Capturing the people who make it happen

Liza Donnelly
Mar 4, 2018 · 7 min read

Below, are some of my drawings from Oscar week. It is always a priviledge to be here, and this will be my third year. I love story telling and admire the creativity of filmmaking in all aspects. It’s a joy to celebrate in drawings all of the many many people who make it happen.

First there was the rolling out of the red carpet, which is always a fun affair. The media (myself included) scramble to run and follow the carpet as it is being unfurled by three men, some of us running backwards, and some carrying huge equipment.

Then I was given access to the Dolby Theater, where they were in rehearsal. I will share my drawings of the set later, after the show.

On the left is Derek McClane, Production Designer, and next to him is Glenn Weiss, director. In the far right picture is Weiss, Bobby Dickenson, Lighting designer, McLane and Alana Billingsley.

I then wandered around the red carpet to see people touching up and setting up all sorts of things. And some gowned reporters reporting. Its an international affair, of course, and I am hearing many different languages among the press.

Next, I was part of a group of media who were given a preview of the food for the Govenor’s Ball. It was beautiful, and we were given tastes and it tasted delicious as well. There was a suave mixologist there as well, and what he was shaking looked tempting to taste. But I refrained from imbibing: a long day awaited me!

Wolfgang Puck and his top chef Eric.

The staff who work with Wolfgang Puck took me into the kitchen on Saturday to watch the many chefs prepare food — sweet and savory — for a cocktail party that evening. No tasting for me this time!

During the week, I was fortunate to attend two evening events for Oscar Week. One was a panel discussion on the Documentary films nominated, and the other evening was panel discussions on the Animation films nominated. Here are those:

And then Oscar Day! At 1:30pm, the press, as instructed, filed into at our labeled spots. We were “locked in” on the Red Carpet. I had a great spot this year, with a vista of the carpet as it turned to corner and led to the entrance to the Dolby Theater.

And here below are some of the stars I saw on the carpet — I was lucky to see more, but I couldn’t capture them quickly enough. Some of these celebs move fast (I’m talking about you, Nicole) !

The very regal Helen Miren
My favorite moment on the red carpet:Woody Harleson and Matthew McConaughey grasping hands in pure joy as they greeted one another.

And then all the media dashed upstairs to our designated spots (again) in the Press Interview Room in the Loews Hotel, adjacent to the theater. We watched the show on huge monitors. Here are the drawings I was able to do of the show as it happened, not from photographs!

When an award was given, the winner would make her/his way to our room to answer questions. Frances McDormand was so excited and animated, she had to put her Oscar down.

Photo of me drawing on the red carpet by Anne Dalin from her tv!

Finally, here are two people who helped me throughout: Publicist Steve Rohr (working in the Dolby Theater during rehearsals) and Production manager (standing on the yet unfurled Red Carpet), Lauren Selman.

Liza Donnelly

Written by

Cartoonist/writer for New Yorker, CBS News, CNN, Author, performer, TED and SXSW speaker, Barnard Fellow. Looking to change world w humor.

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