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Behind The Blush

Oscar’s makeup artist tells all

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Go ahead, Make his day. For the second year, Bruce Grayson, 37, is the go-to touch-up artist backstage at the Oscars. A diary of his beauty rescues.

March 24, 2002

4:55 p.m. Tom Cruise and Benicio Del Toro arrive in the greenroom. They’re dying to meet me but play coy. I do likewise and am completely ignored.

5:24 p.m. In [show producer] Laura Ziskin’s office, I make up a very pleasant but nervous Woody Allen. As I leave I realize I’m one of 10 people who know Allen is even in the building. Cool.

5:35 p.m. Somebody has slipped through my powder-puff radar! Tom Cruise goes on looking shinier than cellophane. It’s going to be a long night.

6:10 p.m. The greenroom is hopping. Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw have been made up. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are going over their bit. A stunning Jodie Foster watches their last-minute rehearsal.

6:50 p.m. I’ve got Marcia Gay Harden at my station. Cameron Diaz sits down in the next chair. When I ask if she needs anything, she declines. She has her own makeup. I hide my disappointment.

7:10 p.m. Kirsten Dunst, Sandra Bullock, and Jennifer Connelly hover. As I apply lip gloss on one and powder on another, I think, ”God is great.”

7:35 p.m. Denzel Washington is amazingly calm — and can’t get enough of the sushi. I bet five bucks on him to win.

7:45 p.m. Sir Paul McCartney apologizes for being late, but he didn’t want to miss Cirque du Soleil. I tell him I’m honored. Sir Paul smiles and in a thick British accent says, ”Oh, go on.”

8:40 p.m. Mel Gibson needs help with his tie. He pulls out two crumpled choices: a bow tie and a straight tie. I vote for the straight tie, but I suck at tying them. First, I tie it on myself, and then I have trouble negotiating it over Mel’s head. Mel realizes that even he can tie a tie better than I can and does it himself.

8:55 p.m. Russell Crowe comes in with pants a size too big and asks if I can pin them for him. I know less about pinning pants than I do about ties. Hairstylist Lucia Mace helps. I wind up holding up the tails of Crowe’s jacket as she pins the pants from behind. Lucia’s in heaven.

9:10 p.m. Halle Berry’s Best Actress win causes a mad rush for Kleenex and touch-ups. As everyone watches Berry’s speech, Tom Hanks remarks how every awards show has that one human moment and Halle’s is it. God bless Halle! She thanked everybody but me.

9:35 p.m. Denzel Washington wins Best Actor. John Travolta, Mel Gibson, and Rogers & Cowan publicist Alan Nierob, all close friends of Denzel, rush out of the greenroom to congratulate him backstage.

9:45 p.m. A Beautiful Mind wins Best Picture. It’s been an incredible night. Rita Wilson sums it up by saying we should all feel very proud of our community — and we do. I’m also relieved: Except for Tom Cruise, nobody shined.