The 6th Annual Toscars - A Newbie Experience

As a Toscar virgin, I had no idea what kind of evening to expect from the award show that for six years has been gathering friends far and wide to parody the Oscars. All I knew was that over the course of four weeks, ten teams had to write, plan, shoot and edit a five minute parody of an Academy Award nominated film and on the night in question, a red carpet would be rolled out in their honour and they would have the chance to win ten golden fists (and impressively large golden fists they were too). As I might assume from any award show, the atmosphere would be fraught with competition, stress and maybe some acceptance speech tears and as a volunteer, I would have to prepare for the frantic nature of the evening...Then I read the disclaimer and boy, did I realize I was wrong:

We cannot be held responsible for how distrubing these films will be. The views and opinions of these filthy, dirty teams do not reflect that of the producers, the charities or the sponsors of tonights event. If you are offended in any way, please whine on Yelp, Facebook or Twitter.

This alone told me that the key word to The Toscars was going to be FUN (despite the exceptional hard work everyone had clearly put into making it happen) and if only every disclaimer to the annual amalgamation of award shows read like this, egos would be left at the foot of every red carpet in Hollywood. From my fellow volunteers to the celebrity judges in attendance, everyone had completely embraced the nature of the event with guests simply there to enjoy themselves, parade the red carpet, maybe win some awards and definetly drink some Toscarinis at the afterparty.

Naturally, the rain came out to honour the British attendees but unlike the sidewalk, spirits were not dampened in the slightest. I know this for a fact as I was on umbrella duty and even though guests arrived in their finest dresses and suits they seemed more concerned with getting stuck in than whether their threads were getting wet. In fact, I think most were just eager to get up to the red carpet where an animated crowd and heaving press area congregated to add to the pre-show buzz. Whether they were on it, or around it, the red carpet seemed to be a party in itself but once emptied, guests filled the theatre to prepare for the magic that was to ensue.

The wonderfully unsubtle golden fists were lined up on stage waiting eagerly to be snapped up and Brian Dunkleman took to the stage to amp up the hilarity and introduce the films. Although the Toscars has grown hugely in its six years from a small pub gathering to a red carpet event at the Egyptian Theatre, the vibe is as relaxed, fun and jovial as I imagine it was at the first Toscars, although I assume far more glamorous. I had a sense that I was sitting in a theatre full of friends (which I'm sure I was) by the amount of hollering and whopping that went on as familiar faces popped up on screen.

The golden fist winners were picked and presented by five celebrity judges, Eric Roberts, Rex Lee, Alek Keshishian, Walt Becker and Janina Gavanker. As the winners were announced I scanned the faces of the audience for the classic forced smiles of the losing teams that we are so used to seeing at the Oscars. It is surely a vice of many an award show viewer to revel in those smiles knowing that they belie such opposing feelings. But there wasn't a sour face in sight, not one! It turns out that people at award shows can genuinely be really happy for each other knowing that perhaps, next year, they too could be the best Whactress or Whactor Hollywood has ever seen.

I am certainly glad I came because in a few years, when the other side of Hollywood Boulevard is inconveniently closed for a week due to the preparation of The Toscars, I can be the crazy women hanging around the velvet ropes telling the crowds that I was once part of the action.

Sophie Ioannou


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