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Star struck at the “British Oscars”

Molly Madden | Monday, February 28, 2011

LONDON — Anyone who knows me knows of my love of film, fashion and celebrities, but even I may have taken this adoration to a whole new level when I attended the Orange British Film Awards red carpet last week with fellow ND Londoners Meg Larson and Observer buddy Maija Gustin.

The 5:30 a.m. wake-up call to go and get in line for our red carpet wristbands was even harder considering I had just gotten back from Dublin three hours earlier. Oh, did I forget to mention that I switched my flight so that I could come home in time for this red carpet? If you think I am mildly insane for cutting an Ireland trip short to attend the “British Oscars,” you wouldn’t be the only one, but in my Perez Hilton-infused brain, it made perfect sense.

Shortly after 8 a.m. the Royal Opera House began distributing the sacred wristbands. We quickly got ours placed on our wrists, and wore them more like they were a piece from Cartier rather than a piece of gold plastic.

We got to go home for a few hours to crash and watch “The King’s Speech” trailer on YouTube about 10 times before returning to the Royal Opera House at around 3 p.m. to be corralled into our positions beside the carpet.

We had very good positioning as we pushed ourselves right up against the barriers and waited anxiously for someone — anyone — to appear. After several false starts (nameless flunkies should have to go in the back door in my opinion), at around 5 p.m. the previously subdued crowd began to roar as a familiar head of red hair appeared on the carpet. Rupert Grint, the actor who plays Ron Weasley in the “Harry Potter” films and one of my longest-lasting celebrity crushes, was making his way towards us.

I would like to think that Maija, Meg and myself are reasonable and dignified people. However, we quickly discovered that when a celebrity is within two feet of you, you dissolve into madness and begin acting in a manner that you would be ashamed to watch, but makes perfect sense at the time. It’s even worse when such behavior is rewarded with Rupert Grint shaking your hand and making you die a little in the process.

After Rupert’s arrival, the flood of familiar faces on the carpet didn’t stop. Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield from “The Social Network” didn’t stay out in the rain long, but wonderful people such as Bonnie Wright, Kevin Spacey, Tom Ford, Dominic Cooper (swoon) and James McAvoy (double swoon) all stopped by to take photos and sign our books, while nominees Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore also gave us smiles and signatures.

A huge presence was felt when the Holy Couple of Oddity arrived and began to work the carpet. Not only did she stand out in the rain for nearly thirty minutes meeting and signing autographs for her fans, Ms. Helena Bonham Carter even wore matching shoes.

However, all hell, not to mention all of my sanity, may have broken loose when my two personal prophets showed up at the same time. Sir Paul McCartney, the main author of the soundtrack of my life, bounced around the carpet and came over to us to sign a few books (not ours unfortunately) but we did receive a thumbs up directed our way. Cheesy? Perhaps. But in my mind that’s basically equivocated to receiving a blessing if it’s coming from a Beatle.

Then, the greatest moment and worst moment in my life took place in the span of six seconds. J.K. Rowling, author of “Harry Potter,” and therefore responsible for half my childhood, was about to sign my book when some bulking man knocked me out of the way and got his stuff signed instead. I would have Avada Kedavra’d him had I known how.

Despite my disappointment, I was quickly distracted as the king himself, Colin Firth, appeared in front of us. Not only did I receive his autograph, after thanking him for signing my book he replied “You’re welcome, love.” Sure, he may or may not call everyone “love,” but I also may or may not have almost melted on the spot.

After Colin departed, there was an outbreak on the red carpet that resembled one of those scenes from National Geographic when all the animals are fighting for a spot at the waterhole. What was the source of this commotion? Oh no biggie, just Emma Watson making her way towards us.

Emma looked gorgeous as usual in a one-shouldered chiffon gown as she let us take pictures and even autographed a few of our books. I also decided that I like her new haircut now that I’ve gotten to see it up close, and I mean really close.

Shortly after Emma’s floaty disappearance down the carpet into more sheltered grounds, the cars stopped arriving and the security guards began escorting us away from the carpet and back to the real world. But we left with several autographs, multiple memories, and a celebrity high that would not fade for several hours.

Oh, and Maija cajoled a security guard into letting her steal a mini billboard off the red carpet. So I guess we’ll always have that to commemorate the evening as well.