TV host Janet Hsieh to cover Oscars red carpet event

Janet Hsieh's dream of walking down the Oscars red carpet is about to come true.

The bubbly Taiwanese-American TV host and star of long-running travel series Fun Taiwan will be covering the pre-show red carpet event at the 88th Annual Academy Awards for cable channel HBO Asia.

It will air live on HBO (StarHub TV Ch 601) on Feb 29 at 8am, followed by the awards ceremony at 9.30am.

The show will also be streamed live on HBO GO on StarHub Go, with a same night encore at 8pm on HBO.

Last February, Hsieh, who married British-Chinese actor George Young in January last year, was "around the corner" from the Dolby Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, where the Oscars are held annually, but she could not get near the red carpet.

"George and I were in Hollywood and we saw the people setting up the place for the Oscars," she told M over the phone from Taipei, where she is based.

"We couldn't get near the red carpet as we had no pass."

Hsieh, 36, added that she and Young, also 36, then shot an Instagram video of themselves pretending to cover the Oscars live and competing to see who could get closest to the red carpet before getting chased away by security guards.

It will be her first time hosting a live event on such a large scale and she is "a bundle of nerves right now", she said.

Hsieh shares her excitement, fears and expectations of Oscar night.

Which celebrity do you most want to meet?

Brad Pitt! He's been an obsession for 20 years.

I know he will be there as he's a producer on The Big Short, which is nominated for five Oscars (including Best Picture and Best Director).

I would like to ask him to say something in Vietnamese or in Khmer. He should know since he has kids from the two countries.

I believe he's one of the few Hollywood A-listers who is most in tune with Asia.

I also want him to say "I love you"! (laughs)

Besides rubbing shoulders with Pitt, what else are you looking forward to?

It will be so exciting to be surrounded by so much talent. The energy will be amazing.

I was just in Los Angeles on Monday and you could already feel the awards season excitement. There were so many things going on at the Hollywood Boulevard.

I can't believe I'm going to be so close to all the people I've seen in movies and have read about.

Do you think you are a bit out of your element hosting a live event?

I've worked with a lot of celebrities in the past 10 years and I know my experience will come into play.

You only get a short burst of 30 seconds and everyone is trying to get to the same people and asking the same questions. That makes me nervous.

I will be throwing as many Asian cards as possible at them. That's how I think I will draw their attention since Asia is a big deal to Hollywood now.

What do you fear most when you are on the red carpet?

That my mind will go blank! That I'm about to interview Tom Hanks and then suddenly I forget his name.

What are you going to wear on the red carpet?

I'm very fortunate that many international brands reached out to us after news of me hosting the red carpet live for HBO Asia was released.

I'm looking for something comfortable as I will be standing for at least four hours.

I haven't done any fitting yet since I just got back to Taipei, but I don't think I will be wearing anything poofy as I was told we don't have much space on the red carpet.

I will go with something stylish and comfortable and I will definitely incorporate some Asian elements, perhaps through accessories.

So do you have your own Oscar picks?

I have watched most of the Oscar-nominated movies except Room. I want to watch that as I heard Brie Larson is really good.

I love The Martian, but I don't think it's going to win. I also love The Revenant as the cinematography is so beautiful. I've just got back from Argentina where they filmed some scenes, so I could relate to it.

I would love The Big Short to win for the obvious - and biased - reason. (laughs)

Now that you will be on the Oscars red carpet, do you have any other Oscar dream?

I hope I can interview George on the red carpet one day. I have a feeling that the day will come.

This article was first published on February 17, 2016.
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