Parties make Sunday’s Oscar show more fun to watch

As adman Ben Counts put it about his Oscar Sunday, Feb. 24 party: “We do this to promote love of and greater attendance of movies … and to give people who love movies a more fun and glamorous way of watching than curled up on the sofa in your pajamas.”

Here’s a rundown of some 85th Academy Award parties worth getting dressed up and going out for.

THE MOVIE LOVERS DINNER PARTY is hosted for the fourth year by Courts and radio station owner Abe Thompson, at Vivand, 155 E. Ontario, where the ABC/7 televised awards will be seen on a 12-ft. rear projection screen.

This night, Vivand’s normally $60 three-course gourmet dinner is $28 (plus tax and gratuity) and festivities start at 6 p.m. if you want to watch the Red Carpet on the 12-ft. rear projection screen.  Dinner and show served up at 7:30 p.m.   To reserve, call counts at 312/399-6005.

COLUMNIST RICHARD ROEPER and Rockit Ranch Productions CEO Billy Dec co-host the 2nd Annual Oscar Viewing Party, with themed Prosecco cocktails, wine and hors d’oeuves, at Rockit Bar & Grill,  22 W. Hubbard, starting at 7 p.m. 

Tickets are $50 and part of the proceeds will benefit nonprofit After School Matters, founded by the late Maggie Daley. Last year’s party raised over $4,000 in three hours for the organization.


CHICAGO’S ONLY OFFICIAL OSCAR® PARTY Oscar Experience: Chicago, hosted by and presented at the Gene Siskel Film Center for the 20th year, is one of 46 official parties held across the US, “giving Chicagoans the chance to be part of the biggest night of the year while supporting world-class programming here at the Gene Siskel,” says center executive director Jean de St. Aubin.


Tickets include buffet supper generously donated by Pure Kitchen Catering, themed cocktails by William Grant & Sons, watching the HD telecast and raffle drawings throughout the night.  


At 164 N. State, from 6 p.m. to midnight. To reserve, contact Dionne Nicole Smith, 312/846-2072, or


THE 3RD ANNUAL VITAL NIGHTS Oscar Viewing Party at new Chuck’s Manufacturing funky retro ‘90s restaurant,  224 N. Michigan, will benefit Vital Bridges Center on Chronic Care. 

Chuck’s will serve savory bites and a variety of complimentary SVEDKA vodka cocktails, along with Goose Island brew selections and wine and champagne from Chuck’s Manufacturing.  Raffle tickets for elegant prizes and beats of DJ Megan Taylor are part of the fun.  

Tickets, $65, may be purchased here.

THE PARTY AT CRU KITCHEN & BAR features nominee-themed cocktails (concocted by the restaurant’s beverage manager Benjamin Augustine) and a chance to win prizes.  From 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. at 25 E. Delaware.

AND IF YOU HAPPEN to be in Grand Rapids Sunday night, the place to be is at the Waterfront Film Festival’s only and official Oscar Night® America in West Michigan at the Goeri Center. Starting with at 6:30 p.m. guests will walk the red carpet, enjoy food, drink, live music, and bid on elegant and desirable auction items.  For tickets, click here or call 269/857-8351.