A splatter of midafternoon rain fell on the tented red carpet for the 82nd Academy Awards, but it was just an empty threat. In the end, the sun (and Johnny Depp's mad grin, thanks to a giant billboard for "Alice in Wonderland") looked down on the most fame-packed piece of real estate on Earth. Here's the report from this year's rug.
Master of the carpet: Some stars spent little time on the rug -- Morgan Freeman, for instance, jog-walked right past the media despite the protestations of a heartbroken BET team -- others linger for the long haul. No one, though, maximizes their time quite like George Clooney. After some expert-level crowd-pleasing for the bleacher fans, Clooney darted and danced along the media line like the suave lupine he played in "Fantastic Mr. Fox." He was even deft in rescuing others; Gerard Butler was standing in front of the mass gallery of photographers right at the entrance to the Kodak Theatre and playing to their shouts ("Show my legs? Ah, c'mon, you guys are killing me"), when suddenly they abandoned him completely -- they saw Clooney approaching. Butler wilted, just for a heartbeat, but Clooney detected it and saved the day by rushing up and hugging the younger actor. The clinch set up a torrent of camera flashes. Butler seemed to soak up some of the charm lesson. When someone shouted that he looked great, he winked. "It's all digital effects."
It's the shoes: "Avatar" star Sam Worthington took a lot of grief from director James Cameron and fellow cast members for the battered old pair of work boots he wore everywhere off the set. "They're the only shoes I had," said Worthington, who was practically living out of his car before he got the role of Jake Sully (a part, by the way, turned down by Matt Damon and Jake Gyllenhaal). For Sunday, Worthington finally took the plunge and found some new footwear. "Look, mate, these are brand new," he said pointing down with pride. "They cost $20 at Payless. Very comfortable too." And what about the sequel to the space epic? "When Jim calls, I'll answer, I promise you that."
Foreign views: Jesse James famously worked on motorcycles in a garage in Long Beach, but as the husband of Sandra Bullock, he's become accustomed to playing a tourist in the heights of Hollywood strata. "Yeah, it's like real life, but different; that's a good way to put it," the grease monkey said as his spouse did an interview for a Mexican television crew. Not long after, Catherine Leterrier, nominated for costume design for "Coco Before Chanel," was asked for her appraisal of the scene. In halting English and with a warm smile, she said somewhat cryptically, "It is beautiful. But it is not French."
That ship sailed: Producer Jon Landau arrived at the red carpet with his wife, his two sons and zero expectations. "I never thought a schmuck like me would win an Oscar and I did with 'Titanic,' " Landau said. "Now I'm back and this time I'm not nervous at all. I was a wreck last time. This time I know I have one at home. I also know that in 30 years, when I say, 'I was part of "Avatar," ' people will remember and know what that means. That's why we do this."
Looking good: Samuel L. Jackson, who makes movies that rarely get stage time at the Oscars, said he loves coming to the Oscars because everyone cleans up so well. "It's a chance to see friends and let them know you've kept up on what they're doing. And everybody looks great."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times