For the past 7 years Gene Siskel Film Center hosted its Chicago’s only Academy-sanctioned Oscars party. Over 270 guests wearing their finest threads arrived to partake in a red carpet experience and watch the 86th Annual Academy Awards ceremony. This year’s event “Hollywood on State” raised more than $53,000 to support programming at the Center.
According to Gene Siskel Film Center Executive Director Jean de St Aubin, this festive event aimed to give attendees an opportunity to demonstrate their “signature styles.” He went on to say that Chicago is “a bustling Mecca for film production”, and is likewise “emerging as a fashion capital”, and that “this party gave Chicagoans the chance to be a part of Hollywood’s biggest night of the year while supporting the world-class programming here at the Gene Siskel Film Center.”
Event kicked off at 6pm with attendees walking the red carpet, posing for photos, bidding on a number of outstanding silent auction items such as Robert Downey Jr.’s autographed helmet from Iron Man, exclusive travel and hotel stays and dinners at some of the Chicago’s hottest places. There was also an opportunity to compete for prizes in the “Hollywood Notables” contest.
All throughout the venue friendly chatter was heard as guests were enjoying hors d’oeuvres donated by Pure Kitchen Catering; beverages included wine by The Naked Grape and Barefoot Bubbly; beer from Lakeshore Beverage and Stella Artois; cocktails from Baileys. The award telecast went live on high-definition screens in two state-of-the-art movie theaters. Ellen DeGeneres hosted the Hollywood show on ABC this year, and among other things, it will be memorable for many as a «highlight of the evening», the pizza guy that she brought on stage, to his own great surprise, who was giving away slices to all the notables present.
Towards the end of the show, Cate Blanchett, appearing in a beaded Giorgio Armani gown, received her winning Oscar for lead actress in Woody Allen’s «Blue Jasmine». Cate Blanchett used to work for a long time with an Australian theatre company from Sydney, before being cast in this movie. She has acknowledged the theatre as well as her colleagues there, before thanking Woody Allen for the role. This Oscar is not the first for her, as years ago, Blanchett won an Oscar for the supportive role in the movie «The Aviator». «Blue Jasmine», like many other Woody Allen’s films, explores a woman’s life and its inner movements. Blanchett’s heroine Jasmine is a wife of a handsome and wealthy businessman, whose life and career has unraveled as a result of his machinations. Jasmine goes through a state of denial, remaining on edge, combining what remained of her former confidence and defensive self-assuredness of a rich woman with the new-found human touch and vulnerability that keep the viewer on edge. As she descends deeper into her soul’s torment, we are drawn to the intimacy of a genuine connection.
After the ceremony has commenced, the Siskel Center guests continued to mingle, and were treated to desserts from Magnolia Bakery and Eli’s Cheesecake, and coffee from Bow Truss Coffee Roasters.
This year marks the first time that local Chicago filmmakers were recognized at the Oscars event. Honorees included Maria Finitzo, Stephen Cone, Ky Dickens, and Pamela Sherrod Anderson.
The Chicago event was hosted by the very engaging Amanda Puck and Rich Varnes, as they made their rounds in the Hollywood style, interviewing the guests. Hollywood on State co-chairs were Ellen Sandor and David Martin. Committee members were Kristin Anderson, Sam Saifer Berngard, Chuck Droege, David Hundley, and Chaga Walton. Another memorable Chicago’s Academy Awards Oscars party has left an indelible impression on all of its participants.
L Mogul, S Telis for Kontinent Media
Photos by Larisa Pevtsova
Hollywood on State was supported by sponsors SPLASH: A Chicago Sun-Times Publication, the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Foundation, Sony, Block Thirty Seven, vendors listed above many more.
ABOUT THE GENE SISKEL FILM CENTER
For over 40 years, the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has presented the best in independent and international cinema, film festivals, cutting edge programs, premieres, retrospectives and classic films. Recognized internationally for its original film programming, the Film Center annually attracts a diverse audience of more than 80,000. For more information, please visit www.siskelfilmcenter.org.
ABOUT THE SCHOOL OF THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO
Educating artists, designers, and scholars since 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is one of the most distinguished training grounds in these disciplines. As one of the two bodies that make up the Art Institute of Chicago, SAIC’s unparalleled transdisciplinary approach to art and design education is seen in the eighteen areas of study it offers through a range of graduate, undergraduate and post-baccalaureate programs. Located in the heart of Chicago, the School promotes contemporary discourse about art and design through venues such as the Gene Siskel Film Center, Video Data Bank, Betty Rymer Gallery, Gallery 2, the Division of Continuing Studies and in conjunction with the Poetry Center. Notable alumni of the School include Paul Chan, Richard Hunt, Halston, Joan Mitchell, Elizabeth Murray, LeRoy Neiman, Georgia O’Keeffe, Claes Oldenburg, Maria Pinto, Robert Storr and Rirkrit Tiravanija. For more information, please visit www.saic.edu.