Golden. Call me Oscar.


I can not deny it, I am an Oscar junky. I have watched them every year, since I was a young kid. Never miss them, even if I’m out of the country and have to record them. I record them every year anyway, and watch them (alone) the next day… to take it all in fully.  Frankly, since I’m cleaning out my closet here: I’m not just an Oscar Junky; I’m a movie junky… a Hollywood junky…tinsel town whore…gold digger… Oscar wannabe…movie star gazer…I love it all!  And last night, was the annual celebration of all that makes me tingle, from tip to toe.

<– Names blurred, to protect the crazy.

From a young age I was smitten with films. I loved the old black and white classics and was in love with Carey Grant, Steve McQueen, Gregory Peck, Gene Kelley long before I fell for Johnny Depp, Robert Downey, Jr, Gabriel Garcia Bernal, or … hell, that list is long.  Color definitely upped the ante on crush material. I watched Singing in the Rain over and over (as have my kids), Wizard of Oz, To Kill a Mockingbird, True Grit (the original)… The list is endless, because we were partially raised by our TV and I was stuck on all the old classics. My brother and I knew every single Bob Hope and Bing Crosby Road movie by heart!  And I have remained a dedicated lover of film through out the years. Watching the montage of stars expressing what they love about movies, last night, I could relate to each and every soundbite. I couldn’t commit to a single genre; I love most of them equally. I admit that I am not a horror/slasher fan as they scare the begeesus out of me. I’m pretty sure that seeing the original: Halloween, my freshman year of high school, ruined them all for me forever, and left me sure that a masked slasher is always possible.  But that in itself is as tribute: movies move me. They convince me of magical things that I’d never believe otherwise. The rest of the movie world:  the dramas, comedies, romantic comedies, classics, fantasy, sci-fi, action, they all wrap me in their magic. I love being in a theater, lights dimmed and popcorn in hand… with butter.

While I’m purging:  I hereby admit that I’m foolishly fascinated by the movie stars that make those films. I read People. I do. It’s my guilty pleasure. I know who’s seeing who; who’s preggers, who’s filming what with who and whether they’ve been spotted out together:  though none of it matters diddly squat in my day to day life. Don’t judge me: I also compost, recycle or re-use more than most people I know. I read a lot too. Really. I am not the sum of my Hollywood fantasies. But, that said, I love the Oscars… and I mentally prepare for them all year. Seriously. In June, I am already wondering if a good film I saw will qualify. I start thinking about the actual event, much more actively,each December, just as I’m thrust into Hanukkah and Christmas preparation… In the back of my mind, I’m thinking:  the nominations will be out in a few weeks; I have to start planning. Planning for my annual Oscar party. Yep, all that fascination and obsession has to be funneled somewhere, and it’s funneled each year into my seriously obsessive Oscar party.

I may be a fly by the seat of my pants gal for many things, but when it comes to Oscar, I train; I work out.  I consciously try to see the movies all year long. I think about which ones might be nominated, but I see as many movies as I can because I love to… And, I want to be in ship shape condition for The Big Night.  We plan our vacations around this event, and have even flown home a day early, so I can prepare, when an Oscars fell too close to mid-winter break. (We didn’t need another day of skiing; but I did need more time to cook!)

By January, when the nominations come out, I begin working on my invitations. Each year the invite is written in rhyme, using the title of each nominated film in a sentence. I can tell you that Seabiscuit, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Letters from Iwo Jima are just a few of the films, in recent years, that have made my head spin!  Try and work any one of those into a clever sentence that provides party information and doesn’t sound too forced.  Some films have presented me with opportunities to really play with words… in 2001, Gladiator was nominated. The lines read:  So however you dress, be here early not later, and while he’s not up for an Oscar Hannibal’s GladiatorMay be cheesy, but getting all those movies in, and rhyming, takes some cheese.  Other film titles work perfectly:  (2011) Please find a sitter, so The Kids are Alright, While we do love your children, not on this night.  Gets the point out: no kids, but fits pretty effortlessly in a sentence. Adding to the stress, for years there were only five films to work in, now there are 9-10!  This gets harder each year, and I feel more and more like a twisted Dr. Seuss… which is no short order. That’s a lot of titles to work in, and still keep the invite short and snappy.

<– (Middle Man bought me my beloved Onion goggles. No tears shed, over days of prepping. No making myself look good here, either!)

While I’m thinking in rhyme, I also begin thinking in food. One dish for each nominated movie… That somehow ties into the film visually or meaningfully:  black and white (visual) cookies for The Artist, mini meat loaves for The Tree of Life, because that is what the 50s era mother served a lot. Granted, much of this is lost on many guests, because most have not seen all (or even most) of the films. I don’t expect my friends to be as ridiculous obsessive neurotic detail oriented as me, regarding Hollywood and our big night. However, I put a lot of time into figuring out recipes that I can make as easily as possible, that will make a satisfying finger food meal, and that fit with the nominated films. I cook for days, and then the night before and day of, shift into psycho mode, and really drive everyone around me nuts. I have hired two high school age girls each year to serve, clean up and be my faeries, and that works out pretty well. I might be going out on a limb, but I think each of them has had fun, over the years (they have to dress too) as I usually get notes from many of them around Oscars, asking me how it’s going.  One of my current darlings actually came back from college this year to help, for the third year in a row. I hope to hold on to her for a few more years!  Denmark scored the other slot, but I doubt she’ll be back for 2013, as much as we wish.  (Below: 5 of the 9 dishes)

    

This year was our 16th party, and without a doubt the folks we know here are the most creative and fun loving. When we lived in Michigan, people dressed up, but it was much more sedate. Here, some of my friends start costume planning earlier than me!  The invite is clear about dress, and most really make an effort. I simply ask that they put on a costume, or dress up in formal wear. Yes, that is the key to the party, as a guest: what you wear. The choices are broad:  any celebrity, character, from film or tv actually, movie centered ideas (someone once came as the Fandango icon, and last year, a guest donned a blue plastic wig and came as the Facebook profile- for Social Network) or wear a tux and gown. I have been known to make someone sweat, when they disregard this request and show up in local dress: jeans and flannel.  It usually doesn’t happen again. Over the years, Smart Guy and I have been everything from Marie Antoinette and Louis XIV, Max and a Wild Thing, to Smart Guy as Michael Phelps with a bong and “no photos please” taped to his back. Borrowing from the celebrity world offers some funny moments, and that was one of them. He refused to wear a speedo, but the swim cap was good for some laughs.  I’ve pulled off  Dorothy, Queen Amidalla (Star Wars) and Elizabeth I, to name a few.         (Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette) —>

<– (Me as Dorothy and Mrs. Lovett from Sweeney Todd)        We probably entertain more than many of our friends, and less than a few of them. Despite the crazies I fall into each time I’m planning something, I love the fun of friends around and doing something different. How often, as adults do we get to dress up to watch tv, drink champagne and be silly?  Because, each year there is lots of silly. Lots of laughing and letting down of hair, real or fake.  It’s not that formal where you dress up and then have to hold it together all night.  The Oscar party is meant for pulling down facades and just being playful. I love that. All the work and prep is worth the outcome, year after year. Our friends know we want them to have fun, so they work to put together cool outfits and they show up. You can only get so many seats around our family room, but it’s an opportunity to hang with our close friends and see some of the friends we don’t spend enough time with throughout the year. Wine, dine and shine.  (You can’t get much more silly than Max from Where the Wild Things Are and Smart Guy in a giant chicken suit, made to look like a movie Wild Thing–>)

Depending on the year, you can pretty much predict what you’ll see. I could have made a fortune on betting this year, that there would be lots of people in 20s garb (The Artist and Midnight in Paris) or in Hawaiian shirts… a fortune. Any year that a new Pirates of the Caribbean film comes out, there will be lots of wenches and pirates. One of my favorite costumes of all time was when a friend (who is not a showboat, this is a quiet guy folks-except at the Oscars!) wrapped sheets and robes around himself á la Lawerence of Arabia (one of the greatest films ever made!), and then (this is amazing) he secured a small tape recorder under his robes and played the overture/theme to the movie, as he moved around the room. It was brilliant!  Another year, he was the perfect Keith Richards Capt. Teague (Jack Sparrow’s father, played by Keith Richards, in the Pirates of the Caribbean 3, for those of you who miss this stuff). We’ve had grand Gandalfs, wonderful Hobbits (complete with furry toes).  I still regret that the one year I canceled (2010), to travel to Denmark to a wedding, was the year Avatar came out. I knew 3 people who already had costumes when I canceled and keep hoping there’s a sequel, so that I can see those blue babies. This year we had fabulous Hugo costumes and lot of wonderful Artists and Gatsbyesque (Midnight in Paris) outfits, myself included. Smart Guy was smart and bought the predicted Hawaiian shirt. Easy to wear all night; no sacrifice for style.  Let me tell you:  Elizabeth I and Marie Antoinette were two of the hardest nights of my life… clothing wise. Great to look at, but impossible to sit or move in, without sweeping food off tables and body parts being pinched. (Shy? I think not, on Oscars night) —>

Each year I try to get ahead of the game, but it’s always a mad scramble despite my best efforts. Letting some of the details go is getting easier. This year, when we realized all the timing was off, I canceled The Help southern biscuits, and flowed. We already had the Eat My Shit pies that Smart Guy made. He actually got the recipe from the movie (pies cooling–>) and made them from scratch. With whipped cream, no one cared what was in that pie… and unless you saw that movie, or read the book, you weren’t asking. We’ve added a fund raiser, as it seemed like having so many people here to enjoy pomp and circumstance could be made even more golden by helping others.  This year, we raised $600 for The Huntinton’s Disease Society of America (HDSA), in honor of my mother, who died in December of the illness, and my other family members living with it, or already gone (What Doesn’t Kill You…).  This year my aunt and uncle (who I have told you areTHE greatest) actually sent a surprise package that we couldn’t open until a commercial break. I had a speech to read from them, and then Smart Guy had an envelope to open and read. It was a “Best Oscar’s Party Oscar!”  (See picture at the top) It was the most wonderful surprise and offered me the chance to make that Oscar speech, I’ve been planning in my head, for years! Of course, I ran over and the crowd hummed me off like any star that runs over.

This year we added a costume contest and voting contest (who got the most Oscars right, ballots sent early), and offered prizes for each. I want to keep it fresh, keep it fun. One year I’ll finally find a real red carpet; I’ve searched, but it’s not as easy as you’d think. For now, we make do. One year, I’d love to cater the event and be in the audience in Tinsel Town, while my friends cheer from my home. I’ll be a seat filler, an Oscar wannabe who finally gets in the room… like that guy they showed last night, who’s been filling seats for 59 years. There he was sitting right next to George Clooney, while some other big star  prepared to present. I want to be that guy!  That would be a movie dream come true. Until then, this is my own private Hollywood fun. My golden night.

Stop! Really. Read this.  Please note:  Check out the Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/TalesFromTheMotherland.  If you enjoy these posts hit “Like” and make me smile. It also helps my blog grow and that is the point. Go back and hit Like.  Thanks. Then, be a good dooby and “Share” them with others; it’s nice to share. Better yet Like them; Share them and then do something nice for yourself: “Subscribe.” You won’t get any spam, you can sign up with an anonymous name (I won’t know who you are, unless you tell me),  and you will get an email each time I post.  Think of it as a free gift to yourself.  You know you want to. Go ahead, make my day (sorry about the gun, but this is serious business).

About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
This entry was posted in Blog, Honest observations on many things, Humor, Life, Musings, My world, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Golden. Call me Oscar.

  1. Oh no. I missed it this year. Maybe next year in Bellingham. It looked like a wonderful party as usual.

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    • One of these years, you’ll suddenly be a very old man and you’ll find yourself saying: “What have I really done with my life? I never went to Dawn’s Oscar party… oh, what have I done?!” Or, you’ll just writing cute notes to me each year, and sleep like a baby. 😉

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  2. Maryanne says:

    Great memories and pictures!!

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  3. I am an Oscar junkie, too. I love watching them! I adore the awkward acceptance speeches, the random camera pans and the celebrity sightings. Unfortunately, I didn’t do my homework this year by seeing The Artist, so I have to see it now!

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    • The Artist was such a wonderful surprise! I totally didn’t want to see it, then loved it! I may go again, to take the kids… it was that good. Thanks for reading the post and sharing your Oscar love. I can’t really trust people who don’t appreciate the Oscars! 😉

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  4. I absolutely love your passion! What fun…an Oscar party with rhymed invitations and costumes and special foods and contests!!!!

    Movies have a special place in my heart as well…we love watching the old classics and discovering some unknown (to us) film that turns out to be fantastic!

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    • Exactly! There are so many reasons that movies hold magic for me! Some of the real gems just take you to an entirely different world, that makes you smile from ear to ear! As for passion… it has it’s pros and cons, if you ask those who know me! 😉 But I’m rarely accused of not having enough.

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  5. Harper Faulkner says:

    If you don’t mind sharing the fun, next year have a contest on your blog to write the poetry for the pictures.

    Also, sources of red carpet are church attics and funeral homes. Many of these institutions have old carpet tucked away and are willing to give it to you for free. It may take some cleaning. About 20 years ago, red carpet was big in both establishments, but has now gone out of fashion.

    I’m sure you’ve already thought of this, but have a old-time photographer, old camera and all, with a press card sticking from his fedora taking pictures as the people arrive. Also, have a well-dressed lady or man asking each guest who they are wearing (even if it’s a costume).

    Finally, have a wardrobe malfunction somewhere during the evening. You’ll have to be creative to “fake it,” but I bet you can pull it off.

    HF

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    • Great ideas HF! Maybe I’ll invite you and your fabulous wife, and you can be our paparazzi! I can almost see it 😉 Love the tip on red carpet and will actually check that one out. I have asked a lot of places but had not thought of either of those. As for other ideas…each year, the Oscars come up right in the midsts of post holiday hustle, and mid-winter school break… making me a nut case each time. One day, I’ll get it really right! Thanks for reading and posting; always a pleasure!

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      • Harper Faulkner says:

        My wife would enjoy it greatly. She loves to do dress up and costumes! Our last cruise was over Halloween and we dressed up as spider man and spider woman. She made both costumes! We almost won the contest! Personally, I think your husband has the right idea. I love wearing those Hawaiian shirts. HF

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        • We’re on the west coast… if you are so inclined next year, you are formally invited HF. You have a year to start planning! 😉 We’ll have to invite Mikalee too, since she put us together, with her Dick awards. We’ll drag her snarky little self along. THAT would be a party!

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          • Harper Faulkner says:

            Well thank you very much. We get to Washington every now and then, but rarely anywhere else on the coast. As for having Mikalee, are you sure your party is ready for that? I’m thinking she could come as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo! HF

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  6. Principesa says:

    Apparently Rabbi Shmuel called you on the big night. As I tried to explain to him the shpeil, he had a hard time trying to understand the concept of “no kids invited”.

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  7. sweetmother says:

    hey there oscar-lover, i so relate! they are my superbowl! however, i don’t know if i can get myself to watch the artist – silent for 2 hrs? i don’t know. it might make me feel like i’ve accidentally gone on a meditation retreat. anyway, i nominated you for the ‘awesome blog content’ award. deets are over on my site – the blog awards page. it’s yours if you want it, no harm, no foul if you don’t. – mother

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    • Mother, go see The Artist, just do it! You will be amazingly surprised; I was. The silence is not what you imagine, it’s part of the magic. And the performances and fun is amazing! I admit that it goes a wee bit long, but overall, amazing film!

      As for the Awesome Blog Content Award…THANK YOU! I am always honored to be acknowledged by the super cool, dynamic blog world that I’ve landed in. While these awards are always a bit like a pyramid thing, I love that I find new blogs, new readers find me, and that I feel appreciated by people (you) that I really admire. Thanks Mom! 😉

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