LOS ANGELES — The approximately 600 limousines and sedans
that shuttled Hollywood stars to the 75th annual Academy
Awards included several armored vehicles, according to one
Empire International, one of the largest limousine caterers
to the stars and the official car company for the Oscars,
sent 148 cars to this year’s festivities, Robert Partovi,
executive vice president West, told LCT magazine.
Eight of those were Level 1 and Level 3 protection sedans,
he noted. “Last year we had none [at the Oscars].”
Level 1 cars feature run-flat tires, allowing them to
travel 50 miles on punctured tires, and shatter-guard side
windows, he said.
Level 3 cars are built by Mercedes and have half-inch-thick
glass that would sustain a shot from a 44-caliber handgun,
Partovi added. They also have run-flat tires and their
floors would withstand a moderate bomb explosion from
In addition, Level 3 cars have a supply of oxygen in case
of a chemical or biological attack, he added.
Aside from the presence of armored cars, the most requested
Oscar-night vehicle, as always, was a black corporate
sedan, Partovi said.
However, a few stars, including Cameron Diaz, Meryl Streep,
Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart, made a statement by
arriving in Toyota Hybrid cars.
Security checkpoints were doubled from last year, Partovi
said, even though security already had been toughened up
after Sept. 11.
In addition, police officers were on every corner and
rooftop in the secure area surrounding the Kodak Theater.
Last year, Partovi said he had to submit the names of his
chauffeurs prior to the event, but was exempt from doing so
this year since their names were already on file.
All limousines went through three checkpoints within a four-
block area, Partovi said. The cars were searched inside and
out and passengers and drivers identified.
The stars had to show their faces and credentials to
security personnel at the last checkpoint before they were
allowed to enter the theater.
Moving through the checkpoints, Partovi added, took up to
an hour, but none of his clients complained, knowing their
security was the goal.
Once the cars entered the secure, closed-off area of about
10 blocks surrounding the Kodak Theater they were not
allowed outside that perimeter until it was time for their
clients to leave.