The Academy Awards, aka the Oscars, are on this Sunday so I thought it was the perfect time to share my behind-the-scenes tour of the Dolby Theatre. The Dolby Theatre is right in downtown Hollywood and was built specifically for the Oscars. On the tour, one learns interesting facts like the stairs are built wide but shallow to make it easier to walk them in gowns and heels.
The tour began just as it does for the stars, at an entrance on the balcony level. After a little Academy Awards history, we were escorted down a large, spiral staircase to the VIP level. On Oscar night, only nominees, presenters, and seat fillers (which I will talk about later), basically just the big names, can get past security down those stairs. Instead of heading into the seating area of the theater where I thought we were going, however, we headed backstage and…
Right out onto the stage! I love theater tours anyway, but this was great knowing that we were getting the “winners’ ” view of the theater. We were looking out into the audience where they had set up large posters in the seats showing where the stars sat at the last Academy Awards. It was pretty great seeing faces like Channing Tatum and Leonardo DiCaprio staring back at me. Too bad they were just large photos! The guide pointed out where the very large teleprompters would be in the middle of the audience similar to what we saw at The People’s Choice Awards (see my post from last week).
Our winners’ view continued as the guide took us into the elevator and down the hallway where the Oscar winners would meet with the press for interviews. The elevator was actually a freight elevator that on Oscar night, would be covered in posh drapery. The windows in the hallway would also be covered so people can’t look in.
After a very short time, the tour as over, but not before we were shown some photos from the amazing after parties. The decorations for those are absolutely incredible.
Getting tickets to the Academy Awards is impossible unless you’re a member of the Academy and even then, it’s not always possible. That being said, there is one way people like you and me can, if we’re lucky, get at least an in-person glimpse at the stars that night.
There is bleacher seating set up along the red carpet for the general public. This seating is awarded through a lottery system. Basically, one can go to http://www.oscars.org/enter at the time that the lottery is being held (for the 2016 Oscars, the lottery was held November 5 – 19) and sign up. Winners are then notified and can specify one or two seats. For those lucky enough to sit front row, the stars do on occasion stop to shake hands or for a photo, but generally it’s just a smile or a wave from a short distance.
I know many people are aware of the seat-fillers, people who fill the seats when the stars are up presenting or getting an award and wonder how to get one of those. Unfortunately, even those are impossible to get for the general public. All Oscar seat-fillers are either family members of Academy members or work for PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm that counts the votes. That is not true for most of the Awards shows, however, so if you’re interested in attending a show other than the Oscars, try Audiences Unlimited (which is also a good place to get tickets for show tapings) or Seatfillersandmore.com.
Of course, you can also do what I did and that’s either purchase a ticket to see the stars at The People’s Choice Awards or take a tour of the Dolby Theatre where the Academy Awards are held. Tours are held daily from 10:30am – 4:00pm every half hour except around Oscar time, of course and cost $20 for adults, $16 for kids 17 and under and seniors, children under 3 are free but note there are no strollers allowed.
I hope your favorites win Sunday night!