Remember a couple of years ago when the Occupy Wall Street movement was making its rounds in cities around the country? All we heard back then was how evil the “One Percent” was and how they needed to be brought down a peg or two. Tonight, some of the One Percenters will be gathering in Los Angeles for their annual salute to themselves as the Academy Awards show gets underway.
The Hollywood crowd has a way of boring the rest of us with their piety. They’ll show up at the awards in Honda Priuses in an effort to prove how much they care about the environment, as if they don’t know or care that only the most gullible among us believes that’s their chosen mode of transportation on the other 364 days of the year. Many of them have more than one gasoline-powered car and regularly fly around on private jets….but they’ll be the first to align themselves with crazy political hacks who preach to all of us that we need to stop using fossil fuels and start living on some as-yet-undeveloped alternative. Much like their friends in Washington, Hollywood is oblivious to how most Americans live their lives. Both talk of “income inequality” as if America and capitalism had not been very, very good to them, so things need to be “fundamentally transformed.”
One place that really could use a fundamental transformation is Hollywood itself (Washington too but since it’s Oscar Night, let’s just deal with one devil at a time). It’s ironic that one of the most class-conscious places that I’ve ever spent time was on the set of a major motion picture. In 2008, I worked for 8 days as a paid extra (“background actor”) on the set of a film that starred a then-teenaged TV and pop star who is now an adult train wreck. We were told—on more than one occasion—that we were not to speak to the actors when they arrived on the set—even if they stood right beside us. Unless, of course, they spoke to us. We were told this individually on the phone when we were confirmed to work, then again in a written email. It was repeated when we arrived to the place where we met to be taken to the set, then again once we got there. Talk about over-kill. The reason, we were told, is because “they are working”.
Well, DUH…we were all working there. It seemed rather ridiculous, but it didn’t really bother me because I had nothing to say to them anyway. Most of the actors in that film, with the exception of possibly one of them, were B and C-list actors that I’d never heard of before. The thing that did strike me about this “don’t speak until spoken to” rule of the set is that it was probably more of an effort to get the actors off the hook from having to make small talk with “the little people”. That seems rather rude. The upside was on one of the evenings, the dinner we were served was the London Broil that had been left over from the director’s lunch that day. It was good, but a film set is a place where you definitely know your place. I can only imagine what it must be like working on films where the stars really are famous actors. I’ve heard stories that extras and lower-tier crew members aren’t even allowed to make eye contact with them. It would be nice if those were just rumors, but they probably aren’t.
Tonight’s festivities may be a little on the wet side. After months of drought, heavy rains came in yesterday and saturated the famed Red Carpet. Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?