red-carpet commentary to Access Hollywood.

- Andrew Dalton – Twitter http://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

STAR TURN FOR THE OSCAR CAKE

Starlets, perhaps not wanting to be tempted, averted their eyes as celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck rolled a sumptuous-looking chocolate cake down the Oscar red carpet two hours before show time.

The five-layer cake, decorated with a tiny Hollywood sign, is part of the post-Oscar feast served at the annual Governor’s Ball after the Academy Awards.

Puck also brought a few other munchies – souffles, sushi, and a curling red octopus leg.

The cake is also ornamented with edible golden Oscar statuettes, which undoubtedly will taste sweeter to the winners than the losers.

- Hannah Dreier – Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/HannahDreier .

SOLVING A PROBLEM LIKE MARIA – WITH A VACUUM

As the clouds slowly cleared from over Hollywood Boulevard and water still dripped from stands and scaffolds, one red carpet dweller took the fight directly to the damp walkway.

Maria Menounos, covering arrivals for Extra TV, noticed a puddle, grabbed a wet vac from a nearby crew member and sucked the water from a patch of red carpet, taking care not to catch her sparkling silver gown in the humming machine.

She got a round of applause from the fan bleachers and took a bow before using the newly dried carpet for a walking TV take.

- Andrew Dalton – Twitter http://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

EDITOR’S NOTE – Show Bits brings you the 86th annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles through the eyes of Associated Press journalists. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.