For Ed Begley Jr. and his daughter Hayden Carson Begley, Hollywood’s biggest night began on the subway.
Instead of driving, ordering an Uber, or taking a black car, the Begleys arrived at the Oscars the same way so many get to work: by taking the subway. LA’s metro rail, to be specific.
Ed, a longtime actor and Academy member since 1978 known for roles in Best in Show, St. Elsewhere, and Better Call Saul, has taken Hayden as his Oscars guest three times now. For their latest trip, Hayden documented their unexpected transportation journey (at least to many Angelenos) in a TikTok that went viral and has over 1.5 million views. The video was part of a series where Hayden documented her experiences commuting around the city only taking the bus or subway.
Hayden, wearing a formal black dress, and her father, wearing a suit, took the LA Metro bus from Valley Village to Studio City, got on the Red Line subway, exited in Hollywood after a few stops, and walked through closed-off streets and pedestrians gawking on the sidewalk looking to spot any celebrity. Little did those sightseers know that two Oscars attendees were walking right by them.
“She's a good sport, though. Let's be very clear,” Ed said about his daughter to BuzzFeed News. “For me and my comfortable tennis shoes with good arch support, I'm fine. She's walking in high heels a great deal of the way.”
Below, the father–daughter duo opened up about their continued efforts to highlight the environmental benefits and efficiency of public transit, their love for the Academy Awards, and why they (shockingly) simply prefer not to drive in LA.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
This is not your first time taking the transit to the Oscars. What’s the decision behind doing this again?
Hayden: I remember my dad coming into my room and saying, “Do you want to make a statement?” I was like, yeah, what are we gonna do? Like, this is so exciting. He's like, “We're gonna take the subway to the Oscars,” and I was like, I am so game.
Ed: Rachelle, my dear wife, [is] quite caring about the environment, but she made it crystal clear she had no interest in riding a bike or taking the subway to the Oscars. So when the honor fell to Hayden to come and be part of Oscar night, she was very much game.
What do you like about attending the ceremony?
Ed: I love the live music in the room. There's great acoustics there. You got Lady Gaga playing.
Hayden: He cried his eyes out to Lady Gaga.
Ed: The heartfelt speeches from…you know, most people are not reading from the list. They’re speaking from the heart. So I find that quite compelling, like Jamie Lee Curtis and all the wonderful wins for Everything Everywhere All at Once. I love that we reward people who have done excellent work in film.
Hayden: My favorite thing about going, besides being a part of the night and being part of film history, is also just getting to be with my best friend, my dad.
Hayden, in one of your TikTok videos about taking public transit every day for a week, you mention a friend didn't know LA had subways. Why do you like taking public transit here?
Hayden: It's one of the gems of LA. There’s so many people that already take it because that is their only mode of transit to get around. The responsibility to maintain those transit lines falls on these people.
I believe we have a duty to support public transportation in LA. It's very difficult getting around in LA with a lot of traffic. And if you're going to go downtown during rush hour or [coming] back from downtown during rush hour, you might as well take the subway because it goes a lot faster than going on the 101 [freeway].
Also, you're supporting a service that is essential to LA. If we can maintain it, get more buses and more subways to come more frequently, and grow our lines, there's no reason why we can't have a metro city where, when I say I'm going to take the subway or the bus, it's like not even something that people are like, “Wow, that's amazing.”
Ed: Ridership has greatly suffered under the pandemic. So all of our citizens here have a responsibility to support public transportation, to get it back to where it was before, and, indeed, to grow beyond that.
You’re both environmentalists. Can you talk about the environmental benefits of taking public transportation instead of driving?
Ed: It's a very clean way to get around. It's a great equalizer, public transportation. In New York, everybody rides [on] the subway. I'd like to see that happen more here.
Hayden: [There are] also more people on the bus or the subway, so you're getting a smaller portion of the carbon footprint that is used by the bus or subway.
Over the years, has anyone asked you why you're dressed in glam on transit to the Oscars?
Ed: We’ve gotten recognized by some very nice people.
Hayden: People never directly ask why, but you can see people looking at you, [wondering,] “What are you doing? Where are you going?”
Ed: The subway people are like, “What?” It doesn't quite make sense for them. They’re looking for the cameras, and there are none.
What are some things people should be cognizant of when taking public transportation?
Hayden: I was taking it for a week as a woman. Walking alone anywhere as a woman is a certain amount of unsafe, so I guess being vigilant. Metro has an incident report app where you can get directly to Metro security. I have it on my phone, and I actually never used it. But it was a great safety net to feel OK and know [I can] be in contact immediately with somebody in Metro security.
I have the Transit app on my phone, which is a separate Metro app. And it's usually right [about transit schedules], but you really have to leave a minute before they say to leave.
Is taking LA transit, especially to the Oscars, something you think you'll continue doing?
Ed: I've been riding public transportation since I was 4 or 5 years old, so I'm not going to stop now. I'm 73, and I’ll ride it until I’m — as I was at 4 or 5 — unable to negotiate.
Hayden: I'll be wheeling him up there.