Oscar night parties in the South Sound

Your big shot at an Oscar

By Christian Carvajal on February 16, 2015

Forgive me if I've mentioned this, oh, about a squillion times, but I used to live and work in Hollywood. Most movie and TV studios, in fact, moved to quieter parts of Los Angeles and beyond years ago, but the tiny, tourist-packed neighborhood of Hollywood remains a frequent shooting location and the ceremonial home of "the biz." It was only a matter of time until the Oscar ceremony relocated from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion downtown to the then-new Kodak Theatre at Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave. (It's the Dolby Theatre now, right next to the famous TCL Chinese Theater that used to be Mann's Chinese Theatre that used to be Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Try to keep up.) In theory, this sounds like a wonderful event for the community, a glamorous orgy of limos, red carpets and spotlights. In practice, it means a 48-hour security lockdown, when residents can't park their cars in their own garages without security passes and current utility bills.

Ergo, the closest I ever got to the Oscars was five city blocks ... until, that is, I moved to South Puget Sound. The Olympia Film Society stages a yearly Oscar party, complete with limos, a red carpet and actual Oscars. My wife and I were invited to host a few years ago, an opportunity we happily repeated the following year. I knew someday owning my own tux would come in handy! A friend told me buying a tux causes tuxedo-worthy events to occur, and he was right. We gussied up, had our pictures taken with a 13.5-inch-tall semblance of Academy librarian Margaret Herrick's Uncle Oscar (the trophy's official name is the "Academy Award of Merit"), and entertained the audience during commercials of the ABC broadcast. It's super fun. Hey, y'know how Oscar winners say, "It's heavier than it looks?" The statuette is 24-karat-gold-plated britannium, a composite similar to pewter; and, as you might remember from high school chemistry class, gold is heavy. An Oscar weighs eight and a half pounds. That's more than enough to snap an ingénue's slender wrist, which is why George Clooney often swoops in to help attractive young actresses down the stairs. Allegedly.

Anyway, they say it's an honor just to be invited to the party, and guess what? You are. Thanks to The Grand Cinema in Tacoma and Olympia Film Society in Olympia, you can not only stroll the red carpet in your Sunday finest, you might also win one of several fabulous prizes. Show up to Theatre on the Square in a movie costume (Death to Smoochy, anyone?), and you could snag 250 bucks. That'd buy a crap ton of popcorn! Another prize up for grabs is a "Golden Ticket" good for movie admission any time till the next Oscar ceremony. Both events feature great food and drinks, and remember, your odds of winning an Academy Award of your own this year are exactly as good as Jennifer Aniston's or Daniel Oyelowo's! You'll be in beautiful company, in more towns than one. Megastar selfie!

87TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS PARTIES, 5 p.m., Sun., Feb. 22, Theatre on the Square, 915 Broadway, Tacoma, $15-$90, 253.593.4474; Capitol Theater, 206 5th Ave. SE, Olympia, $7-$10, 360.754.6670


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