What Do Seat Fillers Do At the Oscars?
So you live and breathe movies, you love celebrities, and you're dying for a chance to rub elbow with them at the Academy awards. The only problem is that you can't seem to land that perfect role that showcases your unique and amazing talents in a major motion picture ... imagine that. Is there any other way to get tickets to the Oscars?
Sure there is, but it will take you a considerable amount of time and/or student loans. You can be a seat filler. Let me explain: Naturally, the seats at the Academy Awards are reserved for members of the Academy (whoever they are) and, of course, the glitzy movie stars wearing outfits that are worth more than your car. However, there is a pool of carefully-chosen individuals (with adequate security clearance, naturally) who are qualified to serve as "seat fillers" -- and, sometimes, they get that golden ticket
Naturally, when I heard about this part-time profession -- described to me as "the folks that come sit in George Clooney's chair while he's in the men's room" -- I was intrigued. And as any freeloading, red-blooded American would do, I contacted the Academy to throw my hat in the ring. Because who wouldn't want to sit in Clooney's chair!
Director of Communications, Leslie Unger wrote back to me; unfortunately, her answer wasn't what I was hoping it would be: "Only the staff and immediate family of staff of the Academy plus the staffs of the Academy's legal and accounting firms can be seat fillers. We view the seat filler function as one related to security and therefore we do not participate in any publicity about seat fillers, and seat fillers are not permitted to do any media interviews."
Apparently, your chances of becoming a seat filler are much greater if you acquire a degree in either law or accounting (with an emphasis on talent management or entertainment law) and a job within the Academy. It may require vast amounts of work and significant hardship, but look on the bright side: You could anonymously fill George Clooney's seat for a few minutes at the Oscars while not conversing with celebrities to your left or right (or you may get kicked out of the theater).
Not sure law school is a viable route to holding Clooney's chair while he takes care of business? Then consider a site like SeatFiller.com, which allegedly place aspiring seat fillers in awards show seats when a celebrity is running late or can't make it. According to the site, wannabes can send in their resumé, photo, and cover letter for their chance to be mistaken for a celebrity until the real celeb shows up.
According to their FAQ, it sounds a little like being an extra on a feature film: Candidates should be presentable, competent, and should never, ever, under any circumstances attempt to initiate a conversation with a celebrity. Maybe if you prove your worth at some of the minor awards shows, you can one day work your way up to the big leagues. I should point out, however, that SeatFiller.com's FAQ hasn't been updated since 2004, so who knows what your chances are.
Still want to go to the Oscars? There is one last possibility: You could try the old marry-a-prominent-movie-star route ... I hear spouses get in free, and you're probably allowed to talk to the other celebs at your table.
Getting caught up in this year's award season? So are we, see Leading Ladies at the Oscars and their Award Winning Fashion from our friends at StyleList!
Photo Credit: AMPAS/Getty Images