domenica 31 marzo 2013

The Oscars 2013 - Part 5: Vanity Fair Party

If I didn’t know about the Governors Ball, I was totally aware of the Vanity Fair Party
And I was really looking forward to going there. 
The problem was, half of Hollywood was going there at the same time, and reaching the Sunset Tower Hotel, where the party is held every year, was more difficult (and longer) than we expected. The jet lag hit us in the Limousine and we had to keep talking to each other to arrive at destination still awake.
But then, there we were, at the most fabulous party of the year in LA!
As usual, we immediately understood there were two different kinds of entrance: one for the common people like us and the other one for the stars. The wall of TV journalists was particularly astonishing here: photographers were piling up one above the other and the flashes of their cameras were incessant as well as their requests to the stars passing by.
We arrived at the same time of Jennifer Lawrence (who changed her dress, in the meantime) and the moment was absolutely frantic. Everybody was screaming, taking pictures and going crazy:

Once inside, I had troubles recognising the place. I have been at the restaurant of the Sunset Tower Hotel few years before, but now it looked like a completely different location. Maybe it was the number of stars per meter that made the difference.
At this party, the sensation I felt at the Oscars was even more intense: it looked like one of those dreams where you could see people but people can’t see you. Do you know what I mean? I walked around bumping into any possible star I used to see on a silver screen, feeling invisible. Casey Affleck was talking to somebody in a corner, Jennifer Aniston was walking in front of me and I had to be careful not to step on her red long dress, Robert De Niro was just arrived with his young son, Jason Gordon Levitt (by far one of the nicest people I saw that night) was smiling and having fun, in another room, absolutely packed, the slim and tall figure of Adrien Brody was mesmerising the crowd around him.
It was probably a bit too much. 

After a glass of wine, we decided the overdose of stars had to stop.
The funniest part, though, was just about to start. 
We called our driver, saying that he could pick us up, but we didn’t realize it was rush hour on Sunset Boulevard… hundreds of stars were waiting for their cars as well, and so I enjoyed looking at them in a “normal” situation.
Zooey Deschanel (with a lovely vintage dress!) had both her arms around her boyfriend, and was pretending to be already asleep, Octavia Spencer, her high heels shoes in her hands, was making a TV interview barefoot, Jason Clarke (again!) was looking around hoping to find a lift, Vin Diesel couldn’t count on any super-power to find his limousine, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, in an ethereal pink dress, was standing there, pretending to be admired for her stunning beauty while waiting for someone to fly her elsewhere. But the funniest scene was seeing Jane Fonda, in an improbable leopard dress, grabbing a couple of hamburgers from the little van at the roadside that was trying to feed all the stars (knowing that, as a matter of fact, they don’t really eat at parties and so, in the end, they’re starving).
The night was really over, I felt a bit of sadness at the idea that the most magical night of the year was gone, but immediately afterwards I felt happy and lucky, because I knew I could write about it in my blog…

I really need to thank many people who made my dream come true.
First of all, the Academy people: my eternal gratitude goes to Dawn Hudson, for inviting me, to Heather Cochran for introducing me to Daniel Day Lewis (and much more!) and to Debbie Peters for her precious help.
A big GRAZIE! to my colleague Susanna who offered me to share the hotel room as well as the entire experience with her, and to the Dream Team (Emanuele, Gigi & Jonathan) who drove me anywhere in Los Angeles and supported me every day.
And to my boss, who’s been putting up with my cinema passion for almost 13 years, not only the usual Grazie, Capo! but the reassurance that the procedure for his canonization already started!
Now, guys, the only problem is that it won’t be easy to convince me to let the OSCAR go...

lunedì 25 marzo 2013

The Oscars 2013 - Part 4: The Governors Ball

I have to confess I didn’t know about the existence of a thing called Governors Ball until the previous day, when I received the invitation to attend it. On the card there was written: Hollywood & Highland, Ray Dolby Ballroom, Immediately Following the Ceremony.
Once the Oscars were over, in fact, we have been invited to reach the top floor of the theater building: before entering the hall, there was the usual wall of journalists and photographers waiting for the stars, and those immense reflectors that, believe me, are the most annoying things on planet earth. The life of a star is a tough one…. how can you resist making an interview under those liquefying lights? The Governors Ball was taking place in an enormous, quite dark space, with an orchestra on the far left side, round tables elegantly set up everywhere and few big tables on the corners covered with food. I guess a place like El Morocco in the 20s should look like this.
I immediately understood that all the stars, sooner or later, would be passing by. And I was right. 
As a matter of fact, there were too many stars arriving. Helped by the first glass of champagne (at empty stomach), I started walking around: Jean Dujardin was the first in my line of vision. He was by himself, and I knew he doesn’t speak English super well, so I thought I could talk to him in French. Yes, good idea! but when I started walking towards him, Alexander Payne crossed my path. Oh, I love your cinema! I wanted to tell him. Yes, but just in front of him there was George Clooney with an absolutely irresistible beard, smiling.
What am I supposed to do now??! It was impossible to choose, believe me, so I just walked around enjoying the funny scenes I had the opportunity to look at, like Adele, Barbra Streisand and Shirley Bassey drinking and laughing all together, or Jason Gordon Levitt posing for pictures with Amy Adams and the-most-gorgeous-woman-in-the-universe, Ms. Charlize Theron (and her fabulous, new short haircut!).
 After a while, it was pretty clear that tables were naturally arranging around every Oscar movie: there was the Argo area, the Life of Pi area, and the Lincoln area, where I was. I was introduced to Steven Spielberg. My boss explained to him I was a cinema freak. Spielberg told me: "I love that you love cinema!" The second glass of champagne didn’t help: I felt like we were old friends and that it was actually normal talking to him.
Anyway, where is Daniel??! I wanted to scream. His family was there, all the actors from Lincoln were there, the director was there. And there he was, all of a sudden, the happiest man I have ever seen in all my life:
I looked at him, completely and utterly mesmerized by his smiling, his joyful expression, his way of walking and talking. Everybody wanted to say something, to shake hands, to compliment him. He was looking around, clearly enjoying every minute of it, distributing with equal magnanimity smiles and thank you. I could have stayed there forever. When I was about to approach him, Daniel Day Lewis looked around and said: "Could somebody bring me to my wife? I didn’t see Rebecca since I had the Oscar!" What a lovely and romantic thing to say… but the problem was that somebody actually brought him to Rebecca and soon afterwards they seated down at a table and started to eat. I was panicking. I missed my chance to talk to him. Definitely. So stupid of me! I was there with a desperate expression on my face when Heather, from the Academy, saw me and asked me what was going on. I explained. She said: "Let’s go, there is just one life, and we have to take advantage of it." And off she went towards Daniel. We arrived from behind him. She put a hand on his shoulder, and Daniel looked up at her: "I’m sorry to bother you Daniel, but there is an Italian woman who would like to tell you something." Day Lewis looked at me, smiling, and making a gesture with his hand, meaning: come, no worries. When I arrived, he gave me his right hand, I took it and I didn’t let it go until the end of my love declaration. Daniel listened carefully to my speech, having - I guess - a lot of fun. When I told him I have been following his career since I was 15 years old, he raised his eyebrow, and he commented: wow! He kept telling me thank you, smiling, and squeezing my hand every time I said something nice (basically every two seconds).
I don’t remember anything about the end of that scene. I was completely blown away by the events, and so I started walking around the place without a destination. 
And it was then that I saw Mads Mikkelsen walking in my direction. Alone.
Before I could even think what I was doing, I walked towards him.
He didn’t have a choice: he had to stop, because I went right in front of him saying: Hello!
Mikkelsen looked at me (down at me, because he is pretty tall): Hello!
- I’m a huge fan of yours!
- Oh, thank you!
- Actually, I have a cinema blog, and every year I give my personal Oscars, and this year you have won the award for Best Actor!
- Oh, really? For which movie?

(Is he really asking me this? I thought in a brief moment of lucidity)
- For Jagten! (are you impressed? – I wanted to add – that I quote the movie's original Danish title?)
- Oh, that’s a very good movie. Did you like it?
- Sure, a lot, this is also why I decided to give you this price.

Mikkelsend looked at me: And the price consists of...?
Dear readers, believe me or not, when he asked me that, I moved closer, I put my arms around him, and I kissed him on his right cheek.
Mikkelsen was puzzled: Oh, well… nice price! Thank you!
- You’re very welcomed!
- I have to go now, because I have friends waiting for me, but it was nice meeting you.
- The same for me! 
And while I was looking at him disappearing into the crowd, I thought: And you’re lucky I didn’t give you the Man of my Life Award…. Otherwise you wouldn’t make it out just with one kiss, darling!
To celebrate, I took a picture of myself as a real star:
The Governors Ball was over. On our way out we saw Christoph Waltz drinking coffee with the Oscar under his right arm and Tim Burton with a broken arm, and then we started waiting for our limousine to pick us up.
There was one more thing to do… the night was still young!

martedì 19 marzo 2013

The Oscars 2013 - Part 3: The Ceremony

Our seats were amazing: first row of the first balcony, a place with a view on the entire parterre of stars. One couldn’t ask for more (well… maybe a seat close to Daniel Day Lewis, or directly on his lap, but ok…). The stage was pretty amazing too: an arch of lights, a round big platform in the middle and two others, smaller, on the right and on the left side.
The stars were taking their seats: it was funny to watch and trying to recognize each of them. Everybody was being very polite: it was a question of greetings, kisses and embraces. I was wondering how many of them were sincere, but I guess you had the same percentage in real life at no-matter-what kind of mundane event. 

When the lights got out and a voice announced that the Oscars 2013 night was about to begin, I had one of those stupid thoughts I always have in these occasions. I thought: How is it possible that Zazie from Paris, coming in reality not at all from the French capital but from the most obscure little village of the Pianura Padana, is here at the Oscars night? I held my breath for a second, praying that no beam of light would be pointed directly at me to ask about my incongruous presence... luckily enough, Seth MacFarlane was already on stage, and the big show was about to begin! 
Standing Ovation for Shirley Bassey

I have to make a confession: I was convinced I would have found the ceremony a bit boring. 
I mean: it is long, and there are all those musical breaks, I was really afraid to reach the point of saturation. Well, it wasn’t the case: I was so excited that the almost three hours looked like 30 minutes.
I was particularly lucky, though: the musical breaks were kindly provided by appointment to their majesties Shirley Bassey, Adele and Barbra Streisand, among others. 
The awards started immediately to rain, and the first moment of joy, for me, was the Oscar to the short animation film Paperman by John Kahrs, a super sweet love story involving a lot of paper planes that, to my surprise, started to fly also from the balcony. If you don’t know this movie, you should absolutely see it, here it is:

Paperman - Short Film by John Kahrs par Flixgr
The other Oscar I was incredibly happy about, was the one for Best Documentary, given to the magnificent Searching for Sugar Man by Malik Bendjelloul. When, during his speech, the film maker said that Rodriguez (the singer the documentary is about) didn't come to the ceremony not to steal the scene to him, I really thought how amazing a human being could be. If you missed it, run to see this pure gem:

Have you ever wondered what happened in the theatre during the commercials? I was always curious to know that and I finally had the answer: the people seated on the balconies get out and have a drink at the bar, while the stars get up and talk to each other. The parterre is an ever changing place: actors and actresses are moving around a lot because they can introduce awards or take part into some musical piece. When they have an Oscar they simply disappear... I guess they're stuck in the pictures+interviews machine. 
The stars during the commercials
If you go to the bar for a drink, you have to be very careful: it is essential to be back in the theatre before the commercials are over, otherwise you'll be left outside. I didn't know about this rule, so when I saw my door closing I rushed, but the man in front of it was absolutely inflexible: no, I couldn't go inside. 
I was panicking, because we were almost at the end and I was afraid to miss some important awards. I was complaining about this with Susanna in Italian when a woman approached us: Which beautiful language are you talking in? Italian, we said. Oh, that sounds lovely even when you're unnerved! On a screen placed just outside the door we could see the images but without sound. What's the matter? the woman asked. We explained. Oh, don't worry, there is still time for the big ones. It was like this that we met Doris, a very nice woman who was an Oscar habituée (it was her 15th time at the ceremony!), and with whom we talked and laughed until the end of the commercials.
I wasn't lucky enough to escape the Oscar for Best Foreign Picture to Amour by Michael Haneke, though. As everybody knows, I'm a huge fan of the man. I think he has made the dullest speech ever (surprise, surprise!) and while the others were clapping hands, I remained perfectly still on my seat. Ta gueule! I just wanted to shout at him (but I didn't).

Then, finally, it was time for the one and only Oscar I was really waiting for, the one for Best Actor.
I remembered a day of many months before, probably almost one year, when I saw for the first time a picture of DDL as Lincoln: he was eating something in a cafeteria, dressed in modern clothes, but with the make-up transforming him in the President. I immediately posted the picture on my Facebook page, writing: I can already see an Oscar (the third) in his hands. Well, it wans't difficult to imagine it but, still, I was right. This is the picture:
And this is Daniel Day Lewis receiving his third Oscar at the Dolby Theatre on February 24 (from the hands of Meryl Streep):
And if you want to hear his funny and moving speech:

After Daniel, just two more Oscars were left: the one for Best Director (won by Ang Lee) and the one for best picture (won by Argo). 
Once the ceremony was over, we left our seats but not the theatre: we had in our hands the tickets to go to the Governors Ball... the funniest part of the night was about to start...

giovedì 14 marzo 2013

Happy Birthday, Sir!

Sir Michael Caine turns 80 today.
One of the finest actors and most wonderful human beings ever.
Zazie loves him. So much.
Happy Birthday, Sir

martedì 12 marzo 2013

The Oscars 2013 - Part 2: Getting There

The car was supposed to pick us up around 2.30 pm. Of course, Susanna (the colleague with whom I was sharing the experience and the hotel room) and I, were late. Everything was a disaster: the pedicure, the make-up, the dresses. Why we didn’t have anybody to help us? The miraculous cream Susanna talked to me about, producing such a nice effect on her, on my face was looking like collapsing wallpaper. Nothing was working the way we wanted, but in the end, somehow, we managed to be presentable and we finally got off the hotel to go into our car. 
Our car was the biggest black limousine ever produced and there was enough space for 10 people, not to mention the nice bar, fully equipped, and our super nice driver, George. 
Once picked up our Boss at his hotel we headed towards the Dolby Theatre, and while I was in the car (for far too long, for my taste) I was just going crazy because I couldn't simply wait any longer for the whole thing to happen. Basta -  I feel like screaming - I want to be at the Oscars NOW! 
After an infinite time, we arrived in Hollywood Boulevard, that was actually partially closed for the event. Only Limousines were allowed to get there. Few meters before the theatre, there was the weirdest demonstration I had ever seen. No, I had actually already seen something like that in an episode of Six Feet Under, many years ago: men and women of all ages were showing us signs where they were basically announcing us that we (meaning actors, film-makers, people involved in the show business in general) were a bunch of fornicators and God despised us so much that we will all end up in hell. Well, guys, if Daniel Day Lewis, Jeremy Irons and Michael Fassbender are going to be there, I just want to be part of that club. Thanks very much.
And then we finally got there:

A big Oscar statue was welcoming us: we had to follow a path that was leading us inside the theatre: 
It was the “check-point”, where you had to show your ticket and your passport. And it was there I realized that, of course, there are two kinds of Red Carpet. One is for the stars, and the other one for the rest of us (why I didn’t have access to the stars one is still a mystery to me…). 
When we arrived, the only two stars available were Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones (not exactly my cup of tea). It was the craziest place on earth: big, warm lights were irradiating the carpet and they were so strong you could barely stand under them. Besides that, the public at the balconies on both sides of the carpet, was screaming so, so much. 
I really thought: Ok, that’s it, I officially am at the Oscar night! 
The only problem with the Red Carpet is that you can’t really stand there. Security people politely ask you to move, to keep going, and you are actually quite happy to do so, because you can’t see anything and the shouting all around is just too loud.
Then you are at the entrance of the theatre: there is a long corridor and monumental stairs that lead you into the place. The corridor was already full of dressed up men and women taking pictures and looking for stars. 
 Of course, I did the same. Actually, since Susanna and my Boss wanted to get inside, I walked around by myself for at least 30 minutes, hoping to see somebody I liked. It was then that I bumped for the first time into an actor that, for some strange reasons, I kept bumping into for the whole night (till the point he was looking at me in an inquisitive way: do I know you???). His name is Jason Clarke, and he has a major role in Zero Dark Thirty by Kathryn Bigelow. Cute guy, actually, and he was by himself too, but I suddenly remembered to have read somewhere that he was from Queensland, Australia, and I simply preferred to miss my chance (sorry, guys, bloggers have their personal issues too):

Anyway, my heart was already broken: Malik Bendjelloul, the director of the documentary Searching for Sugar Man, to whom I was secretly wishing to make a love declaration (both for the wonderful movie and for, let’s say, less artistic reasons), showed up with a stunningly gorgeous girlfriend at his arm, leaving me without any hope. Damn!

And before I had time for more, they announced that the ceremony was about to start and that everybody should get inside. So I rushed into the theatre, looking for a glass of champagne, and for my seat...
... and in case you’re wondering what kind of smiling and happy face I had in the car that was getting me to the Oscar Night, well, dear readers, here it is:
And to give you an idea of the Red Carpet:

giovedì 7 marzo 2013

Les Parapluies de Cherbourg need you!

Dear Readers,
If you regularly follow my blog, you certainly noticed that I have already written several posts about the French film maker Jacques Demy
As a matter of fact, any excuse is good for me to talk about him.
The reason is simple: I'm totally crazy about his cinema.
When the other day I read the news that the family Demy-Varda (through their distribution company Ciné-Tamaris) was launching a petition to find 25.000 € to restore Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, Demy's masterpiece, I immediately adhered to the initiative.
The movie has been originally shot in 1963 using a 35 mm negative film, that now needs to be transformed, through a very complicated, long and expensive process, into digital files able to be used to show the movie in nowadays cinemas.
The whole thing will cost much more than that, but Ciné-Tamaris already received the support from different contributors:
Festival de Cannes : 50 000€
LVMH : 25 000 €
Ville de Cherbourg : 10 000€
Région Basse-Normandie : 5 000€
for a total of 90 000 €
Now, it is necessary to find the remaining 25.000 € (in 39 days, so be quick!).
Depending on the amount you are giving, you'll receive some cinematographic "gifts" related to the movie to thank you for your help.
You can find all the details of the initiative on this site:
And on the film Facebook page:

If you don't know this movie, the only example of cinema en-chanté (the dialogues are sung, not told), I strongly suggest you to see it. The film won the Palme D'or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1964, and it is very easy to understand why.
This is a unique movie in the cinema history.
It is so part of my life that any time I pass near a gas station, I immediately start singing (in my head) the Garage Song. I can't help it. It is just there, and I know it will be there for ever.

If you love cinema, you love Les Parapluies de Cherbourg.
Please help them to live FOR EVER!

martedì 5 marzo 2013

The Oscars 2013 - Part 1: Getting Ready

The day I had the certainty that I was going to LOS ANGELES to see the OSCARS, was also the day I started freaking out about it. 
I thought: ok, this is not going to happen. This is too good to be true. 
Something will come up, FOR SURE, obliging me to stay at home: I will fall down from the stairs again, I will have a flu, there will be a strike at the Paris airport, or at the Los Angeles airport, the city will be hit by a snow storm, or there will be a locusts invasion.
No doubt something will prevent me to be on board of that plane to Los Angeles!!!
I was so scary that I gave the incredible news just to few people.
My colleagues and a bunch of friends knew, but on the social networks I kept a low profile. I was very discreet until the very last moment. I was so discreet that I started doubting I was actually going. Nevertheless, on Saturday February 23, there I was: in good health, no falls, no strikes, no snow storms and not even the famous locusts invasion!
Passport and tickets in my hands, ready to sing: Silver Jet take me, I’m all set, Take me, Through the sky etc… (yes, I know Astrud Gilberto was actually going to Brazil but hey, I couldn’t find a better song!).
The big adventure was about to start…
… and it started soon enough, because in the Lounge of Air France the first person I bumped into was the adorable French actress Emmanuelle Riva, who received a Zazie d’Or on Thursday and a César on Friday (and maybe she was about to win an Oscar on Sunday!).
I still had in my hears her wonderful words from the César ceremony (sorry guys, I wasn’t able to find them on the net to be put in this post) and I could still see her smiling, in a beautiful red Lanvin dress, with her lovely eyes looking into the audience. If you can tell me where I could sign to get old like this, I immediately do it (this fabulous Lady is aged 86):

Once arrived in Los Angeles, I started freaking out about my appearance.
Of course, now that I have solved the problem of getting there, the new step was: in which conditions can I arrive at the ceremony? I imagined all these beautiful, gorgeous actresses getting ready for the Oscars since at least two months in advance, with a multitude of hair-dressers, make-up artists, stylists and personal trainers around them.
How can I possibly compete? – I ask myself.
In fact, I couldn’t.
I didn’t even have time, before leaving, of having a face massage, or a quick plastic surgery, but I knew one thing: I wanted a bright, shining, impeccable manicure and pedicure.
I was staying in Culver City and on Sunday morning, after a good night rest (thanks, sleeping pills kindly provided by my mum!), I was ready to go to the prestigious appointment that my hotel booked for me in a beauty salon around the corner. 

I don’t know exactly what kind of glamorous place I had in mind that day, but one thing was for sure: it wasn’t the beauty salon I was stepping in (I think in Barbès-Rochechouart I could have found nicer places… the Parisians will understand what I’m talking about here!).
Well, it was too late to change my mind and so I bravely ventured into the salon and said I had an appointment (unfortunately). It was then that I realized I had a new, worrying problem: understanding the women working at the salon. They were four Chinese women talking with a strong whateverchinesecity accent and I couldn’t understand a single word. Before entering, I was fantasising about asking an advise on the colour I should use, but clearly enough they couldn’t have a clue, so I chosen a dark grey and they looked at me in disbelief:
are you suuuuuuure? 
I wasn’t sure of anything, at that stage, not even of my name, but I strongly assure them that yes, that was the colour I wanted. And just when I thought the worst was over, a new drama was about to happen: the woman making the manicure and the one making the pedicure (contemporarily) didn’t agree on each other methods, and they spent the whole time yelling in Chinese (very bad words, I'm telling you!). 
After 1 hour that looked like 1 geological era to me, I was ready to leave the place. Just one minor concern: will my shoes ruin the nail polish on my feet? Oh, no, not AT ALL! Said one of the two contenders to Top Esthetician… while the other one reinforced: and the manicure will last two full weeks!
And off I went, towards the hotel. 
Useless to say: my feet were a DISASTER and the nail polish on my hands lasted JUST a couple of days.
Oscars, here I come!!!

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