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    Viewing the 2009 Oscars

    Last Sunday, Feb.22, I watched the Academy Awards live on ABC TV at 8:30 p.m.
    What I first watched on E! TV was basically the countdown to the red carpet with Ryan Seacrest hosting of American Idol, or as I call it, the pre-game show.

    Then I went back to ABC at 7 p.m. to watch Barabara Walters. Before the Oscars happened, there is every year a Barbara Walters Special where she interviews Oscar nominees. She interviewed Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, the host of the awards and an interview I awaited with bated breath-Mickey Rourke.

    Rourke made a string of movies in the 1980s for which he received critical acclaim and I remember waiting on him at a restaurant in Manhattan's upper west side called Columbus on Columbus Avenue.

    Mickey was very laid back and unassuming and as with many stars at Columbus,
    did not want to be made a fuss over.

    He generally came alone and wasn't really part of the movers and shakers crowd. Yet, by the very fact of his coming to the restaurant at all, it signified to me he wanted to be seen but not necessarily heard. Columbus was the type of restaurant where you could have some privacy. He would be seated at a VIP table as would other stars like Drew Barrymore, Julia Roberts, Kyra Sedgewick, Kevin Bacon (before he and Kyra were linked), Peter Maxx and Angelica Houston. I waited on them all at one time or another.

    From the interview I learned Rourke endured a heartbreaking romance with an actress who was also a drug addict. It's nice to see after years of obscurity he was being honored with a nomination for best actor in "The Wrestler," although Sean Penn won for his role in "Milk."

    I can still picture him sitting alone in the restaurant which inevitably drew attention to him. It wasn't the kind of place that would have fans, more like fellow actors would come up to him and say hi.

    Between Columbus and the West Beach Café where I tended bar in Los Angeles 3,000 miles to the west, I got a first-hand look at the everyday behaviors of well-known actors.

    Mostly they wanted to get a good meal, drinks, relax and be left alone. We were told to treat them like anyone else – nothing special.

    But in the same vein, many of the stars had entrees named after them and cocktails as well.

    But back to the Oscars – In the opening number Hugh Jackman showed he was a true song and dance Broadway talent. He opened the show with an amazing
    performance that those who have only seen him in the "X Men" movies
    would never expect.

    I have to admit I have not yet seen most of the nominated feature films as I am more of a TV person, but as soon as I get a chance I expect to see "Slumdog Millionaire" which won a raft of awards including best picture.

    When I was in LA, the Oscar's were much more hyped up because that was what was happening there. But even now, I still see the hype continues. I found myself laughing out loud remembering the business and how excited everyone got about Oscar buzz and the countdown to the red carpet treatment.

    I stayed up to the bitter end at midnight to see who won best actor and best picture. Old habits die hard.


    Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com