Up close and personal views of all that glittered at the 85th Academy Awards made for a thrilling experience for San Ramon couple Rex and Cynthia Bordwell.

They had won a lottery and tickets to sit on the bleachers at the red carpet Feb. 24 and watch the stars stroll into the Dolby Theatre. More than 200 other fans from all over the world won tickets to the event as well through www.oscars.org. About 20,000 people applied.

Even the impending birth of their first grandchild didn't keep them from taking advantage of the opportunity to be a part of Hollywood's biggest night. (Vivienne Rose waited until March 1 to make her debut.)

The Bordwells were thrust into the limelight of celebrity themselves. No sooner had they driven into Hollywood on Feb. 23, says Cynthia, when the cell phone rang with a request for an interview by ABC anchor Don Sanchez. They met Sanchez at "Hollywood and Highland," and with a microphone in their faces, the couple turned the heads of onlookers who assumed they were "famous." Their interview aired that evening on Channel 7 news.

Fans of all that is Hollywood and the energy of Los Angeles, the Bordwells had to arrange and pay for their own hotel and travel to Hollywood, but they were treated to an eventful day beginning with breakfast and security check-in. They picked up their passes and goody bags before making their way to the bleacher seats they would call home for the next nine hours before being whisked across the street to the El Capitan Theatre to enjoy the Oscar show on a big screen while being served dinner.


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Despite the influx of press, security, handlers and families, they said it was a lot of fun to spot the celebrities coming down the red carpet.

"Quentin Tarantino looked like a fun guy to hang with," said Rex.

Then there was the Hollywood royalty, including Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones, and Steven Spielberg with wife Kate Capshaw. Rex says he was most impressed by the lovely Jane Fonda, 76 years young.

"She was so stunning," as she walked up the middle of the red carpet and waved, he said.

Then there was Tim Burton and Robert De Niro. Cynthia recalls how elegant Daniel Day Lewis was on the red carpet.

What surprised Rex the most was: "These guys do not know how to tie bow ties," he says with a laugh. It was also difficult to pick out the celebrities in the sea of press, security, handlers and families, they both added.

Cynthia adds that they made several friends along the way since Oscars.org set up a fan page on Facebook for the lottery winners. They were able to message fellow winners in the weeks before the show and finally meet them face-to-face that day. They even hope to make a visit to Toronto to visit one of their new friends.

"We'd go back (to the Oscars) in a heartbeat," says Rex. In fact, Cynthia already has plans to try the lottery again next year.

They have plenty of great memories of this year's Oscar show as well as photos including one of Cynthia holding an actual Oscar weighing in at 8½ pounds. As Rex snapped her picture, she made sure to thank the Academy.

Contact Monica Lander at landerfamily@comcast.net.