It was barely past dawn and raining like crazy when the first hundred or so people lucky enough to score tickets to the bleachers outside the Kodak Theatre arrived to claim their seats.
An awning had been placed overhead to protect them from the rain, but not from the cold, strong wind.
Still, no one seemed to mind.
"I think it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing," said medical technician Sydney Smelkinson, who traveled with a friend from Gilbert, Ariz., for the hoopla. "It's fun to see celebrities in person — it's surreal."
Later, umbrella over her head, Kiyoko Nagae arrived outside the Kodak Theatre in a steady downpour early today to stake out a piece of sidewalk in hopes of seeing movie stars as they arrived for the evening's Oscars ceremony.
Nagae, 41, couldn't get a ticket for the bleachers that line the red carpet and are protected from the rain by an awning. So she was hoping the downpour might actually work in her favor, driving away others and giving her an unobstructed view.
"I'd like to see anyone," said Nagae, a Japanese native who recently moved to North Hollywood with her American husband. "Stars have a raw power you can feel."
Taking up another section of sidewalk were Tine Bojanna, 37, and her 11-year-old daughter, vacationers from Europe who had no qualms about the weather.
"We're from Denmark, so we're used to the rain," said Bojanna.
"The opportunity to see stars — we never get that in Denmark," she said.