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Monday, March 3, 2014

Last Night's New York City Oscar Bash

Friends, food and a bit of the bubbly were on hand as we celebrated last night's Academy Awards, gathering together to watch the event on tv from NYC, and to be a chorus of commentary and wise-assed New Yawk comebacks.

My Friend, Kevin, & I prepare for Oscars guests
We kicked off with the pre-event red carpet, mostly a tasteful affair this year. Cate Blanchette appeared in beaded beige by Armani in which she would later accept her Oscar; Jennifer Lawrence ~ who really knows how to strike a pose ~ sported a strapless red gown with peplums; Amy Adams wore a sensible dress as you might expect from her. It was also strapless; a Gucci number in navy with white trim on top. Lupita Nyong'o was stunning in a plunging Prada powder blue frock that she was still squeezed into when she picked up her Best Supporting Actress Award. And Dallas Buyers Club's Matthew McCognaughey and Jared Leto both showed up in white tuxedos; they won Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor Awards, respectively. I've consequently sobered up to the logical conclusion that the better you dress on the red carpet, the more likely you are to win an award!

If, perhaps, the event was a tad too reserved this year in its overall carefully tasteful tone (a guest who is an Episcopalian priest, even thought so), host Ellen DiGeneres nonetheless created some great comic moments. Like having pizza delivered to the Dolby Theater in Hollywood where the event took place, or appearing in drag as good witch Glinda to honor The Wizard of Oz.

Ellen, who looked great when she emerged in a black tux ensemble, got in a few good zingers,  too. “Possibility number one: Twelve Years a Slave wins Best Picture. Possibility number two: You’re all racists. And now welcome our first white presenter, Anne Hathaway!”  Ellen said to Liza Minnelli, seated in the audience: “One of the best Liza Minnelli impersonators that I have seen in my entire life. Good job, sir!” Liza was apparently not amused.

I was thrilled when lifelong idol, Darlene Love, looking fab, got onstage with her 20 Feet from Stardom pals (Best Full-Length Documentary) and belted out "His Eye Is on the Sparrow." In fact, I spontaneously combusted & had to be doused in champagne.

We had ballots just for fun. Money wasn't involved. I remember being a guest at a large Manhattan Oscars night bash once on the upper eastside. It was $10 to cast your votes. I won! I've never seen people turn so nasty in so short a time as I counted my money out loud and laughed and laughed, even as I was shown the door. Anyhow, last night, my votes were strictly hit and miss. (While I was sorry Bruce Dern didn't win Best Actor, it was a pleasure to see him attending with actress daughter Laura. (Hollywood royalty.))

Sally Field looked great and I liked her, I really liked her. Bette Midler sang "Wind Beneath My Wings" in the tribute to those in the motion picture industry who died this year. She looked appropriately funereal in some awful, mottled grey and maroon outfit. Our gathering gasped, shed little tears and moaned ~ not because of Bette's freaking frock but because of all the departed icons (Shirley Temple, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Eileen Brennan, Annette, James Gandolfini, Eleanror Parker, Julie Harris, Esther Williams, Juanita Moore, Peter O'Toole, et al. My God, might have been better to mention who didn't die over the year.). But what does Wind Beneath My Wings have to do with the obit segment? It was at that moment I released the wind beneath my buttocks as something from our Awards Night smorgasbord gave me gas.

Bette was in great voice. I really liked Pink's rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," sanctioned by Judy's kids (Liza, Lorna and Joey all seated (together!) in the audience). And why weren't they onstage for the Oz tribute? U2 performed, Pharrell Williams did a lively rendition of "Happy" from Despicable Me 2.

Ellen's world-famous selfie from last night
Whoopi Goldberg introduced the Oz segment. I mean, c'mon! Whoopi, Bette, Liza, Lorna, Joey, Ellen, Darlene Love, Kim Novak; gowns and hair and divas, oh my! This was the gayest Academy Awards ever. As usual, today's reviews tended to go negative, "worst ceremony ever," yada yada yada, just like every year in the past. They can't all be the worst! "Too long," "too over-the-top," "too restrained," etc. Fuggedabout it, we say from NYC.

Our party ended with a birthday tribute to a guest featuring a cake from a Bay Ridge Italian bakery and a box of delicious cookies (thanks to guest, actress Cj Gelfand) from Veniero's in the East Village. We had the best Oscars party, sweeties. It was our own award.

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