Covering the red carpet

What’s one of the stupidest things Ben Mulroney has ever done on the red carpet?

What’s one of the stupidest things Ben Mulroney has ever done on the red carpet?

It was at last year’s Oscars with Julian Schnabel, director of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

“I don’t know how I forgot or why I forgot, but I forgot to say hello and ask the name of his wife,” said the affable television host.

American artist and director Schnabel would not entertain any of Mulroney’s questions until he recognized his mistake.

“It felt like forever, it might have been 20 seconds, but it felt like a very long time while he just stood there and stared at me,” he said with a sheepish chuckle, recalling the awkward moment.

The Academy Awards red carpet event, the biggest and most widely televised of all, is chock full of opportunities for even the coolest cats in front of the camera to make mistakes.

But that’s one of the things Mulroney, who will again be CTV’s frontman at the 81st annual event Sunday, says he likes best about going live.

“I think you should show off that carpet in all of its crazy glory,” he said.

After six years as Canada’s red carpet guy, Mulroney said he still gets nervous but tries not to let his nerves get in the way of the excitement.

“I approach the red carpet as a fan more than anything,” he said. “I’m not a film expert but I am a lover of the movies.”

Once the actors start rolling in, Mulroney said, nerves give way to adrenaline and it’s a bit of a whirlwind. He often doesn’t remember who he’s talked to until after the event because he’s so focused on trying to ask the right questions including, of course, ‘Who are you wearing?’

Add in the behind-the-scenes chaos with publicists yanking the actors from one interview to the next and producers shouting commands in his ear and it becomes a bit of a circus.

There are a lot of snap decisions to be made and basically you just have to hope for the best, he said.

“Sometimes it doesn’t come off as pretty but I think that the people at home appreciate the live, anything-goes nature of that red carpet,” he said.

Mulroney will be joined by etalk colleagues Tanya Kim and Elaine (Lainey) Lui who will commentate on the red carpet happenings from a balcony in front of Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre.

Oscar watch

Coverage of the red carpet will begin Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. ET on CTV. The 81st Annual Academy Awards begins at 8:30 p.m.

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