The Man of the Hour… and it’s not Oscar!

“And the Nominees for Best Supporting Actor are….”
I’m sitting in the Kodak Theater, surrounded by celebrities. George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Cate Blancett – all the nominees are there.
Suddenly the announcer voice booms.
“And the winner is…
…for the purpose of rehearsal…Javier Bardem No Country for Old Men.
Four days before the big show and the Oscars are in rehearsal. The Kodak Theater is filled celebrities – only they are in cardboard, not the flesh. Cameras swirl around the auditorium practicing each shot for the show. Where celebrities will soon be decked bright satin and diamonds stand the tech crew uniformed in black sweat pants and headsets.
I look around the magnificent Kodak theater waiting for the man who has made the Oscars happen for almost the past 20 years; the executive producer, Mr. Gil Cates.
Cates is dressed casually. His signature black rimmed glasses pair perfectly with his black Oscar sweatshirt and jeans. He has a face emits wisdom and experience. He is easy to talk to and very warm and inviting.
We speak about how the show has changed over his time working on it. He remarks on how his biggest challenge is the live element of the show. When I call him the executive producer of the show (which is his official title), he blushes. “I am just a producer,” he corrects me.
While he may call him self just the producer he is the man in charge. He makes all the calls from who the host is to who will be performing, to who will fill the seats in the back row.
He tells me how he had a B plan for the show if the strike was still going on. It would have been a very heavy clip reel. He laughs with relief on how they didn’t have to resort to plan B.
When the interview is over, I am in awe of what I had just witnessed. In the very red velvet seat I had just sat in interviewing the man who makes one of the most watched shows in America possible, will soon be filled with the crème de la crème of Hollywood. This is the greatest show in the world.
By Gabi Conti