Awards Season adrenaline rush: Thank you, Joan Cusack
One of the reasons I got into journalism originally was the newsroom rush. You've seen it — on just about every Hollywoodization of how a TV news or newspaper room works; the hollering, the deadlines, the last-minute frenetic typing or calling of sources, the figuring things out in the moment, and making things happen that suddenly … people are reading! Digesting! And you did that!
In my career that doesn't happen a whole lot after all. I never got into hard news and entertainment journalism doesn't have but so much breaking news to it (unless you're at TMZ where everything is breaking news). But last night was a bit of that all over again: I was asked by my employers at TODAY.com to help cover the Golden Globes, which meant 5 hours of pre-red carpet coverage, red carpet coverage, and then coverage of the event.
Now, I'm not saying this was exactly "Broadcast News" valuting over mothers helping children with their coats Joan Cusack kind of moves. But it was very present, very in the moment, very much aware of at least two things at once. While the TODAY gang were doing their goofy interviews on the carpet you had to be writing up what was going on, keeping up with what was going on, and listening out for any useful tidbits. When the show started it only got more intense: Fortunately, all I had to do was pay attention to hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who weren't quite as involved as you might have expected — Oscar hosts seem to do a lot more on a show.
But things were going at a nice clip; in addition to the host antics I also had to write up some sidebars of trends and such — stars have the flu! Claire Danes has four wins! — and then Tommy Lee Jones started to trend as a grumpy cat on Twitter, so I helped organize something on that. And then Jodie Foster came out on stage for her lifetime achievement award. She started out kind of rambly, nervous, then launched into what clearly was going to be her "yep, I'm gay" moment … and it kind of, sort of, mostly came. But at one point I was gesturing at the TV set with excitement going, "Do it! Do it! Come on!" knowing this would be huge, knowing this would be the rest of my night.
And it was, more or less — everything else dropped once she made her sort-of announcement, which also included a sort-of retirement comment — and I was dropped into the moving river, where you have to get the words (stupid DVR giving me rewind headaches; audio cutout makes a key phrase impossible to know) however you can (check out closed-captioning to get actual words spoken during drop out) and put them together in a coherent fashion … now. Five minutes ago. I got it done, it went up, it was nearly 11.
Afterward — having spent the entire evening being a little overheated — I remember turning to M and saying, "I don't even feel like I saw the awards." And in a way, I didn't. It was like a sugar rush — it goes in you, it gets you hyper, and it's out of you before you even had a chance to enjoy it. The Golden Globes have never been a big watching deal for me, but the Oscars have been — and I'm signed up to do the exact same thing again this year for those prizes. Sadly, it sounds like I'll be both immersed in, and completely missing them.
I wouldn't want to do this every day, particularly since I have to get up to be back on the TODAY clock for 7am. But it was kind of thrilling, after all. And it wasn't until this morning that I remembered it's one of the reasons I do this in the first place.