By the time a confused Warren Beatty shoved that now-infamous envelope into Faye Dunaway's hands, the 89th Academy Awards were stretching toward the three-hour mark. (And that's not counting those excruciating minutes after La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz said "Moonlight, you guys won best picture… this is not a joke"—because that felt like it took three solid days). It was not the longest-ever Oscars—that was the 2002 ceremony, which stretched on for an agonizing 4 hours and 23 minutes—but last night was a long one, especially for the hungry, underfed attendees.
According to the Los Angeles Times, no food or drinks are allowed in the Dolby Theatre, so those Red Vines and Junior Mints that parachuted from the ceiling during the show were the only snacks the audience was eating. And unlike the multiplex where you saw the Academy Award-winning film Suicide Squad, the Dolby didn't even have a real snack bar.
"Hungry bellies that had been starved for weeks [...] drove guests to the lone snack table, where tiny Japanese rice crackers and cookies provide the evening's only sustenance," the Times' reporters wrote, later adding that the rice crackers were quickly inhaled and were replaced with "small bags of trail mix."
What's weird is that, according to the Dolby's own Theatre Policies page, it offers "popcorn, candy, sandwiches and cheese and crackers," in addition to selling eats from Wolfgang Puck Catering. Puck's white-coated catering minions seem to serve a few appetizers as guests arrive, but when the broadcast starts, all of those trays disappear. (According to last year's menu, the only foods available during the show were root vegetable chips and potato chips—and both of those items were denoted as being "Vegan, Gluten Free, Nut Free, and Dairy Free." DELICIOUS.)
That's probably why Taraji P. Henson looked so excited when she scored some Red Vines at the beginning of the evening—and so disappointed when she missed out on the cookies that fell from the sky later in the telecast." Henson leaned forward to ask her Hidden Figures co-star Octavia Spencer if she would share her cookies, a moment that seemed adorable but is now devastating, as those snacks WERE THEIR ONLY SUSTENANCE FOR HOURS. (By contrast, I'd eaten a Wendy's 4 for $4 meal and a package of Pop-Tarts before host Jimmy Kimmel had finished his monologue.)
The Dolby's rules could be why the hosts keep trying to work food-related gags into the broadcast. Last year, Chris Rock turned his daughter's Girl Scout troop loose in the room, where they sold a reported $65,243 worth of cookies. In 2014, Ellen DeGeneres had pizza delivered, and even A-listers like Brad Pitt weren't shy about inhaling a slice.
Of course, those attendees who scored an invite to the Governor's Ball got a catered dinner after the show, but come on, Academy. Next year, surely you could fire up that popcorn machine—or at least a few more boxes of rice crackers.