On Sunday, South Sound cinephiles can watch the Academy Awards on television, or they can participate – without traveling.
The Olympia Film Society’s annual Oscar Party allows anyone to make like an Oscar attendee – or even a winner. (The society borrows a genuine Oscar statuette and invites partygoers to have their photograph taken with it.)
The party includes a chance to guess winners in the major categories, a trivia contest, appetizers by Le Voyeur, and a bar in the mezzanine.
As any starlet or gossip columnist might tell you, the Academy Awards are all about fashion, and the OFS Oscar Party has its own version of this tradition. Partygoers are invited to arrive starting at 4 p.m. and walk the red carpet in front of the theater. They’ll be interviewed on camera, and the action will be shown live in the theater. So get there early if you want to see the action — and not too early if you want to be seen.
“I love what people have worn,” said Emmie Forman, who’ll be co-hosting the festivities at the Capitol Theater. (Ellen DeGeneres is hosting the Hollywood awards, which is broadcast on the big screen.) “Several years ago, there was a gentleman who came dressed as an Oscar with gold body paint and everything.
“There are people who dress in tuxes,” she said. “There are people who go to the wonderful vintage stores we have in town and get something antique. They break out the feather boas. The audience is really wonderful.”
“There are nudity laws, so you have to wear something,” said the other co-host, John Manini, “but people really do put the extra effort in.”
Forman said she tries to be practical when choosing her own outfit. “It’s definitely fancier than what I would normally wear, but still comfortable because I end up having to run up and down the aisles.”
Walking the red carpet takes a bit of preparation.
“They’ll ask silly stuff — ‘What designer are you wearing?’ — the same kind of questions they ask in the pre-show for the Oscars,” said Helen Thornton, the society’s film programmer.
“For the uninitiated, you might not be prepared for someone jumping up at you with a microphone and a camera,” Manini said. “ It can be vicious out on the red carpet.”
For those who’d rather be a member of the academy than a nominee — or those who are just hoping to win a prize — the film society offers a chance to pretend you get a voice on who wins a statuette.
Before the broadcast begins, partygoers can submit their guesses as to who’ll win in 10 major categories.
The person who gets all 10 correct wins a basket of prizes — and there’s usually only one person who manages it. Thornton can recall only one time when two people guessed correctly in every category.
“It did happen a few years ago,” she said. “We ended up splitting up the big prizes and pulling together some extra prizes.”
Forman suggested doing some research in advance to boost your chances of winning. “There are lots of sources online,” she said.
Guessing who’ll win is not easy these days, Forman said. “The people the academy has been offering memberships to are younger and also a much more diverse group than they used to be,” she said.
And even if you study the experts’ picks, surprises are part of the fun.
“I would never have thought that ‘Crash’ would have beaten ‘Brokeback Mountain’ as best picture a few years ago,” she said. “I didn’t expect Christoph Waltz to win best supporting actor last year. That was a complete surprise.
“There’s always going to be one.”