He didn't go home with a gold statuette, but Montrail Brown signed autographs and posed for photos after "Undefeated" won Best Documentary at Sunday night's Oscar ceremony.
Instead of Hollywood, Montrail, 20, was in Memphis at Oscar Night America 2012 at Minglewood Hall. Equipped with official Oscar programs, guests watched the Academy Awards telecast and partied at the fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House of Memphis.
Montrail was one of the players on the Manassas High School Tigers football team in the 2011 documentary directed by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin.
Asked how he felt when Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow presented the award, Montrail said, "Everybody was cheering. It was loud. My heart dropped. I was shocked. I didn't know it was gonna win."
What Montrail, who was profiled in the film, remembers most about the experience was "having the cameras there during practice. So you know everybody was gonna be at their best at practice 'cause the camera was there."
Also at the party were Ethel Hayes, grandmother of O.C. Brown, one of the team players highlighted in the film, and Rachel Hayes, O.C.'s sister.
Guests at Oscar Night America walked down a red carpet, dined on food from Memphis restaurants, bid on items in a silent auction and danced to music by The Soul Shockers.
And like their counterparts at the Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood, women at the Memphis event dressed to the nines.
Though the temperature was in the 60s when the party began, Trish O'Connor at the coat check said, "We've checked three furs."
Madonna Learning Center fundraiser
Not many charity fundraising parties have a line of people waiting to get in, but guests stood outside Saturday night until it was time for them to get into a crowded Heffernan Hall for Madonna Learning Center's 43rd annual Gala & Auction at Christian Brothers High School.
Between 600 and 650 attended the event, said event chairwoman Carol Van-Cleave. The party featured music by The Soul Shockers and cuisine from the culinary school at Southwest Tennessee Community College under the direction of chef Steven Leake.
Live auction items included an NFL football signed by Archie, Eli and Peyton Manning and an NFL football signed by Tim Tebow.
Why was the event so popular? "I think it's everybody's willingness to be so supporting of Madonna and the students of Madonna," Carol said.
As for how much they raised, Carol said, "Our goal was $200,000, and I think we're probably very close to that."
Jo-Ann Hinkle is Madonna Learning Center executive director.
'Young at Heart'
"Young at Heart" was the theme of this year's Memphis Heart Ball Saturday night at The Peabody.
The event featured live and silent auctions and music by Zulu's Child and Party Planet.
Dinner included breast of chicken stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and mushroom sauce and salmon in dry vermouth sauce with creamy risotto and green bean amandine.
Drs. Dharmesh and Purvisha Patel were event chairmen.
-- Michael Donahue: (901) 529-2797; firstname.lastname@example.org