scorecardresearch Skip to main content
Meredith Goldstein

What it’s actually like at an Oscar party

Michael Keaton, star of the Oscar-nominated “Spotlight,” and Marni Turner attend the Michael Sugar Pre-Oscar Party at the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood, Calif., Saturday night.David M. Benett/Getty Images/Getty

LOS ANGELES — The Globe doesn’t always send someone to cover the Oscars. But with “Spotlight” up for so many awards — and Matt Damon up for best actor for his role in “The Martian” — this seems an appropriate year to have some representation (me).

Ordinarily it would be difficult to get access to big, important Hollywood parties, but because Oscar-nominee “Spotlight” is about the Globe reporters who uncovered clergy sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, I have been invited to things. People are being nice to me. The guy at the press check-in looks at me with great respect, and seems starstruck when I tell him the real-life reporters are my friends.


My first night, Saturday, is spent at the Michael Sugar Pre-Oscar Party, at the Sunset Tower Hotel. My Sunday afternoon is spent on the red carpet. Then the awards.

These are some moments from my weekend at the Academy Awards.


1. Arrive at party way too early. Tell the woman guarding the front door that I’m from The Boston Globe. “You know, ‘Spotlight!,’ ” I tell her. She sends me to another door.

2. Waiting in front of that door is a man who looks like the guy from “NCIS.” “I’m Meredith from The Boston Globe,” I tell him. “You know, ‘Spotlight.’ ” “I’m an actor,” he tells me, explaining that he is Michael Weatherly from “NCIS.”

3. It is clear that Michael Weatherly senses my great social anxiety and fear of a party like this, so he takes me around, telling me about the history of the hotel, how they filmed a scene in Robert Altman’s “The Player” here. He tells me he has family in Boston and Framingham, and that he’s a Red Sox fan. He can do a Boston accent.

4. I ask Michael Weatherly if being an actor means having to go to parties like this all the time, and he says sometimes. He just put his kids to bed. He smiles when he mentions his wife and children.


5. I deeply appreciate Michael Weatherly.

6. Michael Weatherly tells me he is leaving “NCIS.” This is probably a very big deal if you watch “NCIS.” I can tell he’s scared and excited. I am excited for him.

7. I confess to Michael Weatherly that for two years, I’ve avoided interviewing Michael Keaton in person, even though the actor filmed many scenes for “Spotlight” in the Globe building in Dorchester. Whenever Keaton was in the building, I stayed in my office with the door closed. I tell Michael Weatherly that I never want to talk to Michael Keaton because he is my Batman (and my Mr. Mom and Johnny Dangerously), and I’d prefer to maintain that fantasy.

8. Michael Weatherly tells me he understands this. He doesn’t think he ever wants to meet Sting for that reason. Sting!

9. Michael Weatherly is suddenly surrounded by people who look like important Hollywood types. He introduces me to them and tells them I’m from the Globe. “Spotlight!,” he says. They do not look very interested.

10. I leave the group and go to the bathroom where I hide and charge my phone for 10 minutes.

11. I return to the party and see Tim Robbins . I want to talk to him, but what would I say?


12. Too late, I am reminded via text by the Globe’s Sarah Rodman that I could have talked to him about “Mystic River.”

13. I see director Paul Feig and think I’ll ask him about filming “Ghostbusters” in Boston. But then I freeze, wondering if maybe it isn’t really Paul Feig. But it has to be — because he is dressed in a cool suit and wearing Paul Feig’s glasses. By the time I decide that he is Paul Feig, he has wandered to the front door and is gone. Ghosted.

14. It is later now and there are many famous faces here: Olivia Wilde , Fisher Stevens (I think), Meg Ryan (I think). I hear Kate Upton is here, but I can’t find her. Bob Balaban! Some of the cast of “Spotlight” has arrived, including Liev Schreiber , who plays Marty Baron , the former Globe editor who now runs The Washington Post.

15. I stand behind a curtain and watch Liev Schreiber talk to the real Marty Baron. They are in a conversation with Patrick Stewart . I wonder if Marty knows who Patrick Stewart is.

16. I decide I want someone to look at me the way Liev Schreiber looks at Marty Baron. It is with such love and appreciation. I want what they have.

17. Marty sees me, says hi, and explains that he was talking to “Patrick . . .” it takes a second for the last name to come to him. “Stewart,” I confirm.

18. Michael Keaton is here. He is wearing those glasses I like. I tell Marty I would like to avoid talking to Michael Keaton.


19. Marty says he’s going to go over and say hello to the actor, and it only seems socially appropriate for me to follow him.

20. I follow Mart y even though I do not want to talk to Michael Keaton.

21. “I’m Meredith Goldstein from the Globe,” I say to Michael Keaton, who is leaning in to hear me. Our faces are so close.

22. “I can’t believe I never met you when you filmed at the Globe,” I say. “I’m so sorry that our building can be so dirty.”

23. I can’t believe I said the thing about the building being dirty. It is not as bad as “I carried a watermelon,” from “Dirty Dancing,” but it feels that way.

24. That is probably the last thing I’ll ever say to Michael Keaton. Ever.

25. Mark Ruffalo , who plays Globe reporter Mike Rezendes in “Spotlight,” comes up behind Marty and gives him a little half-hug. Ruffalo is excited because the film cleaned up at the Independent Spirit Awards.

26. Mark Ruffalo says he’s going home soon, so I decide I can too. Parties are hard.

27. I panic. What if I leave now and miss something amazing? What if Leonardo DiCaprio , arrives after I’m gone?

28. Is this what it feels like to live in Los Angeles? Constant fear of missing out? I love Boston.

29. I leave the party. Outside, a security guard moves me out of the way so someone can get by. It appears to be Octavia Spencer .


30. I take an Uber back to where I’m staying, eat a doughnut, and fall asleep. I have a vivid dream that I’m with Matt Damon and I’m telling him about some books he should adapt for film. He finds me riveting.


31. Wake up, eat another doughnut, shower, and put on dress I rented at Best Dressed in Charlestown. The Oscars have a very strict dress code, even for press. This is the first time I’ve ever worn one that hits my toes.

32. Arrive at red carpet at 2:30 p.m., which is clearly too late because there is no room for me. I get yelled at as I try to find an open space. Cori Murray from Essence lets me stand behind her. She sees that I’m short, and late, and makes room for me and lets me get a run at the celebs when I need to.

33. Celebrities approach us. Rooney Mara and Daisy Ridley. Patricia Arquette, who talks about equal pay and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Dianne Warren. The reporter from Yahoo asks all of the celebs what book they’re reading, which I love. Some of the stars are so thoughtful about their answer — and some are clearly not reading anything.

34. Some of the stars have acne. I won’t say who, but it’s wonderful and validating.

35. I am standing near Guillermo Rodriguez of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” who’s practicing a joke about Kate Winslet. It’s something like “I think you’re going to Win-slet.” He keeps saying it over and over.

36. It has been a few hours now, and we’re all very thirsty, and as I text my friends that I am thirsty, someone pulls my arm. It’s Cori. She wants to make sure I see Leonardo DiCaprio, because he’s doing his walk. Finally. I see him. He looks tan.

37. With Leo gone, it’s clear we’re almost done. One reporter jokes that maybe Leo is doing one-on-one interviews (he doesn’t do them, I guess). One reporter says, “Is he concerned about the environment, do you think?” Everyone laughs.

38. We all go to a press room in a nearby hotel space, so we’re not quite at the Oscars anymore, and there is so much food. Media people eat like they’ve just run a race. There are empanadas, zucchini sticks, tiny cakes, and meat skewers.

39. The press room, where the winners come to answer questions after their main-stage speech, is basically rows of tables and extension cords. I sit down and people look at me funny. They are staring at my name tag. I realize it’s because, you know, “Spotlight.”

40. One of the first big awards is for best original screenplay. “Spotlight” wins. Some reporters clap for me like I wrote it. I nod my head and wave, which is stupid, but what else can you do.

41. “Spotlight” director Tom McCarthy comes in and tells the press that he should have thanked the Globe in his speech, which is cool.

42. After Alicia Vikander wins, she deftly dodges a question about how — and with whom — she’ll celebrate. People want her to say Michael Fassbender (her boyfriend), but she only says she’ll party with her family.

43. I notice the celebrities are starting to look like normal people. They are nervous and off the red carpet they’re somewhat awkward and funny.

44. I realize that I love watching this awards show from the press room because we don’t have to see the commercials. The TVs just sort of go dark.

45. Mark Rylance wins, and the press room freaks out. Loud gasps.

46. Rylance comes to the press room and mentions Idris Elba and Paul Dano. He also talks about how Rylance sounds like “Ruffalo,” so the actors are used to getting each other’s hopes up.

47. I keep reading tweets that Michael Keaton has been at the lobby bar for most of the show. I bet that’s right downstairs.

48. Entire press room erupts for Leo. Reporters shouting and applauding. Maybe because they know this means the man of honor will have to come back here and talk to us.

49. “Spotlight” wins. No surprise that it’s the press room favorite.

50. I have been invited to a “Spotlight” after-party at a place called Palihouse in West Hollywood. This is starting to feel normal — the dress, the running to parties, and the trays of food. And if this feels normal, it is time to come home.

Meredith Goldstein is in Los Angeles through Sunday’s Oscars. She can be reached at