Oscar Night at the Royal Hawaiian

February 25th, 2009


Nadine Kam photos
“Lost’s” Michael Emerson on the red carpet.

OK, OK, so it’s been a while. Can’t a person just recover from Sunday’s Oscar Night America festivities at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel?

The event was once again presented by the Hawaii International Film Festival, against the colorful backdrop of the Pink Palace and blue skies. Guests walking the red carpet were also invited to pose for that postcard photo against Diamond Head, with some group so big, they blocked the landmark.


Photographer Jeannemarie Viggiano at work. You can visit jeannemariephoto.com or hiff.org for more photos from the event.

Some guests tried to sidestep the red carpet to avoid getting their pictures taken, but I could see how the red really highlights the person and makes what they wear pop. See how washed out it can look; otherwise, the gold would have looked terrific against red, like in the bottom photo. So if you ever have occasion to walk a red carpet, plan accordingly.



The difficult part of covering the local event means I missed seeing the actual Hollywood red carpet. Only a snippet is shown just before the Oscar ceremonies begin airing. I still haven’t caught up via TV or Internet, so when people talk about Sarah Jessica Parker’s dress or Miley Cyrus’s dress, I can’t offer an opinion. From what I saw from the awards ceremony, I liked Penelope Cruz’s dress, I thought Jennifer Aniston really needs to call a stylist, and Reese Witherspoon’s gown looked as if she had a date with Brian Boitano. The sequins and frills were a little costume-y and over-the-top, so I don’t know what happened. She’s dressed so impeccably for all her red carpet events of the past few years.

The Oscar program was great, and it was a nice touch to honor all the nominees, instead of showing yet another film clip that’s been shown dozens of times during award season. I had a couple of teary moments when Heath Ledger’s family went up to the stage, and when Anne Hathaway and Kate Winslet were being honored. They are such wonderful actresses. I see in Anne the same honesty and earnest quality that Heath brought to his roles, that made him so special, even when he appeared in lightweight fluff. It still makes me sad to think that at 28, he would have had such a brilliant career ahead of him.

Someone actually asked me if, when cameras focused on sadness in the eyes of the audience, if it was real emotion or if they were acting for the cameras. Good question. I only know I could never date an actor because it’s hard enough to gauge what’s in the heart of a normal, lousy actor sort of person.

red carpet

Filmmaker Brett Wagner, left, with Christina Simpkins and Chris Lee.

Jay Chen

Jay Chen, left, was chairman of the event and greeted guests early in the evening.

chuck boller

HIFF executive director Chuck Boller was the center of attention all evening. I had to drag him away for a shot, and even then, people were calling at him from behind me.

silent auction


The silent auction featured a signed script, props and photos from the TV series, “House,” and some of the gear used in the George Clooney film, “Leatherheads.”

kimi matar

Kimi and Ash Matar. Kimi was later honored on stage by HIFF’s Chuck Boller for her contributions toward making the Oscar Night party a success.

The men brought a touch of color to the red carpet. It was great to see them dressed in the spirit of the event:






More scenes from the red carpet:



Kristen Chan, right, was among HIFF’s newest patrons.


Attorneys Richard Turbin and Rai Saint Chu ham it up for the cameras.











Inside the Monarch Room, Christa Wittmier with Reid Shimabukuro and Lincoln Jacobe of Hawaii Pacific Entertainment, right.

On the menu that night were ahi tataki Nicoise, marinated butterfish, spice-crusted beef tenderloin and mini desserts. I liked the chocolate-dipped cheesecake on a stick. I also liked the celery root puree that accompanied the beef. It was a nice surprise, because it looked like ordinary mashed potatoes.

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4 Responses to “Oscar Night at the Royal Hawaiian”

  1. jeannemariephoto » Hawaii Wedding Photography Blog ~ a peek into the life of a Hawaii wedding photographer » Oscar Night America 2009 - Fashion Tribe:

    [...] click to see the full post: fashiontribe [...]

  2. Maggie:

    Looked like you had fun. Did you have a stunning gown, too? Maggiealoha@

  3. Derek Cheng:

    Love your blog, love your work love it all!

  4. Davo:

    I am a pop artist, my studio is in Lahaina. I have attended the Oscar awards when they were still at the Shriners Auditorium in L.A.,i attend the Grammys too. I would be interested in donating a painting of Marilyn Monroe to this years Gala auction. Would it be ok if i attended your bash too? Please let me know, ill start planing my trip over. Mahalo Nui Loa , Davo.

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