Matt McGrath put out an invite on Facebook for his annual Oscar Party and my wife Terry wanted to go. Matt is the producer of Project F which is a theater production that I pan to follow closely. I had attended Holi Fest earlier in the day and I was covered with brightly colored chalks. I didn't have time to go home and change, so I just shook out my jacket, and wiped as much color off from my face and neck as I could. I went to the Viet Garden for dinner just before going to Matt's and I had my favorite dish Pad Tai and a beer.
When I parked outsides his place I could see that he was rushing around the living room cleaning up. I realized I was probably the first to arrive. The walkway up to the front door was decorated with a red carpet of sorts. It was held in place however with gray duck tape which kind of threw off any hint elegance. A strobe light kept blinking which Matt later explained simulated flash bulbs going off. The door had a large silhouette of a golden statue.
I was indeed the first to arrive, but Matt was gracious and offered me a beer and I sat at his bar in the back patio. Later a friend referred to the space as "Matt's Man Patio." Besides the bar with it's fully functional tap of Guinness, there was a stripper pole and a pair of animating breasts on a plaque. He also had one of those bar trivia games and I tried playing a game where you had to find 5 differences between two photos. I lost every time. There were four red sheets covering some of the screened windows and each had a golden statue in the center. Bright gold streamers divided the window decorations. All of the food for the party was named after Oscar nominated films, the most obvious being a stack of 7 UP cans for the movie UP.
Slowly Matt's friends arrived and surrounded the bar. We all started filling out our pics for the winning categories. I started feeling sure of myself, but halfway through the list, I was filling out answers by guessing, since I hadn't seen enough of the films to make an educated guess. Most of the people at the party were actors and actresses and there was plenty of catty remarks about the gowns being worn in Hollywood that night. A few people came to Matt's party dressed to the nines as well. I was dressed in my Sunday best but I had been covered with chalks at Holi fest that morning and I didn't get all the chalk off. Louise Bova had a friend visiting her from Brooklyn and she called me on my cell and asked if I knew of any good Oscar parties. I talked to Matt and we invited her and her friend over. My wife dressed up as Nora Desmond with an antique hat she had just bought at the Mount Dora Antiques fair. She had long black gloves and plenty of sequins. If there had been a prize for best costume she would have won.
I was drinking Guinness all night, but I still got cold outside and eventually moved into the living room. In the living room my ears started getting warm perhaps from the drink so I bounced back outside. Matt's big screen TV outside had the ability to freeze and even rewind. When I went out there I saw the same category being awarded that I had just witnessed in the living room. I debated about shouting out the winner, but held my tongue.
At the end of the night as we tabulated the results of everyone's Oscar ballots, I discovered that I only got 6 out of 47 categories right. This was a sad showing indeed. Next year I plan to study up. The winner got 13 categories right and left with a gift bag of trinkets. As he said, "Its not what you win that matters, it the winning that counts." He was sitting right next to me when we filled out out forms, I should have cheated.