(28 February 2016)
The Oscars are the culmination of what we call “Awards Season”. In Hollywood, the main awards season is made up of the months of January and February, with the Golden Globes, American Music Awards, Grammys, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Peoples Choice, Oscar nominees luncheon (included with this gallery) and the Academy Awards as well as others such as Director’s Guild, Writer’s Guild and Independent Spirit. There are other award shows such as the Emmys, Latin Grammys, MTV Movie and MTV Music Video Awards and others ..Nickelodeon, Kid’s Choice, Country Music Awards, Producers…it goes on and on.
The entertainment business by far gives out more awards to each other than any other profession. And they keep coming up with more shows. When I first arrived in LA in 1992, there were a handful of shows we covered…now there are dozens and most of them are televised and A list celebrities show up.
But the Oscars are by far the most important. With Award Shows, for photographers we cover the red carpet arrival of celebrities, the show itself and the photo room where award winners pose with their awards. Most of the time it is very standard, but every once in a while something bizarre happens. For example, at the 2015 MTV Music Video Awards Miley Cyrus came back wearing a pink latex outfit that said “Do It” and smoking a marijuana cigarette that she passed around to the photographers. Made for some interesting photos (see link below).
So, with the Oscars, I was assigned to do the red carpet arrivals. Some award shows require you to dress in formal tuxedo attire and security is very tight, so you have to arrive early and be in position for security sweeps. Also, your credential cannot be photographed (presumably someone might try and copy it and gain access to the venue).
It starts at 2pm and there is a constant flow of celebrities and nominees. Many are not very well-known, being nominated for such categories as visual effects, sound affects, editing and other relatively obscure categories. I have to photograph all of them because EPA (European Pressphoto Agency) is a large international wire service with thousands of subscribers all over the world, and you never know which one may be needed in some country. This year a Chilean won an Academy Award (first for their country) for Best Animated Short Film. So, of course, the Chilean newspaper needed a picture.
This year nothing much of interest happened except Lady Gaga giving her fiancé, Taylor Kinney, a kiss. That reminds me about last year’s Oscars, when I shot a picture of John Travolta unexpectedly kissing Scarlett Johansson. It happened so quickly and so unexpectedly that I was one of the only photographers to get the whole sequence. And since it only happened in front of the first group of red carpet photographers where I was, it received a lot of play (meaning it was well published…see link below for the pictures filed).
At the Academy Awards, the red carpet arrivals are very long, and photographers are given three different shooting positions. Video camera crews are located the full length of the red carpet and now are placed among the still photographers (they like the atmosphere we provide when shouting out to the celebrities to “look this way or that way”, “over the shoulder”, “it’s me” and all sorts of things to get their attention). With the celebrity photographers, their pictures sell better if the celebrity is looking directly at their camera…hence all the yelling to get their attention. I, unfortunately, do not have a booming or shrill voice, so if I have a choice, I try to select a position next to a well-known shouter. That way I’ll have a chance to have the celeb looking directly at me. However, the drawback to this is you end up with an ear ache…. it’s rough being a red carpet photog :).
To see photos that were filed with the EPA, visit the following links:
- 88th Academy Awards red carpet arrivals
- Miley Cyrus with marijuana cigarette at MTV Music Video Awards
- John Travolta unexpectedly kisses Scarlett Johansson