It’s always an enormous treat to go to Los Angeles and draw the Academy Awards red carpet and show. This year was no different; my fifth time in attendance drawing. I never take my luck for granted.
I arrived two days in advance of the Sunday broadcast so that I could draw behind the scenes and walk around the neighborhood.
After arriving on site, I get my credentials and head down to the red carpet area to see what’s going on. There were the usual suspects: journalists dressed up and practicing on camera, and men in dark suits seeming to be guarding things. The carpet was still covered in plastic.
The next day, I went directly to where all the action usualy is, and the carpet was red in all it’s glory, sans plastic covering. I tried to capture the red that they chose for the carpet (its the same every year), but I never sure I get it right. It’s a bit more crimson than what I could create. But you get the idea.
Saturday you can really feel the buzz. People are arriving and artistis are touching up things and fixing lights. Jourrnalists are sharing what they see with their audiences; I heard many foreign languages.
I loved watching these two set designers below work on different spots of the red carpet over the course of the days leading up to the event day.
Again this year, I was given access to the theater during dress rehearsal, something I love to draw since I am not allowed in the theater during the broadcast on Sunday.
I am escorted to these behind-the-scenes places by a trusty “Press Guide.” The Academy has many wonderful, helpful people working as Press Guides each year, and I have gotten to know many of them. They are great.
Also a really fun tradition for me is to visit the kitchen and draw the chefs and cooks, prepping for the weekend’s parties.
On Sunday at noon, with my black dress and red shoes on, I grabbed a tripple shot coffee and went to the carpet for the big day. Media were instructed to be on the carpet, “locked in,” by 1:00pm. Otherwise we would not be allowed in.
About an hour into the red carpet — while it was still relatively quiet and no nominees had shown up yet— it started to pour. The area is covered by a plastic roof , and pockets of rain began to gather in spots near where I was standing. Getting heavier and fuller by the minute, the Oscar red carpet team quickly began to push up the plastic and allow the water to find its exit off the plastic. It was kind of exciting!
I saw dresses galore. This year, they seemed big and bold and very often red.
And then nominees and stars began to slowly show up.
Then just before the show was to begin, we quickly walked up to the Media Interview room, where all the international media had designated spots to watch the show on monitors. And then when the winners were announced, the came into the room to be asked questions.
No photos are allowed, but I grabbed imagery — drawings — of some of the winners.
Here are drawings of some of the singers, presenters and some of the winners.
The show’s script and choice of presenters was clearly an effort to be open, and acknowlege the gender and diversity issues that have plagued the Academy Awards nominations. What I witnessed was a more diverse and cohesive day. And an historic one at that, with Parasite winning Best Picture, the first non-American film to do so.
I love visually chronicalling the Oscars, and sharing what I see in real time on social media. Through my drawings, I hope to express our shared joy of film. I hope to convey what I believe it’s about: telling others’ stories — which so often are also our own — and realizing our common humanity.