On Sunday, while Oscar-goers donned their designer duds and Oscar-watchers in pj’s popped their popcorn and gawked from home, a small group of local hotel concierges hosted a special red carpet of their own.
More than a dozen local concierges, who cater to the wishes of the well-heeled at four- and five-star hotels around town, gathered at West End Cinema to watch the big show (yep, all four hours of it) and cheer for “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which was nominated for nine awards.
The film, directed by Wes Anderson, is a high-stakes comedy about a hotel concierge charged with murder who tries to prove his innocence while still providing for his hotel and its guests. For many of Sunday night’s attendees, the film, which stars Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody and Bill Murray, was something like a stamp of approval.
“It really is about me and what I do,” said Jeff Morgan, a concierge at the Four Seasons. “It made an impact because someone actually gets it.”
In “The Grand Budapest Hotel” — which won four Oscars on Sunday — Fiennes is a member of the “Society of the Crossed Keys,” a fraternity of concierges that helps other members at all costs. In reality, there is an international group of upper-echelon concierges with the same brand of camaraderie called Les Clefs d’Or. (Don’t even bother having John Travolta try to pronounce it.) Les Clefs d’Or is French for “the golden keys,” and members wear two crossed gold key pins on their lapels.
At the watch party, there were no 360-degree glamour cams or seat-fillers, just a group of close-knit colleagues celebrating a film that celebrated them for a change. Sofitel concierge Cynthia Van Zandt, whose dress designer remained a mystery as she waltzed along the red carpet that led to the theater’s front doors, said the movie “puts our profession front and center.”
The men and women whose job it is to work magic behind the scenes were finally getting their chance in the spotlight. But not for long. The clock would eventually strike midnight.
Jack Nargil, the concierge at the Mandarin Oriental, who has been in the business since 1980, said, “A good concierge is never off the clock.”