The Academy Awards ceremony is a party, an honor, and a fashion show. But most of all, it is a TV show, and every effort is made to make it look good on TV. That’s why around 300 people are recruited to be seat-fillers. Their job is to make the camera shots of the audience look good- and that means no empty seats. When a movie star, director, or one of their guests gets up to visit the bar or the bathroom, a seat-filler takes his place until he returns. Vanity Fair talked to an Oscar seat-filler and got the particulars on what the job entails.
Dress code: Basically, “You have to look like you’re a guest at the Oscars.” Men have been known to buy new suits. Women buy dresses for the occasion and have their hair and makeup professionally applied, as if they were invited to the show as official guests. “The difference,” our mole tells us, between the actual guests and the seat-fillers, however, is easy to spot at the end of the evening. Since seat-fillers have to start at around nine A.M. “they don’t look as top-notch as they originally did” by midnight.
Strict rules: “We weren't allowed to talk to anyone other than other seat-fillers,” our source recalls. Which means that even if you are seated next to Jennifer Lawrence, who you know, deep down, was put on this planet to be your best friend, you cannot even squeak hi to her. You’re not a short-term substitute date for guests—you’re more of a mannequin meant to make it seem as though audience members haven’t ditched the show for the bar.