A whirlwind weekend with Melissa Springer—Birmingham native & Oscar winner Paul Rogers’ mom

Oscars
Melissa Springer and her son Paul Rogers (Melissa Springer)

“I was Cinderella at the ball and my son was the prince.”

That’s how Melissa Springer described her whirlwind weekend in Hollywood with her son Paul Rogers, winner of this year’s Academy Award for Editing

In an exclusive interview with Bham Now, Melissa—a renowned Birmingham photographer in her own right—shared with us those magical moments before, during and after the 95th Academy Award ceremony.

Everything Everywhere All at Once—Birmingham Roots

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95th Academy Awards Watch party at Sidewalk Cinema cheers on Paul Rogers from Birmingham (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

Unless you have been living under a rock, the big news this week in the entertainment world has been the movie Everything Everywhere All at Once winning seven Oscars, including Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Editing and Best Picture.

Nominated 11-times, Daniel Scheinert (the film’s co-director and co-screenwriter) and Paul Rogers grew up in The Magic City and maintain strong ties with their families and friends in Alabama and the local film industry.

Arrive Friday—Vanity Fair Party

While waiting to depart for Hollywood at the Atlanta airport, Melissa got the news that a seat had opened up and she could attend the Oscars on Sunday. Originally, she had planned to help babysit her grandchildren, but at the last minute Paul’s publicist had worked her magic to secure a spot in the balcony. 

Once she arrived in California, that evening she attended the Vanity Fair Party. 

“Paul took me to the Vanity Fair party. I got to see and wave at David Byrne.  I hugged Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan. That was my big thrill, because I was HIS (Paul) mother they hugged me! I was so excited,” Melissa chuckled.

“Everybody in that crew loves each other and respects each other. It’s just so wonderful to be around them. I met Stephanie Hsu and she is lovely. I told her I was starstruck when I met her so she just held my hand for a little while.”

Finding a Dress at Macy’s

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Melissa Springer with her black dress from Macy’s

Of course, on Saturday, Melissa had to somehow find a dress to wear to the Sunday night awards ceremony. 

A dress by designers Versace or Ralph Lauren were absolutely out of the question, so Melissa made it over to the local Macy’s.

“When I learned about getting the ticket to the ceremony while I was flying in, I told my husband I had to find something to wear. So there was a Macy’s not too far. 

Of course, you can’t park anywhere in LA so he had to circle Macy’s while I had 10 to 15 minutes to just sweep through that store to buy all black things. The fashion gods were with me. I found something that I liked!”

At the Balcony with the Crew

On the big day, they separate the nominees from the families and crews so they can walk the red carpet, which Melissa said is actually a “champagne” color. She did get to see Paul and his wife Becky arrive and walk into the theater.

“All of the people who got nominated gave their extra tickets to the crew. Wonderful. I was with a bunch of post production people that were young.They took me around and took really good care of Paul’s mama. 

We were up in the balcony together, so we had to leave him (Paul). I didn’t see him until after he got the Oscar and then after all the press stuff, I got to see him. There is a really sweet picture of us hugging.”

The Moment His Name Was Called

When asked how she felt when Paul’s name was announced as the winner, Melissa said:

“Did you hear me scream?”

She described Paul looking up not knowing where she was, but when she screamed he found her and pointed his finger at her. 

“I felt like it was an old fashioned redneck — holler’n — I guess my roots came out,” she said with a laugh.

“I got hugs from strangers. Everything about it was love, kindness, beauty, connection and generosity. It was a wonderful, wonderful night. It was all so sweet. Everybody was so happy for you— I was Cinderella at the ball and my son was the prince.”

Melissa also loved the way Paul thanked his wife Becky.  

“I loved the first thing he said when he thanked everybody was that she was the most incredible woman in the room and he was so right.”

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Becky and Paul Rogers (Melissa Springer)

Telling Everyone

Days after the memorable weekend, Melissa told us she can’t stop telling everyone she comes in contact with on the planes or just chance meetings, she is the mom of an Oscar winner.

“I’ve gotten into the terrible habit of telling strangers. I can’t help myself. They’re all very kind and sweet to me. I hope they don’t think I’m just making this up, that I’m crazy, but got pictures! So I’m going to try not to brag about it to strangers anymore. That’s my goal, but it’s going to be very, very hard. I might not be able to do it!”

Proud of What’s He Has Become

Beaming with pride, at the end of our interview, Melissa wanted me to know, as a mom she loves what son has become.

“He’s a very well grounded, loving husband and father. I’m so proud of the man he has become. The Oscar I’m proud of,  but the kind, generous, inclusive, woke man he is—I love it.”

Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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