Most people in Los Angeles celebrate Oscar night the same way as everyone else across the country: They text a friend to see if they can tag along to their other friend’s house, because that friend of a friend has enough disposable income for a cable box. But Hollywood’s biggest night does take a small army of little people to pull it off. So, for many Angelenos, Oscar night is an insane gauntlet of pulling off small miracles to satisfy the rich and beautiful people who don’t know their names.
While much of the media focuses on the celebrities who walk the red carpet and take home phallic trophies, Inverse was more interested in the folks who make the show happen behind-the-scenes. We spoke with five different people working on all sides of the ceremonies, from producers to keeper of the tuna. These are their stories.
Note: Some names have been changed.
Ben, main show production
Any celebrity run-ins of note? I saw Michael Shannon in the lobby bar — he’s really intense looking, and I was a little afraid of him. I had met him before on another show, and he’s so nice, but my gut reaction is always, “MAYBE A MURDERER.”
Was your team affected by the Moonlight Best Picture win mixup?
No, but I can say it was a real, honest accident and was not staged. It was insane. As soon as I saw the stage manager on the stage looking at envelopes, I knew something was wrong.
Anthony, server at Dolby Theater (@AnthonyDesamito)
What was your gig at the Oscars? I was an hors d’oeuvres passer (or mini-burger king).
Was this your first Oscars? I’ve only live tweeted the Oscars from my phone.
How was the night for you? Were there any unexpected hurdles? I couldn’t take my phone with me so that was definitely the biggest hurdle.
Any celebrity run-ins of note? Yes! I was passing out spicy tuna tartars, and Charlize Theron came charging at me for one and said to me, “Oh my God, I love these!” And she just as quickly fled. I stood there like, Wow, Charlize Theron just spoke to me and wanted something from me. Flabbergasted.
I also saw Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban. She looked gorgeous, but they were talking to someone, so I decided not to interrupted them with mini-tacos. I bumped into Nina Garcia from Project Runway, and she looked so amazing, of course.
Was your team affected by the Moonlight Best Picture win mixup? Yes, because Moonlight and A24 [entertainment company] sat in my section, so it was AMAZING and such an honor to serve them. It was great seeing them take photos with their Oscar and feeding the little boys mini-burgers. And they all looked amazing. I could tell they had just gone through a rollercoaster of emotions. (Also Mahershala Ali is super hot, a PLUS!) Nothing really crazy happened except some people tried to sit in Moonlight’s section, and we had to be like, “Uh ya crazy, bye.”
Also, I spoke to the director and I’m going to be in Moonlight 2: The New Boyfriend. Just kidding, I wish.
Amy, Oscar pre and post show producer
Is this your first Oscars? This is my fourth year!
How was the night for you? Were there any unexpected hurdles? Only that I got injured on the job and had to go to the ER and so missed our entire red carpet coverage… but I made it back for the after show!
What was your favorite win of the night? I was really excited about [Viola Davis winning for Best Supporting Actress] and then Moonlight.
Was your team affected by the Moonlight Best Picture win mixup? We were, in that it happened right before we went live for an after-show, so we just had to grab clips and reactions to that moment as soon as possible right when we went live. Everyone was very surprised by it, and it just kind of erupted in our truck, then of course became the main focus of the show.
Alexis, red carpet graphics coordinator (@notaquasar)
What was your gig at the Oscars? I’m a Graphics Coordinator for KTLA’s live red carpet show.
Is this your first Oscars? This is maybe my seventh year working it? I’ve lost count!
How was the night for you? Were there any unexpected hurdles? There were some technical issues loading packages, causing one of the hosts to not know he was still on air. I think we ended up going to a quick commercial break.
What win were you most excited about? I love that Moonlight won [Best Picture], and I love how it all went down. Hands down, my favorite Oscars.
Marissa, server at the Governor’s Ball
What was your gig at the Oscars? I was an entree passer in charge of walking around with a tray of the mini entrees for Wolfgang Puck. I was a floater, so I got to roam around the entire Governor’s Ball.
Is this your first Oscars? Yeah! Everything went very smoothly and not chaotic at all. I was kinda hoping I’d witness some type of celebrity drama or sloppy drunk people, but everything was pretty contained.
Was your team affected by the Moonlight Best Picture win mixup? I watched them announce La La Land as the winner through the big media cameras. After that, I was sent inside to get ready to bring food out. While we were there, one of the lead staff members came on the loud speaker and announced that Moonlight had actually won to let all the workers know. Everyone cheered and were really happy about that.
Photos via Variety, Metro, Fast CoCreate, Instagram, Getty Images / Christopher Polk, ABC News