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State Street Turns into a Red Carpet Extravaganza

Although about 2,000 miles lie between Chicago and Hollywood, our own Gene Siskel Film Center, together with participating local restaurants are bringing a red-carpet Oscars experience to the city.

On the day of the event, chilly weather did not stop decked-out guests from attending the Gene Siskel Fim Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for its longest-running Chicago’s only Academy-sanctioned Oscar party, dubbed “Hollywood on State: A Red Carpet Celebration”. The 87th Academy Awards viewing party on February 22 was attended by many notable guests who were greeted by the searchlights illuminating the sky as they arrived to the venue.

Over 270 attendees became the stars of the evening as they were invited to walk the red carpet and to forecast who will walk away with the night’s coveted award in Hollywood. The event co-chairs Michelle Cucchiaro and David Martin were on hand to welcome the party-goers.

While the guests stopped at the red carpet for a photo, ABC’s 7 Karen Jordan interviewed them, as a nod to Hollywood’s Oscars. No party would be a party without appetizing food creations compliments of the Pure Kitchen Catering, with desserts from Jewell Events Catering, Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique, and Eli’s Cheesecake. The bars situated throughout the venue kept a variety of libations flowing from Guinness Blonde American Lager, Sterling Vineyards, Stellina di Note Processo and Bow Truss Coffee Roasters. Following the opportunity to mingle and taste the delicacies, the attendees continued the evening while watching the Awards on the big screen of the movie theater, as well as in the party space.

For the first time the event honored four Chicago filmmakers, Bob Hercules, Seth McClellan, Daniel Nearing and Frank Ross, recognizing their contribution to Chicago’s blossoming film community. All honorees had their films screened at the Film Center.

All throughout the event, more than $50,000 was raised to support the film programming at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

In the meantime in Hollywood, the film Birdman, directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, was awarded Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay, and Cinematography. «The Grand Budapest Hotel», a comedy by Wes Anderson, who is known for creating highly visually stylistic and often surreal-looking movies, received four Oscars (costume, makeup and hairstyling, original score, production design).

In the Foreign Language Film category, the Russian film Leviathan by the director Andrei Zvyagintsev did not receive an anticipated award (it did receive a Golden Globe award bypassing Ida, as well as other awards recently). This movie’s plot is set in contemporary Russia, while the original story that served as an inspiration is a real story that happened in America. It is about an ever-present conflict and a personal struggle, of a «small man» and a crushing bureaucratic machine of the state. (Leviathan is used a metaphore, as it was introduced by the medieval English political philosopher Thomas Hobbes to symbolize an absolutist state, in reference to the Old-Testament sea monster, or a whale, from the Book of Job.)


An Oscar went to another Foreign Language Film nominee, Polish movie Ida. In his acceptance speech, thanking the Academy, Director Pawel Pawlikowski noted a paradox between the aspect of the movie — «the need for silence and withdrawal from the world and contemplation», and, on the other hand, the «noise and world attention» that the movie and its creators now receive. In this Holocaust-themed movie, a young woman preparing to become a nun is discovering her Jewish roots. It is set in 1960s communist Poland. Predictably, the simplicity of the black-and-white movie’s aesthetics and of the characters’ has garnered both admirers and critics. A famed Polish director Andrzej Wajda, who is also an honorary-Oscar recipient (2000), has described the movie’s winning of the award as «a very beautiful day.» Many in Poland and elsewhere also see this as a recognition of the growing Polish cinematography and movie industry.

Indeed, it has been another beautiful day for all involved, and for all the movie-lovers everywhere.


L. Mogul, S. Telis for Kontinent Media

Photos by Larisa Pevtsova


Hollywood on State was supported by sponsors: RedEye Chicago, the Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Foundation, BMO Harris Bank, Moneris Solutions, Pure Kitchen Catering, and vendors listed above many more.



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.

1. Bard Davis, Karen Jones, Kathy Bliss, Judie Green, Leonard Mogul, Melody Luthra 2. Chloe Verhoef, Vivian Moy, Tony Trejo, Samantha Rothamn 3. Ellen Sandor, Walter Massey_SAIC President, Sherly Massey 4. Michael & Jessie Abt 5. DSC_9866 6. DSC_9807 7. Tom & Rita Plunkett 8. Silent Auction Table 9. Ellen Sandor, Maggie Baczkowski 10. Lauren & Kyle Kilndzierski 11. Sponsor_Eli's Cheesecake 12. Candace Jordan, Leonard Mogul 13. DSC_9797 14. Larisa Pevtsova for Kontinent Media 15. Jack Radosevich, Nicole Vancura 16. Whitney Maracich 17. DSC_9800 18. DSC_9805 19. DSC_9844 20. Jose Paz, Allie Mabbott 21. Toby & Jennifer Rogers 22. DSC_9832

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