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March 2014

Oscar memories as I watch this year's show...

By Joy A. Kennelly

Watching the Oscars here in Vegas and memories keep flooding back because I wish I was in Los Angeles; although, enjoying my time with my little Mom as she visits me...

My first introduction to the magic of the Oscars was while running my short film festival years ago when I would go scout Academy Award nominated short films at the Academy and entice all the filmmakers I liked to participate in my film festival.

Amazing, emerging talent and such excitement! Because my short film fest covered animation, live action, documentary, experimental and spec commercials, I attended numerous screenings and heard numerous speeches. Always loved it. Still follow some of my filmmakers because they've gone on to such great careers in film.

Another time I was transitioning from one career to another and was an event server for numerous high-end, Hollywood catering companies which provided me the opportunity to serve during the Governor's Ball. Talk about a surreal moment.

Michael Moore had won for his documentary and was holding court in the center of the room; I was trying to feed Adrien Brody appetizers while everyone was coming up to congratulate him on his win and ask about his kiss with Halle Berry; and saw Chef Wolfgang Puck in action in the kitchen. A special highlight was being included in the formal picture of the Governor's Ballroom with all my servers which I believe they display somewhere.

I'm part of history folks.:)

Attending huge Oscar parties put on by friends at cool restaurants and voting on who would win is also a special memory. I made such good friends and connections I still have to this day from those parties too.

Then, a few years later, firmly ensconsed in my new career as a personal publicist to numerous up and coming actors, musicians and writers, we would attend all the Oscar Gifting Suites and Osar parties we could get into too. Different experience and wonderful all in its own.

Loved all the pampering, celebrities you'd bump into at various functions held all over the city in mansions, hotels, private homes, and more, all my publicity and film friends I'd see from the various years, hanging out with my clients, and all the fun we'd have. 

There's just something special about this time of year in Hollywood. 

And when I actually worked the Oscars as a production assistant, I saw everything that went into creating the extravaganza from behind-the-scenes, like the tenting of the red carpet to avoid the rain, the setting up of all the Oscar statues around the Kodak Theater, the flowers, the Governor's Ball, the media war room which determined where media would stand for interviews and who was more important than the other, the long, narrow tunnels behind the Oscar stage, the actual Kodak theater, all the food that would be served which Chef Wolfgang Puck prepared for the TV crews I was escorting, and all the actors discussing their awards with the media after they had won.

We were sworn to secrecy and forbidden from taking any pictures which was killing me, but I did walk away with new friends I stay in touch with to this day, an official Oscar baseball cap and poster. Years later, working at the Hollywood Reporter, I discovered an Oscar program from that night someone was giving away and added it to my collection of memorabilia.

I remember escaping the madness of that Oscar evening due to an old ankle injury acting up preventing me from wearing heels 14 hours non-stop and watching the show with dear friends in their nearby Hollywood home on their big bed as we gossiped and talked throughout the entire show.

Miss them.

Now, I'm watching from my Mom's hotel room in Vegas and creating my new memory of the Oscars. I was invited to two parties this year and almost went home, but felt time with my Mom was needed because she hasn't been to visit me since I moved here and drove out with me.

Sometimes you need to touch base with home on new soil rather than go back to feel home in person to help establish new traditions, new touchstones and new experiences. 

One year I would love to attend the Oscar show as a guest and someone who has created something worthwhile, but for now, I will continue to creating my short travel videos and continue to learn and grow as a storyteller on my own.

I am inspired by the creativity, dedication, determination, and focus of everyone involved in this year's Oscar show and the fashion! Love the fashion!

One of these days, one of these days...:)