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Monday, February 26, 2007

Yeah, I've been to the Oscars...



I attended the Oscars 5 years ago with my friend Big Red.  He was working for the Academy back then and had an extra ticket because his wife was going to be out of town.  We arrived around 3:30 P.M., spiffy in our tuxes.  But before I even stepped onto the red carpet, they took my binoculars away at the security checkpoint.  It was the first Academy award show after 911, and they had sharpshooters on the rooftops.  I was just hoping Mexicans weren't considered terrorists, and I was too in awe of the event to really be scared.  We saw Ridley Scott and Hugh Jackman in front of us as we made our way down the magic carpet covering Hollywood Boulevard, camera flashes going off and fans shouting from the stands.  We pretended to be somebody and waved back. 

Once in the Kodak Theater, we made our way to the top floor where complimentary martinis were being dispensed.  I'm a beer man myself, but won't turn down a free drink, whatever it is.  So we started in on them martinis, and before I knew it, I was shaking hands with legendary Ernest Borgnine, then David Lynch, and all I could say was, "I'm a big fan of yours."

A few martinis later, we had a great buzz going, and the show was about to begin.  We found our nosebleed seats, and Whoopi Goldberg down onstage was the size of a protein strand floating in front of my iris.  We couldn't see shit, so Red suggested we go downstairs to the bar.  It was like that vulgarized Ed Hopper painting where Elvis, James Dean, Bogart and Marilyn Monroe are hanging out at an all-night diner.  Tobey Mcguire was seated at the bar looking sedated with a blank expression on his face.  I didn't bother him.  Instead, I ordered a rum and coke, needed the caffeine.  Met Denzel Washington while I was at it, firm handshake, looked you in the eye.  Met Nicole Kidman, gracious, petite, but skin so white it was translucent.  Met Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, back when they were still together.  She was the most down-to-earth and beautiful to behold in person.  Then there was Sir Paul McCartney, flanked by security of course.  A Beatles fan for life, I approached with a dumb, star-struck smile, wishing I had an autograph book with me, or pen and paper, or just a pen, he could sign my shirt or hand, who cared, it was Paul fucking McCartney!  But just as I shyly opened my mouth to utter something, he was quickly escorted back into the theater.  Was I too drunk? Too Mexican perhaps?  Hell, you can never be too Mexican!

I got another drink, saw Julia Roberts sitting at a side table on her cell phone.  I made a beeline for her, and a block of a bodyguard who would eclipse the sun stepped out in front of her,
"I just want to say hello to Ms. Roberts," I said with drunken confidence.
He turned to her and whispered in her ear.  She didn't even look at me.
"Give her a minute," he said and stood there with arms crossed.
Fine, I thought to myself.  Whatevers.  But I stared at my watch and exactly a minute later, I stepped up to the guard and said, "It's been a minute."
He turned and whispered to her again.  "Okay," he said and stepped aside.
"Ms. Roberts, I'm a big fan of yours, and I just wanted to say hello.  I'm Ricardo Acuña, a writer.  And someday, God willing, I'll be here to collect an Oscar too."
She gave me the once over and held her hand out.  I shook it.  That limp, cold, bony hand of hers.  She turned back to her cell phone, and that was that.

I had to take a piss and as I tried to balance before the urinal so as not to pee on myself, I knew the time had come.  I was way too fucked up to be approaching celebrities or anybody for that reason.  I told Red who was equally drunk that I was taking a cab home.  (He later told me that he went into the bathroom double-fisted with drinks and broke one of them in the sink and that Will Smith told him, "Looks like you need some help there buddy.")  I grabbed a potted plant on my way out of the Kodak Theater as a souvenir.  I somehow managed to give the cabbie my address, and when we arrived, I realized I didn't have any cash on me.  I had him wait outside while I stumbled in and told love, "Pay the man.  And this is for you."  I handed her the potted plant and passed out on the bed, tux and all. 

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