My Dream Comes True: An Oscars “Cinderella” Story

My dream has always been to go to the Oscars and walk the red carpet. This February, my dream came true – I was accepted to attend and cover the Oscars for the first time in FF2 Media’s history. When I arrived in Hollywood, the streets were packed with gift shops, small restaurants, tourists and right in the middle of it all was the Dolby Theater, next to the legendary Chinese Theater, surrounded by the Walk of Fame on both sides. “Wow,” I thought, this is where the magic happens!

On Sunday, I walked down the Dolby Theater stairs dressed like a star, looking and feeling glamorous. I stepped on the red carpet where there were hundreds of people, from technicians to journalists to observers and fans. It was bright from the lights and hot from the energy.

Since my credential was to cover the press room where all the winners answer questions after they receive their Oscars, I left the carpet and headed up the Dolby Theater stairs where I met a few of the Academy’s transcript reporters and we chatted for a bit. I sat in the front row, across from the small stage where all the winners come with their Oscars, and watched the live ceremony with journalists from all over the world.

It was exciting to witness the winners walk across that stage with their Oscar statues. I was particularly excited for the female directors who won. Free Solo won Best Documentary and co-director Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi told us about her upbringing and how it related to the film: “My dad was born in Budapest, and then he moved to Brazil. He always exposed me to so many other types of stories in the world, and Free Solo is very much about that. It’s an appreciation of the beauty of film, the importance of film, and also that, like, us in America, we’re not everything. There’s so much more out there.”

I also had the opportunity to address a personal question to the female directors of the animated short film that won an Oscar – Domee Shi and Becky Neiman-Cobb for Bao:

You can see my question in this video interview link at minute 6:25:

FF2 Media: Congratulations. I saw Bao and I cried as a mother because it’s very emotional.  As women and female filmmakers, did you use any of your personal experiences and emotions to put into the film to come out as this emotional masterpiece?

Domee Shi: Yeah, definitely.  Like I said before, like, from my own childhood, from my own relationship with my mom as an only child, and from my mom, you know, like hugging me and being, like, I wish I could put you back in my stomach.  I think those were the elements that really inspired the short. But, also, in all the little details of the short as well, if you watch the short again, you can see the mom character making these really specific Chinese dishes for the bao.  And they are like very specific Sichuan dishes that my parents would make for me growing up, like boiled spicy fish, Ma Po Tofu, dry fried green beans, and I just wanted to kind of use the short as a love letter to all of the dishes that I grew up with, you know.

Becky Neiman Cobb: Yeah. And I talked a little bit about this, but I became a mom during the making of this short, so I had the real thing at home.  I had a real baby at home to kind of crosscheck our work. So, like baby sounds and baby giggles and baby cheeks, and, you know that kind of helped, kind of make sure that what we were doing was really as accurate as possible.  So, it was just, yeah, sort of wonderful kismet that my career and my home life collided for this, for this project. 

Another great win for female filmmakers was the Oscar for the short documentary Period. End of Sentence. Co-Directors Rayka Zehtabchi and Melissa Berton talked about how this film made a difference in the Indian community.

After hearing what the winners had to say, I hope AMPAS—the Academy for Motion Picture Arts & Sciences—will be inspired to nominate and give more awards to female directors and screenwriters in the future.  I also hope that with my presence as the first representative of FF2 Media, I will inspire other writers to follow their dreams because anything is possible. I also hope that with my questions, I will inspire more people to go, see, and appreciate more films by women filmmakers. It was a winning night for all of us and a step in the right direction.

When I saw Olivia Colman (winner of this year’s Best Actress Oscar) walking down the carpet, I stopped her, congratulated her for her win and told her I represent FF2 Media and we focus on female filmmakers!

My Cinderella story ended as celebrities left in their limos and I headed back to Chicago.

© Nikoleta Morales (3/6/19) Special for FF2 Media

Photo credits: Nikoleta Morales

Tags: Bao (2018), Becky Neiman Cobb, Domee Shi, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Free Solo (2018), Nikoleta Morales, The Oscars

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