76th Annual Academy Awards® – Press Room
The Press Room at any awards show can lead to some very intimate and some very funny moments. It’s a chance for the award recipients to relax a little and let off some steam after weeks of intense pressure campaigning for the awards. The Academy Awards® Press Room is no different.
One of my favorite photos from my entire career working the red carpet is of Peter Jackson, who had just won an Oscar® for Best Director of “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King”. While working the Directors Guild Awards a few weeks earlier, I had the opportunity to briefly meet Peter and shake his hand explaining that I have been a fan of Hobbits since grade school and greatly appreciated his interpretation of Middle Earth. When he entered the press room at the Academy Awards® that night, I was seated in the front row. Our eyes met as Peter entered the room, and before he took the stage for photos, he looked straight at me and caressed his award. He didn’t look at anyone else, but gave this shot just to me. It’s one of the most personal and intimate photos I have ever taken.
A perfect example of a very funny moment is courtesy of Sean Penn, who is well known for not really enjoying attention from the press. If you notice in the first photo of him in the gallery below, he is not really enjoying standing there posing for photos. So one of the photographers, benefiting from the anonymity of being in one of the rear rows high up in the risers blurts out, “Hey Spicoli, how’s it feel?” For my younger readers who may not have seen “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” when it came out in 1982, Jeff Spicoli was Sean’s breakout role. He played a surfer/stoner high school student who traumatized his teachers with his attitude and behavior. So here is Sean, having just won an Oscar® for Best Actor for playing an extremely intense part in the movie “Mystic River” pursing his lips and furrowing his brow trying so hard not to laugh! You can tell in the photo below.
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