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Oscar preparations clock is winding down

February 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
In what was perhaps the last moment of quite, a major change was made to the red carpet Friday night. Its protective plastic cover was removed, unveiling the carpet that the stars will walk on Sunday. But by Saturday morning, journalists from around the world will have covered the red carpet first.

Check out Oscar.com and make your picks on who you think will win at this year's Academy Awards.

America's own Cameron Mathison will join ABC7's preshow as the voice of the fans through social media.

"I'm just a medium between the fans and the stars," he said. "I'm gonna get their name, where they're from and a question for the people they want it asked to, and hopefully that will be really special for them."

Earlier in the day, everyone from cameramen to show hosts were getting friendly with Oscar's technical side.

Tim Clohessy's International TV Productions company alone has strung about two miles worth of cables, which run up and down the red carpet and eventually over to a satellite truck a good block away from all the action. But what looks like a tangle to most of us makes perfect sense to these folks.

"Everyone knows whose is whose, and they're all labeled really good so no one gets mixed up. They've done it so many years it works out perfect," Clohessy said.

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And perfection is the obvious goal, especially when tens of millions of people will be tuning in to the Oscars. They'll see the handiwork of people like Joe Bohman and his jib.

"It's basically a camera on the end of a stick," Bohman explained. And it's a big stick that will bring viewers ever so close to the action on the red carpet.

"When the camera looks as though it's flying over the top of the crowd or the audience, they'll know it comes from the jib," Bohman said.

Of course, all eyes will be on the stars and the people interviewing them. Getting that right takes plenty of practice that's already under way.

"It's a bunch of stuff with stand-ins and eventually this afternoon we'll have the hosts that include Robin Roberts, and we'll rehearse the preshow," said stage manager Josh Berger.

Meanwhile, there are some changes to this year's show. Since there are no reports of pending wet weather, a rain canopy was not set up this time around. Also, the venue is no longer called the "Kodak Theatre," but rather the Hollywood & Highland Center.

View a live cam of Oscar red carpet preparations.

Along with the changes, there will also be some familiar aspects. Billy Crystal is back to host his ninth Academy Awards. The only person who has hosted the show more was Bob Hope, who did it 19 times.

Producers promise a lot of laughs with Crystal this year, and the mood is expected to be light.

"There are nine different movies as opposed to movies of other years, and he's found ways to twist those movies into something very comedic, and he does that in his opening medley, the song-and-dance medley, and he does it in the film that he does that's just before that," said Oscar producer Brian Grazer.

Before and after their performances, the stars will be hanging out in the green room, located just off stage, where champagne will be served for the first time in Oscar history. There will also be a private smoking patio.

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The green room has a 1950s Hollywood vibe to its décor.

"It was an inspiration out of a director called George Cukor. He's no longer with us, but he used to have parlors in his house every Friday or Saturday and all these stars would meet there," described green room designer Waldo Fernandez.

Another aspect of Oscar preparation involved producers gathering up the directors of the Best Foreign Film nominees. And they'll be the first to tell you just how much clout the name "Oscar" has around the world.

"Oscar nominee, it's like a title, like prince or sheik," said "Bullhead" director Michael Roskam.

The golden statuettes aren't the only symbol of making it in Hollywood. Many Academy Award winners are often more than happy to be stepped on -- or at least have a Walk of Fame star that gets stepped on.

David Paternostro runs Top End Constructors, which makes the brass and terrazzo marble stars. The company, started by Paternostro's father, has installed every star since the Walk of Fame opened in 1960. And these stars have put up with a lot over the years.

Check out the best Oscar moments of all time.

"You can see the millions of people that walk on it and sometimes they have forklifts driving over them, so it's pretty durable," Paternostro said.

While correspondents from around the world will also be keeping a close eye on the award ceremony, the locals are just as excited.

"I love it, man. I always come up here every year. Also I work here, so I get to see them put this together so I'm always excited to see the Oscars and all the people," said a local resident.

Check out moments in Oscar history on the interactive timeline available on the official Oscar.com website.

Oscar.com also hosts the official Oscar blog, which will feature red carpet fashion trends and tips from chef and lifestyle experts for hosting the best Oscar party.

Leading up to the ceremony, "On The Red Carpet" co-host Rachel Smith will be doing interviews with hair and fashion stylists and makeup artists for the "Best Dressed" video series featured on Oscar.com.

The site also has a social media page, Oscar Buzz, which tracks comments from fans using #Oscars.

The awards ceremony will air live on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012 on ABC7.

  • Live coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. PT with On The Red Carpet at the Oscars.
  • Live coverage of red carpet arrivals begins at 4 p.m.
  • The 84th annual Academy Awards starts at 5:30 p.m.
  • A complete wrap-up of the winners and after parties starts at 8:30 p.m.

OnTheRedCarpet.com will have complete coverage of the Oscar season, including an exclusive interactive live stream show LIVE from the red carpet. Follow @OnTheRedCarpet on Twitter and "Like" On The Red Carpet on Facebook, and download our FREE entertainment news app for the iPhone and iPad.