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Chicago’s Oscar Experience: Glitz, Glamour, and Philanthropy

It’s the 85th Annual Academy Awards. I’m at the Oscar Experience: Chicago held at the Gene Siskel Film Center.  It’s the only Academy-sanctioned event in Chicago, now in its 20th year. Chicagoans decked out in their fanciest outfits are surrounding me with glitz and glamour. The sold-out event has attracted more than 280 movie lovers ready to walk the red carpet, mingle, and help raise $51,000 to support educational and programming initiatives of the Gene Siskel Center.

One of just 46 official parties held across the country on Oscar Night was the place to be.  Event guests were not disappointed as their admission included buffet, full bar, and parting gifts with VIP ticket holders enjoying reserved theater seating and other specials.

The red carpet was hosted by Amanda Puck, appetizing food donated by Pure Kitchen Catering, and themed cocktails by William Grant & Sons.  And, of course, no Oscar experience would be complete without a real-time, high-definition big screen telecast of the 85th Annual Academy Awards, courtesy of ABC 7 Chicago.

“There are tons of Oscar parties but the Gene Siskel is the real deal,” said red carpet host Amanda Puck.

Oscar® Experience: Chicago co-chairs were Kristin Anderson and Susanna Negovan.

As the night draws to a close those routing for Ben Affleck’s ‘Argo’ for the best picture get their wish.  Daniel Day-Lewis wins Oscar gold  for lead actor for “Lincoln,”  Jennifer Lawrence for lead actress for  “Silver Linings Playbook,” and Ang Lee for director for “Life if Pi,” which won four Oscars, the most for any film.

For information on future events, or event promotion, please call 847.274.1648.

Leonard Mogul
Kontinent Media Group
Arts4Kids Foundation

Photos by Amie Hana

Oscar® Experience: Chicago co-chairs this year were Kristin Anderson and Susanna Negovan.  Committee members were Sam Saifer Berngard, Michelle Cucchiaro, Karen Gaski, Marsha Goldstein and Ellen Sandor, who serves as chair of the Gene Siskel Film Center Advisory Board.

Oscar® Experience: Chicago was supported by sponsors SPLASH: A Chicago Sun-Times Publication, the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Foundation, Pure Kitchen Catering, Spotlight Cinema Networks and Redbox.


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.


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.

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