Academy Awards Sonoma-style
Where to watch Hollywood’s big event
Las Vegas bookies pegged “Wreck-It Ralph” as the frontrunner in the Best Animated Feature category, of which Valley resident John Lasseter was executive producer.
Statistics are in John Lasseter’s favor heading into the 85th annual Academy Awards – he was the executive producer on two of the five films nominated for Best Animated Feature – “Brave” and “Wreck-It Ralph.” History is also on his side since Disney/Pixar, of which he serves as the chief creative officer, has dominated the category with six wins in the past 10 years.
Bookies in Las Vegas are hedging their bets ever so slightly towards “Wreck-It Ralph,” with wining odds of 5/4 for the movie about a video game thug attempting to change his villainous identity. “Brave,” featuring Pixar’s first female protagonist, is right on its heels with odds of 6/5, according to easyodds.com. Either way, Lasseter’s fans in Sonoma will be watching Hollywood’s celebrity-studded extravaganza at an assortment of viewing parties planned across the Valley. They range from upscale to casual, with price points to match.
Want the LA starlet treatment a little closer to home? The Sonoma International Film Society’s annual awards screening event at Hanna Boys Center is the party for you. Sonoma’s “paparazzi” (comprised of film student volunteers from Sonoma Valley High School) will by snapping photos and asking the penetrating red carpet questions like, “Who are you wearing?” After being greeted with a glass of bubbly, attendees can taste passed appetizers, such as smoked salmon pinwheels, or sample from the variety of food stations that include fresh grilled pizzas, pastas, salads and desserts. The main attraction will be projected on a massive 22-foot-by-23-foot screen outfitted with surround sound, while a “Quiet Room” will be open for those who don’t want their viewing interrupted with party chatter. Guests are invited to dress in formal Oscar attire, or whatever the laid-back Sonoma equivalent might include. Tickets are $150 and only a limited supply remain at sonomafilmfest.org or by calling 933-2600.
Guests are also encouraged to dress up to watch the big show at Murphy’s Irish Pub, although the styles found there are a bit more tongue-in-cheek – tiara, anyone? The awards show will be broadcast on the pub’s 100-inch high definition television, and a three-course dinner, along with a cocktail, is included with the $30 ticket. Murphy’s Hollywood menu includes salad with picked red onion, garlic croutons and Vella’s dry jack cheese; followed by a choice of pasta with spinach and chickpeas in a spicy tomato broth, shrimp and grits with Irish bacon gravy, or braised short ribs with sweet potatoes and creamed spinach; with a dessert of individual key lime pies.
Once again, Murphy’s is hosting its ballot competition. Any guests who want to enter should fill out a ballot ahead of time and bring it to the pub on Sunday along with a bottle of wine (valued at more than $15). Whichever guest gets the most correct answers will take home the entire assortment of wines. For tickets and a link to the online Oscar ballot, visit brownpapertickets.com/event/315941.
An even more informal Oscar viewing party is planned at the Annex Wine Bar, where host Jason Ghiselin will set up a PA system to allow guests to comment on anything, from what the celebrities are wearing to who was robbed for the gold statue, during the commercial breaks.
“It’s very much an impromptu, informal thing. Everyone is welcome, but ‘serious movie buffs’ who must hear every word of every presentation and acceptance speech should probably pick another event,” he said.
Margie Brooks, owner of the Annex at 865 W. Napa St., will be making up specialty bites such as oysters and flavored popcorns for the evening, available for purchase alongside her menu of local wines. Outside the cost of refreshments, there is no charge to attend.
For those looking to watch Hollywood’s biggest night from the comfort of their own home, the awards show will be broadcast on ABC beginning at 4 p.m.