After the Super Bowl, Election Night and the latest Jersey Shore, the Academy Awards ceremony is among the most popular television events in America. Since most of us aren't invited to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences event at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday Feb 24, we're stuck with watching it at home on ABC.
In the Sonoma Valley, the Sonoma International Film Festival holds their Academy Awards Viewing Party at the Hanna Boys Center this year. Now this one's not cheap - $150 for a "unique premium lounge experience" with food, wine and a 25' by 20' screen. You read that right, that's 25 feet wide. There will be a quiet room, though, if you're actually interested in the witty repartee and acceptance speeches.
In Napa, you can join the Napa Valley Academy Awards® Telecast Viewing Party at the Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville. The $99 event raises funds to benefit the HIV/AIDS and cancer programs of the CARE Network at Queen of the Valley Medical Center, and includes tasty treats from area restaurants paired with current release and library wines from the Winery, silent auction items, balloon prizes, along with the glamor of the awards.
But there are options. In San Rafael, at the celebrated if long-winded Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center, they're once again hosting "The Oscar ® Experience," a party-live telecast of the ceremony, hosted by KQED's Michael Krasny. It claims to be the only Bay Area viewing sanctioned by the Academy, starts at 3:30 p.m., and tickets at $50 and up are available here.
In Larkspur, the Lark Theater is also holding a viewing party with the dress code of "glamour and glitz." There will be a Hollywood costume contest, live and silent auctions, appetizers, gourmet box dinners, desserts and wine. It is hosted by the Lark Theater Board of Directors.
In Novato, an Academy Awards watching party will help raise funds to renovate the downtown Novato Theater, which has been shuttered since 1991. The event starts at 6 p.m. at Trek Winery, a block away from the long-closed movie house. A $50 ticket includes gourmet appetizers and desserts from favorite Novato restaurants and award-winning Trek wines. The $100 dinner tickets are sold out.
For West Sonoma County residents, the Rialto Cinema in Sebastopol will host the 2013 Oscar ® Night in Sonoma County, "an evening of stargazing, suspense, prizes and lots of local color!" They suggest you come in your best red carpet garb or dressed as your favorite character from an Oscar ® nominated film. I wonder who's going to show up as Richard Parker? Start time is 4:30, tickets are $20, and it benefits Food for Thought, the Sonoma County AIDS food bank.
These are probably not the only local public options. In Healdsburg, for instance, Barndiva is throwing their annual Big Screen Oscar® Party, from 5:30 on at the trendy restaurant on Center St. It's free - on the assumption you buy an exotic cocktail or tasty dish - and you're encouraged to fill out the in-house Oscar ballot. If you get the most winners right at the end of the night, you win a $50 gift certificate. There may be similar events in other Patch towns.
If you do choose to stay home, whether through lassitude or thriftiness, consider the Oscar® Drinking Game, as suggested by Huffington Post. It's divided into two sections, On the Red Carpet and During the Ceremony, with a wide choice of triggers you can choose from to take a shot of your favorite inebriant.
For instance, on the Red Carpet, you could take a drink every time a celebrity evades a question, or says they are "so excited to be here," or wears a hideous dress, among other choices.
During the ceremony, you might take a drink every time someone acknowledges Meryl Streep (who is not even nominated this year), or when someone cries, the band tries to cut off someone's speech, or when a joke by host Seth MacFarlane falls flat. (Another suggestion: take a drink every time someone says ®. You'll need it.)
It is recommended, however, you limit yourself on the triggers, since any number of them are likely to lead to a dangerous state of intoxication. Even Huffpo says, "The Huffington Post does not condone binge drinking. Please drink responsibly."