It's not often that you step into an elevator with an international criminal mastermind. Well, OK, at least an actor who played an international criminal mastermind. But the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood is not like other places in the world, and that's why when we entered the lift bound for the hotel's grand penthouse, we saw Mads Mikkelsen, who played math-genius-turned-terrorism-profiteer Le Chiffre in the new bond classic Casino Royale. And maybe he wasn't weeping blood, but the guy is quite intimidating.
"I got stuck in this elevator once," said a man there with us. Mads didn't flinch. Horrifying.
Such is life here in the City of Angels during Golden Globes week. Sure, the Academy Awards are the big ones — the Oscars! The grandest night of the year for the movie business! — but you know what? We'll take the Golden Globes, its less serious sibling. It's the award show where the stars get to actually have fun, where there's wine on the table instead of the extremely sober Oscars. And accordingly, there are a slew of events on the nights leading up to it.
Because the nights are already full of events, luncheons have become the essential venue for glad-handing and power plays. The Four Seasons hosts the AFI lunch on Friday and the BAFTA lunch Saturday, where producers of all stripes come to juice the voters who can put them on stage Sunday night.
On Saturday, we have The Art of Elysium's HEAVEN Gala, honoring songwriter Linda Perry, with a host committee longer than some novellas, every name more boldfaced than the last. Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith, will serenade the crowd.
But it's not all starlets and galas. A mere 30 minutes drive south — or over an hour, because, you know, LA traffic — of this statue-and-status-crazed frenzy that's taken over Hollywood is Downtown LA, the neighborhood recently christened the coolest emerging city subset in the country. The centerpiece of the rebuilt artists' paradise is the Ace Hotel, the latest outpost of the meticulously curated boutique hospitality meccas. Thousands of LA's disaffected youth will cram into the theater for a massive dance party Saturday night, inspiring what will surely be some nefarious behavior.
And then Sunday, the Globes themselves take place at the Beverley Hilton. Thousands of the most celebrated actors and actresses will descend up on the red carpet in tuxedos and ball gowns, then proceed to either win or lose over the course of four hours, and then celebrate or drown their sorrows at one of the dozen after-parties occurring in every corner of the hotel premises.
Oh, that's right, there are actual awards happening this week, too. Gravity, the visually stunning outer space disaster flick, and 12 Years a Slave, the harrowing depiction of a free man's capture and torture on a plantation in the south, are the favorites in the Drama category, while American Hustle goes against The Wolf of Wall Street in the comedy or musical category. For television, Breaking Bad's final season will probably snag the best drama statue, and perhaps Girls will take home the comedy prize for the second year in a row.
But who knows. Los Angeles during awards seasons is like being in an elevator with a Bond villain: it can go up, it can go down, and you have no idea what will happen next.
[Photo credit: Getty.]