Before the stars hit the red carpet on Oscar Sunday, they partied it up at the beach in Santa Monica, California, at the 2011 Film Independent Spirit Awards. I was backstage hanging out in the LG Cinema 3D HDTV Gift Lounge. The freezing cold weather and blustery winds didn’t deter anyone from the celebration as some big name stars hit the lounge for charity. LG Cinema 3D made a donation on behalf of each star who stopped by to “tune in for charity” raising $125,000 for Project Involve, Film Independent’s signature program for increasing diversity in the film industry.
Security was tight in this ultra exclusive lounge but I have your backstage pass to what you missed behind the curtain!
The first star to arrive was “Glee’s” Jane Lynch who headed straight for LG’s 3D TV so she could experience it for herself. After throwing on some bedazzled 3D glasses she laughed to me, “It looks like it’s going to hit you in the face! It’s pretty amazing.”
Besides filming “Glee,” Jane is in the process or writing a memoir. She filled me in what revelations to expect. Plus, she chatted about Kathy Griffin’s guest stint on “Glee” parodying a certain tea party member. Check out our interview HERE.
“Twilight” star Anna Kendrick arrived a few minutes after Jane and wasn’t in a chatty mood for the media but she was happy to snag some New Balance Rev 890 running shoes. Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak was on hand to help the stars find their perfect fit. Plus, he even coaxed some of them to rev up their workouts. During my interview with “Gossip Girl” villainess Michelle Trachtenberg, he made sure to give her some guff for mentioning she hates to exercise. Michelle had just posed for Maxim magazine’s March issue and admitted working out prior to shooting was not her favorite thing. She is however, very proud of the cover. “It’s pretty sexy,” she told me. “I like to say that it borderlines on slightly fetish. It’s very kind of ‘Dita von Teese Hollywood pinup’. It leaves something to the imagination but it shows a whole lot! Check out Michelle’s sexy Maxim cover HERE.
Anne Heche had a star struck moment when she caught a glimpse of indie film legend John Waters and had to run over to say hello, as her boyfriend James Tupper laughed. Later, James helped her pick out a skimpy bikini from Nautica and then grabbed matching tote bags from Vera Bradley. So, I’m guessing maybe a tropical beach vacation is in the works soon?! Take me with you!!
The adorable Vanessa Hudgens squealed in delight when she noticed my pregnant belly. Of course, we first met many years ago on the set of “High School Musical” and have shared many fun interviews together since. She was probably one of the smartest celebs to hit the blustery show this year choosing to wear a warm leather jacket over a long dress. “I came prepared today,” she chuckled. “It was actually hailing at my house earlier. It was crazy!
She wasn’t kidding! Five minutes after our interview began, my co-workers were emailing photos of the hail in their backyards!
Vanessa happily posed in the LG Cinema 3D HDTV Gift Lounge with fellow actress Malin Akerman. Both have worked with director Zack Snyder recently (Vanessa in “Sucker Punch”, Malin in “Watchmen”) who just happens to be helming the upcoming “Superman” franchise reboot. Clark Kent has been cast — the adorable Henry Cavill — but the female lead is up for grabs… i.e. Lois Lane. So, I just had to ask each of the ladies if they were in talks at all with Zack for the role.
“I haven’t yet but I do have his number,” Vanessa giggled. “Its a really, great awesome super hero movie!”
Malin also hasn’t spoken to Zack but would love to get the phone call. “I love him and, of course, if he ever asked me I would do anything with him,” she exclaimed.
After checking out the 3D TV she did have a message to Hollywood producers, “I’m putting it out there if anybody wants me to be in their 3D film just ask me!”
Midway through the show it was guy candy time inside the tent - Jeremy Renner shared a warm hug with his “Hurt Locker” co-star Anthony Mackie after spotting his old pal. Jessie Eisenberg looked a bit dazed by all the free goodies when he arrived. Both sunglasses wearing Samuel L Jackson and Jamie Foxx couldn’t resist checking out the 3D TV’s and actually removed their sunglasses in favor of the 3D glasses. Jon Hamm popped an Altoid before giving his cute girlfriend a kiss on the cheek. “True Blood” hottie Joe Manganiello looked stunned when he learned AMC Theaters was offering up a free year of movies thanks to their Signature Pass.
Dale Dickey was the first winner to hit the lounge. She picked up a trophy for best supporting actress in “Winter’s Bone” and was blown away by the honor. “It’s overwhelming and very thrilling. It’s my first time at this kind of party,” she told me holding back tears. The one problem she had with the award was making sure her cat didn’t knock it over once she got it home!
The tears did flow for real when Jason Ritter ran into Dale. I cornered him over by the Little Giraffe booth where he was snagging a warm fuzzy blanket (I’d hoped for my kid but I wasn’t so lucky) to find out what he said to get the waterworks flowing. “We did an independent movie together about five or six years ago,” he explained. “When you do that you create a little family and then you see each other work over the years and you root for each other. It’s just so nice to see someone like her be acknowledged. She just deserves it more than anyone else I know, to be honest.”
Apparently, it was the red heads time in the lounge. After Dale arrived, Nicole Kidman and Kate Walsh followed. Nicole was palling around with her Aussie bff Naomi Watts while Kate was glued to the side of her “Private Practice” co-star Taye Diggs. Kate was all about the chocolate in the lounge, which was being provided by Pure Dark. I wish I could have tried it but I have to hold off on the sugary treats until after the baby arrives. Kate assured me it was divine though. She gave me a huge laugh talking about the upcoming musical episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” which she will be appearing in. “Just like when I was a kid, I will be in the chorus,” she chuckled. “There will not be a solo!” Though she did reveal she took singing lessons prior to filming.
The second winner to hit the lounge was Dale’s “Winter’s Bone” co-star John Hawkes. He won for best supporting actor, for which he was also nominated at the Oscars. He knew he was a long shot there (thanks to Christian Bale picking up just about every trophy for his role in “The Fighter,” all season long) so winning the Spirit Award was a surprise. I asked if he was happy that awards show season would soon be officially over. “Maybe a little bit,” he told me. “But I’m sure there is going to be some odd part of me that misses it when I wake up Monday morning because it was kind of nice being told where to go and where to be and that kind of thing. I need a life coach apparently!”
I’m guessing for all the nominees the weekend getaway to the Ritz Carlton in NYC they snagged can help ease them out of award show mode!
Cheers to a great season!