Real OR Fake?

This weekend I’m in Los Angelos for a conference, and it just so happens to also be the weekend of the Oscars. I’ve been teasing the natives around me that I’d like to see some of their famous friends walk down the red carpet. They just roll their eyes, partially because they are not actually “friends” with any of the nominees and partially because they are not impressed enough with them to even care. It reminds me a little bit about the talk in Atlanta that the fans of the Braves were so used to winning everything that they just expected them to win, and ended up not going to many of the games. It was just taken for granted.

The joking about the Oscars started in the airport. Sitting down at the high top for breakfast in the Atlanta airport we left some personal space between us and the man already there. He had his backpack/computer bag sitting in that chair. Based on the fact that my traveling companion was a beautiful young girl, and we were the only women in the restaurant filled with men, he decided to start talking to us…the way Southerners will talk to anyone…very politely, but non stop. And of course, being a southerner, we joined in on the conversation. “Let me ask you a question”, he said. “If my bag hadn’t been in this chair, would you have sat down beside me?”

We said, “probably not, personal space respect and all.” He looked disappointed. For some reason, my Southern hospitality kicked in and I reminded him it was more polite of us to leave chairs around on either side, just in case he was already with some one. That seemed to make him feel better, so he kept talking. My traveling companion asked him what he did for a living. He looked at the guys sitting beside him and said, “Hmm….what do I do for a living?” They replied that he was a pilot. Game on.

He then inquired as to where we were going, and we mentioned our first stop was Dallas then on to Los Angelos. Of course the next question from him was what were we going to do in Los Angelos? Not really sure what came over me, but I said, “Well…the Oscars are in town.” All the men’s eyes got real wide (they were all eavesdropping) and one of them said, “Are you going to the Oscars?”. Of course was our reply. Their next question….Are you nominated or are you presenting?

My friend’s quick reply, she was presenting. I mentioned I was nominated.

We could tell by the dilation in their eyeballs that they half believed us, but weren’t quite sure who we were. I teased them that we were disappointed  they hadn’t recognized us. They weren’t sure what to say. One of them got out their camera phone and was discreetly taking pictures. I asked if he was going to Google us and shoot for facial recognition. He laughed and said, “yes, pay no attention to the phone as it circles around you.” He put the camera away and they all just kind of stared at us. Silence for awhile so my friend and I just continued our private conversation while they looked at each other and tried to decide if we were “someone”.

A little time went by with no other comments from our new admirers. They just kind of watched us and raised a few eyebrows. Finally the backpack man asked, are you really a nominee? I said aren’t you really a pilot? He knew he’d been caught, but we left shortly after that for our flight, and I’m not sure they really know who we are.

We arrived in LA in due time and were met by one of the locals and more of my friends who will be attending the conference with us and had a lovely time catching up over appetizers, and later dinner. We were transfixed during the appetizer part by all the wait staff with foreign accents. My new friend told us to not trust any of them, as they are probably all actors trying out their new accents, and practicing to stay in character.

As we walked back to the car we noticed all the REALLY pretty people, and I have to admit, I wondered who was plastic and who was real. Hard to tell sometimes. Over dinner, I poured in the fake sugar into my tea (sweet tea is a southerner’s drink  but I don’t want the calories of the real sugar). It tastes close to the real thing, and sometimes, depending on the sweetener, it is also hard to tell the difference. We had a discussion about how we would know if we ran into a real Oscar nominee…they would be wearing sunglasses inside the elevator and try to turn aside so we wouldn’t recognize them and I guess, therefore not bother them. But really, if they are wearing sunglasses on the elevator at night isn’t  that calling more attention to themselves?

Sure enough, on the ride up the elevator there were two people standing there in dark sunglasses, hat pulled down low, wearing baggy clothes. They were not sociable at all to us Georgia girls. But they kept glancing over their shoulder like we should say something to them about who they are or whip out our camera phones….I had no idea who they were. So I “left them alone.” They seemed disappointed.

Actors walk a fine line between privacy and recognition. The minute no one recognizes them or stops caring who they are they can’t pull in the big roles. Some of them are recognizing that if they are too perfect in their plastic resources they loose their marketability as a real person. Some immerse themselves into an accent and become someone else. No problem with that, as long as they remember who they really are. Good thought for all of us, I think.

But it did make me wonder, if I put on a long formal gown, whip out my dark sunglasses and walk anywhere near Kodak Theater on Sunday afternoon….will people try to take their picture with me?