The glamour, the gowns, the limos, the worldwide audience…and all those superstars.

THE ACADEMY AWARDS is Hollywood’s grandest pageant – and no matter how celebrated one’s stardom, a trip to the OSCARS is unforgettable.

Especially the first one.

NICOLE KIDMAN’S initial walk on the red carpet was back when she was still married to TOM CRUISE. She remembered being wowed by the scene and the sound of the screaming photographers. < So was MARCIA GAY HARDEN’S.

SOFIA COPPOLA was a little kid. JOSH BROLIN first went to the OSCARS as the guest of his nominated wife DIANE LANE. And once again this year, new performers such as 14 year old SUPPORTING ACTRESS nominee HAILEE STEINFELD are likely to log their own unforgettable memories.

Before she was nominated for MOULIN ROUGE and won for THE HOURS, NICOLE KIDMAN attended the OSCARS with then husband TOM CRUISE: “He was nominated. And I remember I got to wear this really short Valentino velvet dress and I was absolutely stunned. It was like the biggest thing I had ever seen. I couldn’t believe how loud the photographers were.”

VIRGINIA MADSEN also brought her mom – and the night is seared into her memory: “Oh, I remember every detail. I mean, I was Cinderella and I didn’t have to go home at midnight. I brought my mom with me and everything about that night was perfect. Everything was a dream come true – as I imagined it when I was five years old. I mean, I wouldn’t change a thing. It was really beautiful.”

MARCIA GAY HARDEN, who won for her role in POLLACK, also had crystal clear recollections: “It strikes me still with the clarity of a lightning bolt, that the first time I went there, I was graced to win…given the opportunity by Ed Harris to be in a great movie to play a real transformational character that caught the votes from some voters. And the glory of the night was that my dad was alive. My mom was alive. Ed was thrilled. My husband was there. It was surreal.”

Director SOFIA COPPOLA was just a kid when she attended her first OSCAR ceremony with her father FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA: “I must have been 7 or 8. I had a tuxedo dress. But I have vague memories. It was a lot of glamorous grown ups.”

MARISA TOMEI had a guardian looking over her shoulder when she was nominated and won BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS for MY COUSIN VINNY: “I remember Mary McDonnell was sitting behind me and she was so sweet. She just kept tapping my shoulder and being like, ‘How are you doing, honey?‘…I was scared and she was very motherly towards me and it was a nice little crowd that I was sitting with.”

JOSH BROLIN, who was nominated in 2008 for his supporting role in MILK, first came to the OSCARS with wife DIANE LANE when she was nominated for her lead performance in UNFAITHFUL: “There was a massive possibility that she was going to be up there soon accepting an award. But then you learn after a while that it is more about the get together and the appreciation of your peers nominating you and saying, ‘We really liked your performance.'”

Songwriter CAROLE BAYER SAGER, who has been nominated six times, remembered her first with mixed feelings: “I was at the Oscars with Marvin Hamlisch. We had both written a song called Nobody Does it Better, recorded by Carly Simon and it was for the movie The Spy Who Loved Me. And I remember trying to put that title in the lyric, and I found the line: Like heaven above me/The spy who loved me/Is keeping all my secrets safe tonight. Nobody does it better…And we lost. I don’t remember to what song. And I knew, at that moment, that the best part is being nominated because losing didn’t feel so good.”

JEFF BRIDGES, nominated for the sixth time for TRUE GRIT, said his most memorable trip to the show was last year: “It’s so exciting, you know, being recognized by your guys, saying, ‘Atta boy, Jeff. Good job.‘ Everybody standing up and all that. Oh, God, it is so thrilling. Then, to share it with my wife, who was there through the whole thing. It was a magical, magical evening for me.”

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