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News - Oscar Diary


Jesus Camp: Oscar Diary

Rachel and Heidi

Ever wonder what the road to the red carpet feels like? Us too. So we asked Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady -- nominated for Best Documentary for Jesus Camp (TFF '06) to supply us with an insider's diary of their experience. From chatting with Eddie Murphy and Randy Newman at the nominees luncheon to having to stress over the tortuous decisions regarding what to wear, Heidi and Rachel will be reporting in on what it's like to be members of such an exclusive group: Oscar nominees
February 28, 2007 "Vanity Fair Party"
NOTE TO FUTURE NOMINEES: Go early to the Vanity Fair party and never, ever leave. How do we even begin to explain this situation? Picture a scene from “The Player,” mixed with a Simpson’s episode (where, like, Homer goes to Hollywood or somethin’.) It’s like rolling around naked in 3000 glossy pages of US Weekly. Throw in an endless stream of Veuve Cliquot and a bunch of starlets and you’ve got a major Hollywood party and ogle fest.
Over there: Bill Mahr lighting up with Sean Penn. At the door, J. Lo looking fiery and bored at the same time. Behind us, Marky Mark catching a drunken blonde as she passes out. To our left, Susanne Somers inexplicably wearing an industrial sized bronze flower on her bust, schmoozing with Kanye…what could they possibly be talking about? Hugh Jackman stepping on the train of Heidi’s dress. Quincy Jones coolly observing the whole scene.
We introduced ourselves to Ellen (who is the cutest thing in the world and loved “Jesus Camp”) and Rachel in a baffling twist gave Al Gore a pep talk about his big win (we got balls and weird instincts, it must be said.) Neither one of us is really the star struck type, but this was different…there were mega celebies in every direction and we were the only ones dancing. We ran into Diego and Gael again and cracked up at some of the insanely ugly outfits people were rocking. Viva los Mexicanos!
And that, my friends, is it. We had a fantastic, surreal, and hilarious month. And now its over. The next day at LAX we couldn’t even get a table at Chili’s. We have to give all our dresses and jewels back. We have returned to our wonderfully obscure life right here in New York City. Thank the Lord Jesus Christ. ---xoxo Heidi and Rachel

February 28, 2007 "The Loser's Bar"
NOTE TO FUTURE NOMINEES: The Loser’s Bar is where it’s AT. Once the Oscar doesn’t go to you, it’s a straight beeline to the fancy bar in the lobby for a stiff drink to commiserate with the other Losers about how the Oscars are a big hoax. Fixed! A Hack job! An atrocity! And tacky to boot!
After the doc category was announced, Rachel went to the Loser’s bar and ingested margaritas for the rest of the show, watching it while sandwiched in-between Queen Latifah and Sascha Baron Cohen… just like home. Heidi remained in the auditorium to watch the big categories and wished she were drinking margaritas in the Loser’s bar.
The Governor’s Ball was the bomb. We pigged out and chatted with Jack Black who was just calming down from his song and dance routine, which he had learned in just two days. Even Jack Black gets super nervous—good to know.

February 28, 2007 "Arriving at the Red Carpet"
When we showed up on the red carpet our buddies Diego and Gael gave us boisterous “Campamento Jesus” shout-outs, and we chatted with Joan Rivers (who was wearing a treacherous fake red fur coat). How was this happening?? Most of the press on the R.C. ignored us completely as they lunged for some Al Gore/Kate Blanchett meat. Damn, that’s cold! When we went into the Kodak Theater (it’s actually attached to a mall, soooo L.A.) and we made a bathroom stop, who do we see but Laurie David - Larry David’s wife and the executive producer of “An Inconvenient Truth” (the teeny tiny obscure doc that could.) There she was, panic-stricken, in front of the sink with a gorgeous and very complicated dress twisted completely around her waist. Major wardrobe malfunction. She was hysterical; terrified that she would be left high and dry, nude in the john. But we came to the rescue and found ourselves, literally undressing the competition. As she almost wept we all manhandled the poor woman and got her back in the finicky J. Mendel. We explained that even though her movie was about to beat ours, that sisters don’t let other sisters end up in the loo with their dress twisted around their necks. For the rest of the night Larry and Laurie screamed “Go Jesus!” when we ran into them. The night was off to a great start! The ceremony is the same as the one you watch on TV, except the audio is bad and you can’t switch channels when it gets slow. We actually enjoyed ourselves and were quiet relaxed since “An Inconvenient Truth” was the absolute shoe-in. This reality was hammered into our perfectly coifed heads early in the evening, what, with the hundreds of Gore references and the mid show Leonardo/Gore smooch fest. Things weren’t looking up when Jerry Seinfeld (very close friend of Larry and Laurie David) took the stage to give out the doc award. All right already, we weren’t born yesterday! And the Oscar goes to….duh!

February 28, 2007 "On The Road to the Oscars "
We washed back some Mezcal in the limo (Kirby Dick had advised me that drinking on the way to the ceremony is a MUST) and hit Highland Boulevard. Hundreds of well wishers and crazies lined up on the streets holding signs like “Hollywood loves Hell and Degenerates.” Clever, you gotta hand it to ‘em.

February 28, 2007 "All Dressed Up"
Heidi wore an Aurelio Costarella gown (Australian up and comer), and had her hair done like the Black Dahlia. HOT! Rachel’s shiny black dress from Jean-Paul Gaultier showed up from the showroom sewn completely shut, and catastrophe and tears were avoided when her mother cut the dress open with scissors and sewed it back onto her body. HOT!

February 28, 2007 "Getting Ready"
OK, this is how the day basically went: We went over to our friend’s house in Santa Monica and spent the morning getting dolled up, surrounded by our family, friends and Jesus Camp crew. We have an incredible group of supportive, loving people in our lives and honestly this was a friggin’ love fest -- we are some lucky, lucky ladies.

February 26, 2007 4:03am (LA time)
HUGE UPSET!!!!!!!!!!! "An Inconvenient Truth" beat all the odds and predictions and took home the Oscar!!! The well heeled peeps inside the Kodak Theater released collective gasp of shock and awe and, not knowing what else to do, leapt to their feet in the only real standing O the whole night (save Marty S. overcoming years of snubbery). Kudos to Davis Guggeheim and his team. We will be back tomorrow with a full report of all the day and night’s adventures...just let us get over this crashing Veuve Cliquot headache first. --Heidi and Rachel

The AP created a slideshow of Heidi and Rachel at preparing for and at the event, including Heidi rehearsing the sadly never-to-be-delivered acceptance speech. Click Here
February 24, 2007
Picked up our Oscar tix in an undisclosed location and it felt like the line at the DMV --­ lots of hushed voices and somber faces. Many of these people are VERY SERIOUS about their Oscars. We found out that no phones or cameras are allowed on the red carpet, but ­ yes! - flasks ARE allowed in. Had a wonderful party last night at our friend Tatiana's place in Santa Monica. Our entire New York Crew made it from back east, and we celebrated late into the night--Heidi and Rachel

February 23, 2007
Its raining cats and dogs in Los Angeles. So much for sunny Hollywood dreamland. And its BLOODY COLD here, Mr. Gore! The AP followed us tramping around in the rain looking for last minute thingamabobs but of course we got sidetracked in the false hair area department. Doesn’t Rachel look eerily like Sandra Dee AFTER she drops that cutsey act at the end of Grease?--Heidi and Rachel

February 22, 2007
Can’t help it, must gush today about fellow nominees. We arrived in LA on Wednesday morning in order to attend the International Association of Documentary (IDA) event at the Academy last night. The evening celebrated all the nominees – features and shorts - in the doc category, and all were in full force. The evening was hosted by Robert Wuhl, and they showed clips of all the films and a strangely odd one of “Jesus Camp” (the hairspray scene….do you think it’s a nod to global warming?) We all got to make that speech we most likely won’t get the chance to deliver on Sunday. We want to express just how fabulous the other nominees are. Smart, talented, humble, hard working documentary filmmakers who all took risks to finish their films. Laura Poitras (“My Country my Country”) and James Longley (“Iraq in Fragments”) truly risked their lives to illuminate life in Iraq, and I am so glad they did. Davis and Amy delved into very difficult issues and told their stories with grace. All the filmmakers, short and long form, have given insight into gripping stories, sticking around when the news media got bored or moved on. We are proud of this community. We are proud to be a part of it. --Heidi and Rachel

February 19, 2007
Its bloody freezing again today! Our evil plan to debunk "Global Warming" (until after the Oscars) is working !! Pray for freezing rain and hope the Academy is hypnotized into voting for the underdog! --Heidi and Rachel

February 17, 2007
Today was a power shop day. Neither one of us had anything to wear as of this morning, and we were beginning to freak. I lost the last two days because of the flu, and was in panic mode when I woke up. Heidi went out looking on her own yesterday, and was obviously not thinking straight as well, as apparently she seriously considered the attached Fish Dress for over 40 minutes before snapping to her senses. Whoa.
We made several stops, and weren't having much luck until the Oscar Angel appeared. The Oscar Angel is named Igor. Igor runs the Jean Paul Gaultier showroom (as well as baby sits several amazing designer's collections such as Alberta Ferretti) and gave us the full run of the place. We spent five frenzied and gleeful hours trying on fantastic piece after fantastic piece. This was pure bliss for two ladies who love to get dressed up. We both found our Oscar dresses. Now we have just have to do 1,000,000 push-ups and 200,000 sit-ups before the big day. No biggie. --Rachel

February 16, 2007
Just found out my local wine bar, Xicala (which got me through the making of "Jesus Camp") is throwing an Oscar Party for the neighborhood, to cheer us on and try and catch a glimpse of us on the red carpet (good luck finding us). They are getting dressed up and going to lay out a red carpet and everything right there on Elizabeth street across from the sketchy parking lot. Now, that's classy! Part of me thinks that may end up being more fun than the Governor's Ball, where they I don't think they serve mescal, despite all the Mexican nominees this year. --Heidi

February 15, 2007
Dear Mr. Valentino. Its February 15, one day after' San Valentino's day and still no dress. What gives? We checked the Loki Films mail today and there's only a Verizon bill and something from the IFP. You are running out of time, Mr. Valentino..we are going over to Gaultier tomorrow! --Heidi and Rachel

February 14, 2007
Happy Valentines Day. Some romantic Oscar dress ideas that came our way... --Heidi

February 13, 2007
13 days till the big event and still no dress. Maybe Valentino will send us free gowns for Valentine's day? --Heidi
February 5, 2007
Nominees Lunch: The nominees brunch, hosted by the Academy, was held at the Beverly Hilton and was a great way to spend the afternoon. Heidi and I arrived and there was paparazzi lined up twelve deep outside....but not for us!! They mixed all the nominees up regardless of their category, and the room was buzzing with everyone's good mood. We all took the stage to receive our certificates and Heidi and I luckily were squeezed up against Clint Eastwood---who we now both have a serious crush on. I will tell you this: HE STILL GOT IT. Heidi was seated next to Eddie Murphy, who was a bit shy (!!) but she drew him out of his shell. I sat next to Randy Newman, who was being nominated for the 17th time. His sweet wife told me politely not to take it personally when they left before desert. After 17 times, I guess the extra calories aren't worth it. All in all, it was a splendid experience for us. --Rachel

February 1, 2007
Ran off to Mexico City for the night to host the opening night of Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna's documentary film fest. Once we got the nomination they switched out the opening night film to JC and invited us down for the premiere and the big party after. It's actually one of our favorite things that has happened since the nomination since we both LOVE Mexico City...and great parties. It was surreal seeing our main character Becky Fisher subtitled in Espanol. The audience loved it and we did an odd Q/A in Spanglish. Diego and Gael are total gentlemen, their moms raised them right, very polite and who can resist men who adore documentaries?? Diego just finished directing a documentary on famous Mexican boxer...we look forward to seeing it....hopefully he will open it at Tribeca this year! --Heidi

January 24, 2007
A funny thing happens when you get nominated for an Academy Award. Everyone you have ever met in the lifetime on this earth finds you and gets in touch with you. 3rd grade teachers, ex- boyfriends, that girl that was nasty to you in high school. It is a surreal thing that this particular achievement still permeates the culture and means something to so many. As Rachel put it: "everyone gets married, everyone has a baby, but this is different, it's so public," and apparently a big cause for celebration by lots of people. By the end of the first day both Rachel and I had over 600 new emails in our inboxes and phones filled with well-wishers. Giorgina Cascardo, the fantastic Tuscan woman who taught me Italian when I was 14 years old left a beautiful message in a strong Tuscan accent and Chris Loraine, Rachel's 7th grade history teacher surprised her with a heartfelt note. Everyone was so proud to share in this; it was overwhelming. --Heidi

January 23, 2007 : Finding Out
It was time to face facts. We definitely were not getting nominated for an Academy Award. Sitting at a food court at La Guardia this morning, an hour before the Academy Award nominees were to be announced we decided suddenly to quit deluding ourselves. We had been short listed last year, for "The Boys of Baraka" and it didn't go our way, so we had been only quietly hopeful that this year would be different. But now, down to the wire, we threw hope away and we're positive it was a no go. Not that we would find out any time soon. Our plane to Denver would take off at 8:09 AM, and the announcements were to be made at 8:40AM. We had booked these flights (our final destination was Santa Barbara) months ago and by the time we found out we would be airborne and out of contact when our crew, friends and family found out if we were nominated. We were too superstitious to change our plans. We would just have to find out we landed.
Of course there was NO WAY we could hold that long for this kind of news.  We passed a note to the captain while boarding, explaining the situation, giving him the website to check.  Maybe he would take mercy on us and put in a call during the three-hour flight. I had told anyone who would listen to text me a simple YES or NO once the news broke, in the off chance my cell phone could pick it up.  But no service, not contact, Just Rachel and I, hurtling through the atmosphere, wondering what the F*#K! And then, finally news. The captain on the loudspeaker, an hour into the flight. "Hello passengers, I have a very important announcement to make. The women in row 23 have just  been nominated for an Oscar for their film "Jesus Camp." Applause, tears hugs with total strangers, then a bottle of cheap white wine brought to us by our new band of friends in United uniforms. The impossible had happened.  Life was sweet. Jesus was getting invited to the Oscars. -- Heidi

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