View from the Oscars

Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynold’s offers a behind-the-scene view of the 85th Oscar Academy Awards.

On a warm and sunny California afternoon the toast of Hollywood gathered for the 85th Academy Awards.

It’s an interesting scene.

Security is extremely tight, with dozens of tuxedo clad security agents nearly outnumbering the celebrities. The throngs of news reporters, photographers and camera-people are jammed into a narrow strip of bleachers.

Space is at a premium. In order for a reporter to get into position in front of the camera, everyone on the bleachers has to shift around.

It’s kind of like Rubik’s Cube – only with people.

The men mostly wear tuxedos, although a few eccentric souls were seen sporting kilts. I suppose they were Scots. The ladies of course are attired in a fantastic variety of evening gowns. They all looked terrific to me unfortunately, if you were hoping I could provide details of who was wearing what frock by which designer, I’m not your guy.


As the celebrities sashay down the runway, reporters scream out their names and beg them to come over and favour them with a few words.

Those who deign to speak to the media rabble generally say something like, “Im very happy to be here, I am just here to have fun,” or phrases even less revelatory.

The noise is overwhelming a cheering section of fans is being continually whipped up into a frenzy by announcers, and reporters are shouting into their microphones in English, or French.

This year I was able to speak with the terrific Australian actress Jackie Weaver, who was nominated for a best supporting actress award for her role as a long-suffering wife and mother in Silver Linings Playbook.

Ms Weaver is an extremely pleasant person. A subplot in the film revolves around a group of extremely fanatical supporters of the American Football team the Philadelphia Eagles.

I asked Ms Weaver if she had gained an appreciation of American football. Smiling broadly, Ms Weaver replies that she doesn’t even understand Australian football. 

Beaming boys

Two of the least well known but possibly happiest actors in Hollywood on Sunday were Awad Mohammadi and Jawanmard Paiz. The two Afghan teenagers star in Buzkashi Boys, nominated for Best Live Action Short Film.

Both are kids from very impoverished circumstances: Awad sells maps and trinkets to foreigners on the street in Kabul.

The boys were beaming in their smart new tuxedos when I spoke with them. 

Jawanmard says he hopes the film will show Americans and other viewers around the world that Afghans are good people caught in terrible circumstances Awad said he’d like people to know that there are a lot of talented people in his homeland. 

Buzkashi Boys didn’t win an Oscar on Sunday, but the boys who worked so hard on it are winners in my book.