The 2020 Academy Awards will be my seventh. Ive yet to win one but Ive brought home some great stories
When you read this, I will be in Los Angeles, which is nice. I love LA, which is not a sentence you hear often, especially in Britain, where the city is often derided as too shallow, too full of celebrities and too hot, none of which are negatives in my book. The British antipathy to LA is rooted in a suspicion that anything that pleasant cant be good for you, and an experience only counts if it involves endurance. Ive spent the past 20 summers hacking it out at British festivals, trudging through mud with a rucksack the size of a car on my back, all in the name of Fun. So the first time I went to Coachella in Californias Palm Springs I thought I was hallucinating, like when Tintin gets so dehydrated he fantasises a sparkling oasis surrounded by palm trees, because that is what Coachella looks like. As I sat on the perfect green grass, eating my acai bowl, I remembered when Brits grumped that Glastonbury was getting gentrified because there were flushable toilets. Britains self-image is rooted in 1970s sitcoms, whereas California believes life should be like a Hollywood movie.
And sometimes it actually is. Im out here to cover the Oscars for, I think, the seventh time. I know this is deeply uncool to admit but, hot damn, I love the Oscars. Even as a kid one of my most beloved video cassettes was called Oscars Greatest Moments, but attending them has taken matters to a new level. Ive yet to win an Oscar, but it is at the awards where Ive lived out some of the great movie storylines. Behold, my Oscars Greatest Moments.
The fight against evil
What I hesitate to call my relationship with Harvey Weinstein can be charted by the Oscars we attended. In 2011, I was told by one of Weinsteins 10 million assistants that I was banned from all Oscars parties and every restaurant in Beverly Hills, due to disparaging coverage of the The Weinstein Corporation in the Guardians business pages. Once Id stopped laughing, I courageously like a marine, really went to an Oscars party at Soho House, where Weinstein did, indeed, try to throw me out and I, marine-style, hid in the bathroom. As we now know, I was not the first woman to have to hide from Harvey in a bathroom. A few years later, Weinstein marked Oscars day by writing an article about me for this paper, complaining that I didnt appreciate his Baftas party enough: Next time Hadley Freeman comes to one of our parties she should relax, loosen up, have a glass of champagne and be sure to stay the whole night and really, truly enjoy herself. Not creepy at all, Harv! And here we are this year or rather, here I am, because Weinstein is otherwise engaged. Such a shock this guy turned out to have a problem with women.
The mysterious stranger
The year: 2015. The person: Eddie Murphy. I spot Murphy on his own at an Oscars party and start hyperventilating over him with hero worship. He, alas, is less excited to meet me and walks away. Someone then taps me on the shoulder. Hey, dont worry Ill take a selfie with you, says the man, who I vaguely remember was hanging round with Murphy earlier. I graciously allow him to take a photo with me, and fly home the next day. Some random member of Eddie Murphys entourage took a selfie with me, I tell my boyfriend, showing him the photo.
Turns out it was not a random member of Murphys entourage it was Kevin Hart, AKA the biggest comedian on the planet. For the proper movie ending, Kevin and I should meet again at this Oscars and get married. You know where to find me, Kevin! (Lurking creepily around Eddie Murphy.)
The dashing prince
I went to the Vanity Fair party, where I spotted someone well call dorky director (DD) with Weinstein (him again) and Matt Damon. As I knew DD a bit socially, I said hi, reminding him of my name. But DD decided I was not beneficial to his Hollywood cred, so he stuck his hand in my face and said, No press. Weinstein and Damon were now looking at me as Eddie Murphy would a few years later, and I was speechless with shock. But Colin Firth was nearby, overheard what happened and despite clearly having never heard my name before said, Hadley Freeman? Im such a fan! Can I talk to you? Yes, this actually happened. DD looked like someone had punched him in the face. I was Lizzie Bennet at the end of Pride And Prejudice, Bridget Jones at the end of Bridget Joness Diary. Roll end credits!
Exciting epilogue: in revenge for my Firth triumph, DD told friends of mine that he and I had had an affair in LA but I couldnt handle his freakiness. Conclusion: men are dicks. Except for Colin Firth.
So Im excited about what movie plot will unfold around me tomorrow. Time travel, perhaps? Period drama? (Nah, sounds messy.) Fingers crossed for a body-swap storyline maybe with Colin Firth. I know hed be an excellent sport about it.