A guide to celebrating Hollywood's Biggest Night! (In Toronto.)
If there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s that the Oscars are important. Who could forget seeing such timeless classics as The Broadway Melody, Cimarron, Cavalcade, Going My Way, Gentleman’s Agreement, The Greatest Show on Earth, Around the World in 80 Days, Crash, and The Artist join the Oscar pantheon, knowing that history was being made? But while we all want to see the stars come out to shine at the 87th Academy Awards, do any of us really want to do it alone, in our tiny apartments, with no one around to hear our jokes?
Fortunately, Toronto offers no end of opportunities to enjoy the Oscars in the company of fellow film freaks. So get ready to pull out your tux, spray on a tan, and hit the town to celebrate Hollywood’s Biggest Night in style!
The Drake Hotel
It’s February 22. In Hollywood, your favourite stars are hitting the Oscar red carpet. In Toronto, looking sharp and sexy in your tuxedo/gown, you’re ready for a little red carpet strutting of your own. You begin your night at the venerable Toronto institution’s Oscar festivities, hosted by Christine Aziz and TIFF programmer Magali Simard. There are prizes to be won and free popcorn to be eaten.
(1150 Queen Street West, 6 p.m., free, or 416-531-5042 x1 to book a fixed spot in advance for $32)
Toronto Monologue Slam & Oscar Party at Lula Lounge
We all know that the Oscars are about the art. So while the Patricia Arquettes and Reese Witherspoons of the world are waiting for Oscar’s judgment, you’re at Lula Lounge, watching talented actors act their hearts out for a prize nearly as prestigious (Toronto Monologue Slam Champ). An Oscar party will follow, but…
(1585 Dundas Street West 6:30 p.m., $10-15)
ReelHeart Oscar Party at the Royal
…the night is still young, and so are you. JK Simmons’ Best Supporting Actor win has you in high spirits. In your eye-catching attire, you’re surely a candidate for one of the prizes on offer (including Best Dressed Guy/Gal, Best Hollywood Look-a-Like, Best Acceptance Speech by an Audience Member, and Best Group Selfie). You are alone, but you’ve still purchased the “Oscar Night Out for Two” option for the guaranteed four alcoholic drinks.
($20-40; ticket sales close at 3 p.m. Feb 22)
The “Best Dressed Guy” Award did surprisingly little to boost your fragile self-esteem, and the four drinks were arguably too many. Sensing you’re no longer welcome at the Royal, you head back west to the Revue, where you struggle through bingo and trivia. You have a few more drinks, and pretty soon are in no condition to win the “Best Dressed” award. This, plus your failure to win the Champion Membership raffle, will lead to an ugly confrontation that hastens your departure.
(400 Roncesvalles Avenue, 7 p.m., free)
Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Still woozy from the drinks, and too late to purchase one of the same-day tickets that went on sale at 1 p.m., you can’t get into the Bloor Cinema. Too bad. Had you been admitted, you’d have seen the Oscars hosted by the Templeton Philharmonic (Gwynne Phillips & Briana Templeton) and Bloor programmer Robin Smith, and perhaps won another trivia contest.
(506 Bloor Street West, 6:30 p.m., sold out, with limited same-day tickets Feb. 22 at 1 p.m.)
3030 BYOPool Oscar Party
You decide to change tactics and hit club 3030, which promises “Big Screen, Full Sound, Good Beer, Awesome Snack.” You quickly instigate a fistfight over whether or not Julianne Moore deserved to win Best Actress, and are asked to leave.
(3030 Dundas Street West, 7 p.m.)
Innis Town Hall
No matter how many drinks you consume, the pain never dulls. You’ve also taken Eddie Redmayne’s victory over Michael Keaton very badly. Your tuxedo is wrinkled from the sweat and the shame. You move on to the U of T campus and cool off at the Cinema Studies Student Union’s bash. If it’s not too late, hand in your Oscar ballot for a chance to win prizes from Hot Docs, Reel Asian, Queen Video, Hart House, and Cineplex.
(2 Sussex Avenue, 7 p.m., free)
You’ve passed out at Innis, and upon waking realize everyone there is a full decade younger than you. You stumble outside, and wander in the cold until you reach the Carlton Cinema, where you’ve arrived just in time to see Birdman win. You try to find a perishable food item with which to gain free entrance, but it’s too late.
(20 Carlton Street, 6:30 p.m., free with canned food item)
It’s 2 a.m. by the time you make it to the Beaches, but you won’t take no for an answer. You keep banging on the doors of the Fox Theatre, pleading to let you in. It dawns on you that no one is there anymore. A few hours later, you’re back home, hoping your Oscar Fever isn’t too intense in the morning.
(2236 Queen Street East, 7 p.m, free with suggested donation to the AIDS Committee of Toronto)