The Oscars are this weekend and back in 2007, one of our own Offenders, Iris Yamashita, was nominated for an Academy Award for writing the screenplay for the Clint Eastwood-directed LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA. For this #FlashbackFriday, we return to the 79th annual Academy Awards and Iris’ memories of attending the event with her late father:
The actual day of the Oscars was kind of like going to your own wedding. Contrary to what people think, no one offers writers free dresses, but the studio provided hair & make-up, and a limo came to pick us up to take us to the event.
The Red Carpet was mostly a blur. There were strobes of flashing lights and people yelling all over the place to get you to look into their camera. I never thought it would happen, but someone asked what I was wearing. Should I tell them I got my dress at the Glendale Shopping Mall and I saw someone else here wearing the exact same thing? I can’t even remember what my answer was. “Something from the Galleria?” I think the flashing lights had rendered me dumb.
My dad was probably even more nervous than I was. He kept stepping on the train of my dress. I couldn’t get through 5 steps without a sudden jerk on the back of my dress and I’d fall backwards. I heard people in the stand snicker at us. I kept telling my dad, “Stop stepping on my dress!” Thankfully, there were plenty of actual celebrities just coming around behind us to divert all the attention–Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Paul Haggis, Al Gore, etc.
Things were going smoother with the dress, I thought, as I stopped feeling the sudden backward tugs and then I realized that it was because my father was no longer behind me. I looked back and saw my dad talking into a mike with a reporter from a Japanese TV station. Apparently, now he was giving his own interviews.
Seated in the auditorium, we could see all the lovely people. Nicole Kidman, Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorcese. Those people were upfront center. Our seats were off to the side, at the very end of the furthest aisle. I was closest to the aisle, then my father, then Paul Haggis and his wife. My father’s friends reported seeing him several times on TV due to his close proximity to Paul Haggis. I think there was one shot of my right shoulder throughout the whole ceremony.
My father had probably seen three English-language movies at the theater in his life–Jaws, Star Wars, and Flags of Our Fathers. So the only person he probably recognized there was Al Gore. When I had first announced to my father that I was going to be working with Clint Eastwood, he had asked “Who’s that?” But still, he was beaming from ear to ear and was quite chatty when he got to meet the director during the post party.
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