Kate Winslett, Sean Penn and Penelope Cruz backstage at the 2009 Academy Awards. Photo: Getty Images

Looking the part of a ravishing red carpet movie star takes an entire production.

No one knows that better than Bruce Grayson, the official Academy Awards Makeup Department Head since 2001 - and celebrity artist for skincare giant Olay. Everyone that you see appear on stage -- from legendary presenters to dance and musical troupes and teary-eyed winners -- walks through Grayson's makeup department upon entrance and exit. The star power that passes in the room over the course of one evening may be awe-inspiring, but the backdrop is apparently anything but.

"The makeup green room is the most unspectacular place you've ever seen. It's a converted utility space!" reveals Grayson.

And while there is plenty of powder blotting, concealer blending and lipstick touch ups going on in the room throughout the night, we were surprised to hear that today's biggest stars often suffer from serious stage fright minutes before stepping into the spotlight.

Academy Awards Make Up Department Head Bruce Grayson. Courtesy photo.


"There's a ton of hand-holding going on back there because everyone is so nervous. They're about to walk out in front of their peers, which makes anyone's heart beat race. Just like you and me, they get nervous about looking good!" says Grayson.

Year after year, Hollywood's biggest starlettes show us that a smoky eye and red lip (though not worn together, of course) never goes out of style. According to Grayson, the essential step to any red carpet makeup look is the skin prep that creates the perfect canvas for color to take center stage. "These actresses start getting ready at 10am, and have to look amazingly fresh all day and night. You start by drinking lots of water and eating a healthy diet days beforehand, and use a skincare regimin that promotes radiant skin," says Grayson.

"Try Olay Professional's Pro-X Intensive Firming Treatment. It's a two step kit that combines a hydrating mask and tightening serum and is packed with an effective blend of anti-aging ingredients that firms skin," suggests Grayson.

To get blemish-free skin, use a concealer that will delete stubborn blotchiness like Laura Mercier's Secret Camouflage Concealer. Choose a foundation that delivers the perfect level of pigment, such as Giorgio Armani's Luminous Silk Foundation, and tote along MAC's Blot Film to keep shine at bay," adds Grayson.

When we asked if we could follow the backstage beauty madness on Twitter, Grayson laughed.

"I hardly have a minute to breathe all night, much less tweet!"