Posted by ws1 on:
It's Night Two of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Sandra Bullock vs. Forest Whitaker (aka Forest graciously presents Sandra with the American Riviera Award because she is awesome ).
Since we know that both artists are immensely talented, humble, and that the ceremony inside the arlington will go predictably... I'm not going to get into it.
What does always strike me as interesting is the ritual that occurs on the red carpet. We (the press) arrive and check-in, and then stake out our 6 inches of space, exchange light conversation about camera lenses (Nikon vs. Canon) and consider if anyone near us might need a some gum. Then we wait.
The stars eventually arrive, and in typical 'gracious star' fashion, greet their fans with varying levels of authenticity. Sandra made a big effort to go say hi, shake a few hands, give a few quick interviews and chat.
Eventually, the stars handlers and festival organizers help them make their way (separately, never overlapping) and up the carpet and through the gauntlet of yelping and jostling journalists. There's a different emotional vibe with the press than with the fans. Most photographers yell the stars names or shout compliments at them that are mostly designed to elicit a momentary response (preferably a genuine looking smile).
The stars play along with the ritual. They smile, and then pause for longer-than-realistic periods of time so that everyone can get a good shot (probably thinking to themselves "you know, I never really get used to this.."). They occasionally joke back at us, but it's always slightly awkward because everybody knows the game, and everyone is a little anxious to get their awards, or review their photos. As a former Anthropology major, I can't help wonder how this ritual might look to outsiders.
I'll freely admit that despite my weird comments about the press line, it is fun to be surrounded by so much energy and enthusiasm. I do my best to ignore the few cranky and jaded journalists who seem to complain a lot about; people in their way, dead camera batteries, bloggers and lost press-passes. In my mind, I offer them a breath mint.
At the end, I always leave these red carpet events with a bigger smile on my face than I expected. Despite all the strange fanfare and commotion, being so close to famous people does humanize them a little bit - which is comforting.
I think Sandra wins in the screaming chanting salivating fans department. But Forest might actually have the upper hand in the charming smile category. Make your thoughts known below.