As Daybreak and Lorraine’s Hollywood correspondent, Ross King has more showbiz stories than you can shake a stick at. Here, he tells us about his predictions for the Oscars on Sunday 21 February and divulges some of those insider’s secrets!
Who do you think will win the big prizes at this year’s Oscars?
I definitely think Daniel Day-Lewis is going to win for Best Actor, and he would be my choice. But I also know Bradley Cooper pretty well. He’s such a great guy and I’m just so pleased that he’s getting that recognition of even being nominated. Plus, there’s Hugh Jackman who’s such great fun too. So Hugh and Brad’s performances were great, but it’s got to go to Daniel Day Lewis for Lincoln. It felt like I was watching a documentary!
Who do you think the Best Actress gong will go to?
It’s got to be Jennifer Lawrence. We always have a laugh together. And she’s not buying into it at all at the moment. I asked about her process, if she follows method acting, and she said, ‘No, I’m actually quite bad because I don’t even sometimes learn my lines the night before, I just turn up on set!’ What you see is what you get with Jennifer. And she’s only 22! Another time, I asked what she was doing in the run-up to the Oscars, ‘Do you spa, do you do yoga?’ and she thought I said, ‘Do you do yoghurt?’ She said, ‘What would I do with yoghurt? Smear it on myself?!’
Which film do you want to see win Best Picture?
Argo. It was absolutely brilliant. And I feel hugely sorry for Ben Affleck, because it was a huge snub when he wasn’t nominated for Best Director. The thing is, if you’d asked me who the favourite is to win for Best Director, he would have been the hot favourite! I just feel that he’s been wronged. But people don’t understand how the voting works. In the initial voting round, you can only vote for your category. So if you’re an actor, you vote for the actors, if you’re a director, you’ll just vote for directors. So that’s how he missed out.
What’s your favourite thing about the Oscars?
There are always one or two surprises, and I’m sure this year there will be one or two surprises too. You can never tell. The Academy goes strange ways sometimes.
You’ve been covering the Oscars for a long time now…
I’m very lucky that I had six years covering it for American TV, so I went from the madness of red carpet, to the Awards itself, to being on the skybridge, which was my favourite place because that’s where you look down on the red carpet. One thing people don’t know about the Oscars red carpet is that a lot of the people on there are extras who are paid to be there. It’s so the red carpet never looks bare. They’re like seat fillers! And if you look closely, they’ve got a dot on their dress or lapel, letting you know they’re carpet fillers. Only in LA!
What’s your best Oscar memory?
It depends. Last year was great because Jon Voight was one of the first people along the red carpet at the Vanity Fair after-party, and this was just after his daughter Angelina Jolie had legbombed on the red carpet, so I said to him, ‘Your daughter’s going to make front page news tomorrow, is it a family trait?’ and he just did the pose live on air! Everyone else asked him to do it, and he said, ‘I did it for Ross and that’s it.’ That was a ‘YES!’ moment! I also held an Oscar last year! I got a picture with it and this lovely guy who won one for sound editing or something – but I’ve got no idea who he is!
Which stars have surprised you?
Daniel Day-Lewis doesn’t do many chats and you think he’s shy, but he’s very funny. Somebody like that, you think they’ll be so luvvie, and they’re not.
Are you exhausted by the end of awards season?
Definitely. They start in November, then you have a crazy week where it’s Critics Choice, then People’s Choice, then Golden Globes, then SAGs and then you throw in the Grammys as well. It does get a bit mad! People ask me why I have six tuxes, but I need them when I’m out every other night at some awards show or black tie do. There’s always something. And some nights, you’re doing three different things. I do an interview during the day, then off to three different things in the evening, and then I’m live on Daybreak or Lorraine at 11pm our time, finishing at 1:30am. But it’s fun!
Are Hollywood stars really a bit mad?
Oh yeah. I’ve seen examples of them asking for no direct eye contact. That makes me laugh. And I know of an actress who would insist on being met at the airport by her driver with a bottle of Smart water in one hand, and an avocado in the other, on its own. And when she got to her room, the Do Not Disturb sign had to already be on her door on the outside. That’s pretty intense! I can’t see any reason to any of it. I think celebrities become like spoiled children, and if they can get something, they get it, so they ask for it. My acting coach also told me, ‘Whoever somebody is, when they become famous, it magnifies who they are’. So someone like Tom Hanks, who is a lovely man, becomes an incredibly lovely man. And that’s what happens. So if you’re a bit dumb or not nice, you become a huge version of your not-so-nice self.
Do you still get starstruck?
Not really. But I still get excited. I came back from the Toronto Film Festival and was on a flight for four hours with Pierce Brosnan and had the time of my life! It was the best, but most unbroadcastable interview ever! Whenever I go on a movie set or drive into one of the movie studios like Paramount or Warner Bros, I still get excited because I’m a boy from Glasgow. Where I live up in the hills, I see the Hollywood sign from every level in the house. And when I see it, I smile. Every day. ‘What am I doing here?’ I never take any of it for granted. But as my acting coach once said, ‘Ross, always remember movie stars are just like us. They get up in the morning and put their pants on one leg at a time. Then it’s different!’ And that’s so true. They do that like the rest of us, and then it’s different.
Is it difficult separating your professional and social life?
Sometimes. Last year, my pal Gerard Butler had just come out of rehab – and went straight to the Oscars! So everyone wanted to talk to him. I saw him thinking, ‘I don’t want to do any of this, but I suppose I’ve got to do Ross’ and he came over and we had a great little chat but he didn’t do any others. It’s hard sometimes when it’s a pal and it’s your job, but you’ve got to try and make everybody feel comfortable and do your job at the same time.
Do you ever become blasé about your job?
The bottom line is that I always have been and always will be a fan of films. I love what I do. I’ve got a house full of friends at the moment and they’re shocked to see that my job is 24/7. But I love it. If you love what you do, it doesn’t seem like work. When I think that the first Oscars I came out to do for the BBC was in 1995, and if somebody had said, ‘In 2013, you’ll have been on American TV for six years and won four news Emmys, and will still be covering the Oscars for Daybreak and Lorraine,’ I wouldn’t have believed them.
Ross King presents Behind the Scenes At the Oscars every day this week on ITV Lorraine from 8.30am. For more details see www.itv.com/lorraine