Greetings, friends, family, and internet strangers that I don't actually know but feel close to anyway. I'm Lauren, and last night I attended the Oscars. That's right, this schleppy plebe from New York attended ~Hollywood's biggest night~ and lived to tell the tale, the tale that I will be sharing with you, right now.
Let's start at the very beginning, shall we? It was 1989 — both Taylor Swift and I made our way into the world. Fast-forward 26 years and it's February 25, 2016. Three days before the Oscars. I found out I'd be attending the show about two weeks prior, thanks to the company I work for (BuzzFeed.com, you're actually reading the website now!). Because my specialty is procrastination, it's the Thursday before the show and I have no dress and no idea what the hell I'm going to wear. I fly to L.A. Friday morning and end up getting on the plane dressless. In my head, one will magically materialize in my suitcase when I open it up on the West Coast.
If you can believe it — that DIDN'T happen!!!! But lucky for me, I have a friend who is from L.A. and had a dress from a wedding she went to at her parents' house. It fit me well enough. I imagine this is what the celebrities do too: scurry around L.A. to meet their friend's mom to borrow a dress two days before the fanciest event that basically ever exists. Also, it's important that you remember this is my friend's dress. Not mine. And here I am taking a cool mirror pic right before I left. I didn't have my shoes on because no one should wear heels any minute before they need to.
(That's me and that's the fancy envelope my ticket was in.)
OK, now that you know how I obtained clothes for the BIGGEST NIGHT OF THE YEAR!!!! let's just get into it. Oh, and I apologize for the potato photos. Turns out Apple hasn't given us the perfect "I'm far away from the stage at the Oscars but going to take pics with full zoom" lens yet.
I woke up and immediately thought of Julianne Moore, not because it was Oscar Sunday — this is just something I do every morning. But today is a big day for both of us. She is Julianne Moore, and I am Lauren. We are both attending the Oscars. I ate half an avocado and took my acne medication, which I assume is another thing most celebrities were doing on this fine Sunday morning. Later, when I was getting ready for the show, I thought about all the famous people who were also getting ready, and I felt an invisible but very strong bond with them at that moment. That feeling would not last.
I left for the show at around 4 p.m. I guess Emily Blunt and I have the same assistant, because she and I arrived at the exact same time. She was two people behind me in the entrance line — that is, until we were separated into red carpet walkers and just walkers — and I made sure to vaguely glance behind me every few seconds to really absorb her aura. Getting into the show was kind of like what I think getting out of a burning building would look like. There were hundreds of people funneling into one walkway.
We got to "walk" the red carpet, but not like the celebrities do. We walked on the side of the carpet, standing opposite all the press. We could stop and see all the famous people walking, but mostly we were being shepherded inside and couldn't stop for too long. I did, however, take my sweet time when I saw Olivia Munn and Aaron Rodgers talking to Julianne Moore. Then my schedule twin Emily Blunt showed up and they all hugged and chatted and then I was yelled at to "KEEP MOVING!!"
I tripped up the stairs going into the theater. I ripped my friend's dress. I SHIT YOU NOT. I thought to myself that maybe Jennifer Lawrence really is relatable — I mean, here I am, tripping at the Oscars, just like her. Then I realized no one cared except for one nice lady who asked me if I was OK. I was too embarrassed to look her in the eye, so I kind of mumbled "yesmhdesg" and then ran up the stairs as quickly as possible. I found my seat on the balcony above the main floor. IT WAS HAPPENING. I WAS HERE. I AM IN. I AM ALSO PANICKING BECAUSE I RIPPED MY FRIEND'S NICE DRESS.
I sat and basically just watched everything that was happening down below, where all the true ~stars~ were. I felt kind of like a kid sitting at the empty table in the cafeteria while all the cool kids have fun at another table, and their parents let them buy lunch every day.
Here are things I saw before the show started:
• Chrissy Teigen and John Legend were the first people I saw enter the theater. It was still pretty empty inside. Even though I was far away, I could tell she looked really fucking good. He did too. They are pretty.
• Tina Fey entered, mingled with someone, and then took a seat in the second row. A woman sat in a seat in the front row and turned around to talk to her. My eyes are not that great, even with my glasses (OK, jeez, I'll make an eye appointment!!), and I couldn't figure out who Tina was talking to so intently. I realized five minutes later that it was Amy Poehler. Which means I witnessed raw interaction between AMY AND TINA. I was happy.
~Julianne Moore Watch Break~
The theater started to fill. Julianne Moore entered and I started Julianne Moore Watch.
• Julianne Moore talks to Tina Fey.
• Julianne Moore talks to Reese Witherspoon.
• Julianne Moore talks to Emily Blunt.
• It's clear that Julianne Moore is the best.
~End Julianne Moore Watch Break~
• Lady Gaga went up to Kate Winslet and kissed her on the hands and said hello.
• Sophie Turner aka Sansa Stark took a seat three rows in front of me.
• Finn Wittrock and other cast members of The Big Short took seats just to the right of me.
• I realized Gary Busey was just a few rows ahead of me, in the first row of the balcony. At this moment I felt so lucky.
The show was minutes from starting and they were rushing people to get in their seats. Over the speakers, announcers kept saying, "Please clear the aisles! Take your seats!" Miniature celebs were sort of making an effort to get to their seats. Once it seemed like everyone was settled, they brought down a big screen and announced that this year's speeches must only be 45 seconds long...and NO LONGER!!!! They then scrolled through a list of things that you can do in 45 seconds to prove that it's still plenty of time to get in all your thank-yous. One of the things on the list was "Whip / Nae Nae." I felt secondhand embarrassment. Then the show began.
This is a real thing they showed before the show. SOMEONE ACTUALLY WROTE "WHIP / NAE NAE," AND THEN SOMEONE ELSE APPROVED THAT.
Being in the theater was weird, not gonna lie. I was surrounded by people sitting in ball gowns and tuxedos. I spend most of my days in Vans and baggy T-shirts. Plus we were all watching famous people walk on and off the stage from what felt like a mile away. I realize that everything is made for TV now, so half the time I couldn't really figure out what viewers were seeing at home versus what I was seeing on the stage. But really what I was seeing was the back of a lot of celebrities' heads. This was a fun guessing game for me. I liked trying to figure out who they were before they turned their heads and revealed their faces.
Here are some things I saw as a crowdie:
• After Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling presented, Russell gave Ryan a little nudge on the arm, kind of like a "Good job, kid, they loved us."
• After Adam McKay won for Best Adapted Screenplay, the Big Short cast leapt out of their seats and cheered so loud in our section. It was cute.
• Emily Blunt was hurrying to get back to her seat before the show came back from commercial, and she made it with about 10 seconds left.
• Leonardo DiCaprio talked to Common. Then Tobey Maguire came over and shook hands with Common, and the three of them chatted for a minute.
I had gone almost one hour without water or food. Nothing was allowed in the theater, but I planned ahead and brought gummy snacks. I ate some of those.
I ate a mini Midnight Milky Way. Oh yeah, I brought some Milky Ways too.
I observed the front-row crowd from afar as much as possible. I regretted not bringing binoculars (preferably those ones they used to use at old-timey operas). At that moment in time, I wished I were a bird. If I were a bird, I could have seen more. I could have also maybe flown around and gotten closer to the action. But whatever, I'm not a bird. I'm a human with shitty eyes and now I have to deal with seeing slightly blurry versions of all the actors.
I took my first bathroom break and finally left the inside of the theater during a commercial. I missed the re-entry cutoff, so I was stuck outside for one entire act. It was at this point, though, that I met two guys claiming to have snuck into the Oscars. I'm not kidding. I was just standing there, minding my own business and pretending to text someone, when these two guys came up to me and told me they snuck into the theater. I was now in the presence of alleged Oscar crashers. I'm no rat, but I'm also not a rebel, Dottie, so when they asked me for help getting inside the actual theater, I kind of looked confusedly around the room and pretended to not know where the doors were.
I stayed to chat with them for a bit and learned that they were 21-year-old actors who hoped to get to the Oscars for real one day. I also took a selfie with them (because selfies are the only way to preserve a memory). They were nice, but it was time for me to go back inside, so I said my goodbyes and walked away. I left wondering if they had fooled me into thinking they snuck in, or really succeeded in bypassing all of the security and ticket checking that I went through. I couldn't spend too much time dwelling on it, though, because GAGA WAS COMING UP.
I was back in my seat and the show had already been two hours long. I was hungry now. I glanced over and Sophie Turner was still in her seat. This made me happy because she's a Stark and Starks can disappear at any moment. I also looked down and saw that Gary Busey was now sitting with his legs propped up on the balcony. He was really bringing cool, casual vibes to the Oscars.
That's Gary Busey on the phone. And that's Gary Busey with his legs up.
Lady Gaga brought everyone to their feet after her performance. Then she ran quickly off the stage. As the sexual assault survivors exited the stage, they ended up in a single-file line, and Kate Winslet started to hug them as they left. Then stagehands started to direct the survivors more quickly to the exit, where Brie Larson was sitting. Brie Larson then hugged almost each and every one of the people who were on that stage.
That's Brie Larson in the blue dress. Someone else who was in attendance recorded the hug line in action. I was too scared because the rules said we couldn't take video and I'm a wimp, so you can watch video of it here.
In other news, Alicia Vikander finally came back to her seat after winning her award almost two hours prior. She hugged Kate Winslet. I was wondering where she had gone. In fact, for a while, all the cool kids in the front row had gone off somewhere, probably to party in the lobby. But now they were back. THANK GOD.
That's Alicia returning to her seat with her Oscar, and to the right Chris Evans saying goodbye to Margot Robbie (in gold), who then said hello to Leonardo DiCaprio.
I overheard from the people in front of me that according to someone they knew, the show had 35 minutes left. I did the math — that was 3.5 hours of Oscars. I texted my family and friends to warn them.
Leonardo DiCaprio won his Oscar. Literally everyone was freaking out. I don't know if this counted as an historic moment...it was just another white guy winning an award, but it was Leonardo DiCaprio, and generations of humans have been creating memes just waiting for this to happen, so it felt kind of cool to be there for it. Also — and I'm not saying that this is definitely why — but it just so happened that the one year Leo won was also the one year that I, Lauren Yapalater, attended the Oscars. So maybe it was coincidence, or maybe I'm his lucky charm. I can't draw any scientific conclusions at this point, but I'm just saying.
Here are some really blurry and shitty pics (WHAT'S NEW!!!) I took of Kate Winslet freaking out over the win. The whole time he was onstage I just stared at her and watched how excited she was for him. I realize that so was everyone else who watched at home, but I think I may have been close enough to feel some actual energetic waves radiating from her body from 600 feet away.
Also, Lady Gaga bounced out of her seat and applauded enthusiastically when Leo finished his speech, so I guess that whole Golden Globes incident is water under the bridge. And of course, if we all don't listen to Leo...THERE WON'T EVEN BE ANY WATER TO FLOW UNDER THE BRIDGE!!!
The End of the Night:
After Leo won, the show was basically over. When the show actually ended, confetti fell from the ceiling while everyone who won an Oscar came out on the stage. It felt very SNL good-nights. Then everyone rushed to get out.
I waited 10 minutes for an elevator to bring me to the parking garage, where I was picking up my car. By some miracle, as soon as I walked to the car drop-off location, mine was being pulled up. I felt like the Oscar gods wanted me to get home quickly so that I could eat a slice of pizza sooner rather than later.
Also, I had to go to an afterparty, of course. But that's a whole 'nother story.
Oh, and if you are wondering how my friend handled me breaking the news to her about her dress, this is how it went down:
So happy I have such chyll friends.
OK, 'TIL NEXT AWARDS SHOW FRIENDS! THANKS FOR READING, LOVE YOU, BYE!!!