I don't know who has it worse - the 6,000-and-change folks charged with selecting a single Best Picture from nine contenders at this year's Academy Awards, or you, charged with selecting a single decent Oscar party to attend. Or maybe, like Rhett Butler, you simply don't give a damn about this last hurrah of awards season, in which case I suggest perusing another article in this fine rag.
But if your eyes are still grazing these words, let's hop over to a few local venues dishing out food, fun and moment-to-moment coverage of the big show Sunday, Feb. 26.
Oscar has quite the history (and for 84 he looks pretty good). So does The Capitol Theater. This year the Olympia Film Society continues its tradition of mixing cinema with live spectacle in a big way. For starters, guests at this year's Capitol Theater Oscar Party will walk down a real red carpet to the theater while two fashion shops, Yolli Shoes and Hot Toddy, pose as paparazzo. Your runway repartee then appears directly on the Capitol's gargantuan screen for all to see.
To entertain the crowd, OFS has brought in folks who know their way around a microphone - Mona Von Horne (aka The Belle of Berlin) and Josh Anderson. Last year the latter received his own local version of an Oscar, snagging Best Actor in the Volcano's Best of Olympia Readers' Picks. For this year's Oscar party, Anderson disappears under the beard and cheap suit of his popular persona, Saul Tannenbaum.
Besides performances, the Capitol Theater Oscar party packs prizes and the chance to snap your photo with a real Oscar statuette. Post THAT on Facebook, then sit back and watch the "Likes" roll in.
Best Picture Prediction: "The Artist is a completely fresh approach to film, in this age of 3D & CGI excess. ... If it doesn't (win) it will be a crime." - Helen Thornton, OFS Film Programming Director
We knew indie hotspot The Grand Cinema wouldn't leave Tacoma without an Academy Awards shindig of its own. In recent years, staff has opted for the nearby Theatre on the Square's more intimate space to hold its annual event, and this year's Grand Oscar part is no different. The Grand has plenty to entice guests, including a $100 award for the most creative costume, a raffle and silent auction. But best of all, the "Golden Ticket" (a year's supply of free movies at The Grand) awaits the person who correctly guesses the most Oscar winners.
Best Picture Prediction: "I like the uniqueness of The Artist." - Rachel Marecle, The Grand's Director of Community Development
Known mainly as a venue for weddings, Puyallup's historic Liberty Theater plans to reinvigorate its Oscar bash this month after a several-year absence. Think elegance as you dress to impress and sit down to a full pasta buffet. Like The Grand, the Liberty Theater will also recognize snazziest attire and highest number of correct Oscar predictions.
On bringing back more movie-themed events like this one, Liberty room designer Peggy Adams-Heaton says, "It's a new beginning at The Liberty ... and definitely the Oscars are right up (our) alley for a beautiful, old theater like this, and we'd like to start doing more of this type of thing - bringing the theater back to its roots."
Her Best Picture hopeful, The Artist (why haven't I seen this yet??), couldn't be farther from the look of 21st-century cinema (black-and-white, silent, even shot in an outdated aspect ratio). Yet it speaks to Adams-Heaton as a hard-working member of an evolving local business: "(The film) teaches us to adapt, or be left behind," she says.
Even if this much-loved movie gets no love from the Academy, you can at least bet on a fun night at any of these parties.
The Capitol Theater, Olympia Film Society 84th Annual Academy Awards Party, Feb. 26, 4:30 p.m. red carpet walk, 5 p.m. show starts, $8, 206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia, 360.754.6670
Theatre on the Square, Grand Cinema's Academy Awards Party, Sunday, Feb. 26, doors at 4 p.m., red carpet coverage begins at 5 p.m., $20 for Grand Cinema members, $25 for non-members, dinner and dessert included in ticket price, 915 Broadway, Tacoma 253.572.6062, grandcinema.com
The Liberty Theater, A Night at the Oscars Party, Sunday, Feb. 26, prices TBA, 116 W. Main St., Puyallup, 253.864.8116, thelibertytheater.com