Win or lose, Hollywood's biggest stars will be looking forward to Oscar once again at Sunday's Golden Globe Awards. But not necessarily THAT Oscar.
As longtime bartender in the show's off-camera green room, Oscar Zuleta has toasted with Sean Connery, gotten a head rub from Tom Hanks and shared a selfie with Jessica Alba. The 48-year-old Beverly Hilton Hotel staffer keeps the drinks flowing at the awards circuit's booziest gathering.
"A lot of people know me for that - 'you are the only Oscar at the Golden Globes,'" Zuleta says. "I know many of the presenters for years now - wonderful people and I get to see them every year and they happen to remember me, luckily."
Zuleta immigrated to Los Angeles from Guatemala as a teenager. He started working for the Hilton in 1986, at first just pouring cups of coffee. Eventually, he landed on the hotel's banquet staff, commuting daily from the working-class Mid-City area to the mecca of affluence that is Beverly Hills. He would dish out meals at business conventions or clean up after the hotel's many charity galas.
His first brush with Globes glamour was in an eighth-floor suite after-party in 1995. Tom Hanks was celebrating his win for "Forrest Gump" and noticed Zuleta's "Oscar" name tag. "He says, 'Come here. Let me rub your head. I need some luck,'" Zuleta recalled, laughing. Hanks went on to win at the Oscars.
One year, Zuleta delivered extra food to a Globes guest mid-show and found himself crawling between tables as the televised ceremony continued — and while an amused Angelina Jolie looked on. Then there's the time he held an extended conversation with Mike Tyson — in Spanish. And Zuleta is ready with a ginger ale as soon as he spots Robert Downey Jr.
"Frankly, it wouldn't be a Golden Globes without Oscar. Everybody looks for him," said Globes executive producer Barry Adelman. "Everybody who is anybody has been served a drink by Oscar."
Reported by David Ho
From The Canadian Press. Edited for accuary.