So where did you watch the Oscars? Most people watched the awards show from their couches, or perhaps attended small Oscar Party gatherings at a friends house. Even if you went to a larger event at a bar or a banquet facility, you should know that there was and is only one Oscar Party in Michigan sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It was Oscar Night America last night at the Southgate Digital Cinema 20 (in Southgate, MI of course).
So was it worth it? And should you plan on attending next year?
The answers to these questions are emphatically, yes!
This was the first Oscar Night America that I’ve attended, and was told that the event had been getting bigger and better each year. It was basically a private (open to the public but roped off from the general movie-goers) event held in the lobby of the massive Southgate Digital Cinema 20 lobby. Admission to the party was $25 per person in advance, or $30 at the door, and included all food and beverages.
Attendees were greeted and given Oscar programs, which included the names of the several sponsors of the event. There was a multitude of area restaurants and companies on hand with foods, drinks, and desserts of all kinds, free for all to enjoy (I didn’t get around to sample everything, but must say that the Caramel-Baked French Toast from the chef at Applewood Nursing Center was to die for). There was complimentary wine and champagne served as well.
This all was put on by and for the benefit of the Southgate Community Players, the Overture Society and Ballet Americana. I was impressed by the number of members from these organizations on staff and working hard. There seemed to always be someone available to point you in the right direction or provide help.
Although there was no dress code given, my fiance and I had dressed up in our formal wear to make it a real night out on the town. Upon first arriving, we were a bit disappointed that there was no red carpet, paparazzi, or fashion police there to greet us. When we noticed others wearing tuxedos and formal gowns though, we felt right at home.
A quick view of the crowd from the inside, and we spotted many attendees dressed up in character – from the silent-screen stars of The Artist, to Marilyn Monroe, to Melissa McCarthy’s Bridesmaids character. We later learned that there was a costume contest, something I plan on winning next year when I come as Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator character, urn in hand.
Once we worked our way around the crowded buffet areas, there was free popcorn and pop up for grabs on the way into their biggest stadium-style theater, where the Oscars would be broadcasted live. We quickly got our seats in the front row, wondering if we would miss the freedom our DVR would have given us had we stayed at home.
Simply put, to watch the Oscars on the big screen is a must for anybody who calls themselves a movie buff. The Oscars are larger than life, and it was stunning to watch it live in theater. You actually feel like you are in the Kodak Theater, or whatever it is being referred to these days. Hearing actual laughs and applause along with the broadcast made for a truly immersive experience.
That being said, it still was a modern-day movie-going experience, where people talk at the top of their lungs without care of disruption, and where people text and talk on their phones throughout the showing. It’s a growing concern of mine that in-theater etiquette is dying, and I wish that it was better enforced by the theater staff. Still, the theater surround-sound was just enough to drown out the sound of the cackling women seated behind us, allowing us to fully enjoy the show.
Commercial breaks were spent with the event organizers giving out several of the prizes and raffles that were available. Being Academy-sanctioned, there was an impressive selection of gift baskets and prizes that you could buy tickets for and try to win. There were signed movie posters (including a Daniel Radcliffe signed The Woman in Black poster), and several themed baskets such as a Star Wars basket (in futility, I dumped most of my tickets on this one). The staff worked quickly, and the absolute split-second that the Oscar telecast returned from commercial break, the sound was up and the lights were down, to ensure that not a moment of the show was missed.
At the end of the night as we shuffled to our car, we felt like we had just had an incredible night filled with the magic that only movies can provide. To dress up, attend, and experience Oscar Night America in Southgate, is the next best thing to being there live. Having watched the Oscars religiously since I can remember, I couldn’t believe that this was the first time I had attended.
It won’t be the last.
If there was a complaint at all, it was the large crowd of people forced into the sequestered area of the lobby and designated food/drink areas, a signal that indeed the party may be outgrowing its britches. That’s probably because as more and more people find out about this event, they will need to think about a bigger venue, or opening up the entire lobby area, to contain the throng of people who will want to be a part of this in the coming years.
So you’ve got 364 days to plan for it, but if you are a fan of the movies, you should mark down this Academy-sanctioned Oscar Night America as a must for next year. I for one will be there…I’ll be the guy dressed up like Sacha Baron Cohen.
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