- Getty Images
- Actress Li Bingbing arrives on the red carpet at the 84th Annual Academy Awards on February 26, 2012 in Hollywood, California.
After arriving in Beverly Hills on Wednesday, after a very VERY long flight – 12 hours! – I sat down with my team and thought: this week is going to be crazy! I have to admit, I was exhausted. But this is Oscars week, and I was going to present at the Independent Spirit Awards, how could I rest?! We had work to do! So I put on my comfy shoes, found a spot on the couch and called a meeting to plan the rest of the week.
The next day, 6 o’clock sharp, I woke up and started prepping — for everything from my endless number of meetings with friends, learning my lines for the Independent Spirit Awards, to going to Gucci for fittings and conversations about my dress at Cannes this year. The day went by in a blur, words like 3D, IMAX, summer dresses, Piaget, Gucci, were swirling in my head. But by sunset, I was getting into a car with my dear friend Wendi Deng Murdoch*, making our way over to a party at Ron Meyer’s house on the beach in Malibu in honor of Vanity Fair Editor-In-Chief Graydon Carter.
Meeting Mr. Meyer, who runs Universal Studios, and his lovely wife Kelly who is an important environmental activist, was great – it was wonderful to finally meet all these people I’ve heard so much about. It was particularly mind-blowing to see Tom Cruise, Colin Firth and Tom Hanks (whose wife, Rita Wilson, I met at the “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” red carpet in LA this time last year) all in one room. I was star-struck, but meeting these people made them real to me. They were just like me and everyone else: people who wanted to work hard and produce something they were proud of. On my quiet ride back home, I was finally able to and enjoy the quiet and beautiful drive home on the Pacific Coast Highway.
Friday was another day full of meetings, followed by the Women In Film party at Cecconi’s, which was full of industry movers and shakers. This was a new exciting experience for me; I looked forward to speaking to these women and being inspired by them while I learned about our cultural differences and similarities. I got to meet Oscar-winning producer Cathy Schulman, Oscar nominated documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker and the head of the Sundance Institute Michelle Satter. Afterwards, I attended the talent agency parties: CAA, UTA and WME… which was great, as I’m in LA with my management team from Beijing, and we’re looking for people to collaborate with to shorten the bridge from the U.S. to China.
Saturday was the Independent Spirit Awards. The kind, soft-spoken, talented American actor Giovanni Ribisi was my partner in presenting the award for Best Cinematography to Guillaume Schiffman from “The Artist.” I was so nervous! But being who he was, Giovanni made sure I was comfortable and confident before we got on stage. I feel so lucky to have been paired with someone so considerate. Backstage, I had a chance to chat with MPAA Chairman and CEO Christopher Dodd, who has done so much to support closer ties between the Chinese film industry and Hollywood. To me, it was a big responsibility to be presenting at the Spirit Awards. Not only were my fans in China watching, I was able to bring a piece of the U.S. back to them. I also feel a real responsibility to meet as many filmmakers and other professionals here as I can and bring those relationships home. Mr. Dodd tells me he’ll be visiting Beijing next week and plans for us to meet!
Sunday, Oscar day, started with a Chinese news crew filming my fitting, hair and makeup. Everyone in China wanted to know what was happening here! This year, I was very fortunate to have a friend like Wendi Murdoch, who invited me as her guest to the Academy Awards. Wendi, who produced my recent film “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan,” looked absolutely gorgeous in a vintage Rodarte gown and Cindy Chao jewelry. I felt like a princess when I finally put on the first dress I laid eyes on when I knew I was coming to the Oscars: a beautiful white Georges Chakra gown that was both elegant and understatedly sexy. With my Lana Marks purse, Gucci and Cindy Chao jewelry and tight hugs from my everyone in my team, I finally felt ready to walk that red carpet!
That day, I enjoyed the full grandeur of the Academy Awards. It was the greatest experience; everything was perfect. I was honored to be in one room with all these beautiful and talented people celebrating their achievements. Of course, we did not forget about our parties! It was great to finally slow down and take in a bit of Hollywood. It was a whirlwind: the Elton John party with the beloved designer Lana Marks, Vanity Fair with everyone from the awards ceremony… it would take me several pages to list all the people I saw at these events, so I won’t try. But, my experience this time has confirmed one thing: this is the time to bring China and Hollywood a little closer together. I am positively hopeful that more global collaborations will happen between China and the U.S. Perhaps this week is just what was needed for us all to see to see more Chinese directors, writers and actors holding little gold statues!
Li Bingbing starred in “1911″ and “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.” She will star in the coming film, “Resident Evil: Retribution.”
*Wendi Deng Murdoch is the wife of Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive of News Corp., owners of the Wall Street Journal.