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Chicago's Connection To The Academy Awards
From the creation of the Oscar to viewing parties, local movie lovers are part of Hollywood's big celebration
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The Home Of The Oscar

     THE biggest and most glamorous night in Hollywood, the annual Academy Awards presentation, has a huge and significant Chicago connection. For more than 73 years, R.S. Owens & Company, 5535 North Lynch Avenue, has been producing and designing many of the world’s most prestigious awards, including manufacturing the Oscar statuettes, which many observers view as the most coveted award in entertainment.
   The 86th Academy Awards, presented on March 2 and hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, will be one of the most-watched events of the year as Chicagoans, like millions of other viewers in faraway places, will eagerly wait to see who and what voters consider to be the best among the best, beginning with the top three categories: Best Picture (American HustleCaptain PhillipsDallas Buyers ClubGravityHerNebraskaPhilomena12 Years a SlaveThe Wolf of Wall Street); Best Actor in a Leading Role (Christian Bale, Bruce Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthew McConaughey); Best Actress in a Leading Role (Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, Meryl Streep).
    In the end, the much sought-after, 13.5-inch-tall, 8.5-pound, gold-plated figure with a black metal base will serve as a lasting symbol of excellence for the recipients.
The Academy Awards represent the best in Hollywood, and the Oscar statuettes are manufactured here in Chicago.
   IN several locations throughout the Chicagoland area, a variety of Academy Awards viewing parties––large and small––will be held in conjunction with Hollywood’s big night, with many gatherings exhibiting the same level of enthusiasm and buzz that surround Super Bowl parties. For those who choose not to watch at home, the following are examples of places where you can join others for a night out of food, drinks and the excitement of the Academy Awards.  

Hollywood on State: A Red Carpet Celebration is Chicago’s longest-running Academy Awards viewing party, which will be held at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Described as “a night of glamour, gourmet food and libations,” the doors open at 6 p.m., cocktail attire is recommended and valet parking is available. Tickets range from $100 (general admission) to $200 (reserved seating). For more information and to RSVP, call 312/846-2072. Tickets for this event cannot be purchased online.

Enjoy “A Night on the Red Carpet-Rosemont" at Morton’s The Steakhouse, 9525 West Bryn Mawr Avenue. Watch the award show on a 9-foot screen while savoring Morton’s signature cuisine, paired with award-winning wine and best-supporting spirits. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. and the $75 per guest includes tax and gratuity. Cocktail attire is suggested, and a red carpet photo will be taken upon arrival. For reservations, call 847/678-5155.

Center on Halsted’s On the Red Carpet party welcomes donors, patrons, and supporters to enjoy the Academy Awards presentation in a festive environment that includes cocktail service, reserved seating, buffet dinner, silent auction and a raffle drawing. In 2013, On the Red Carpet was attended by 400 participants and raised more than $60,000 to support the various programs and services of Center on Halsted. The doors open for this year’s event at 6 p.m. Ticket prices range from $40 to $125. For more information, contact Dustin Erikstrup, manager of special events at derikstrup@centeronhalsted.org or by calling at 773/661-0957.

“A Night at the Oscars 2014” at Duffy's Tavern and Grille
, 420 W. Diversey Parkway 
from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Save your money for shots! Tickets are $40 online, $50 at the door. Ticket sales end at noon, the day of the event. Go to www.eventbrite.com.
Several Chicagoland restaurants and other outlets will create their own versions of the Hollywood red carpet. 
Academy Awards Viewing Parties
"Everybody Wins at the Oscars®"
​   For the second consecutive year, designer Jan Lewis’ Fair Trade creations will be inside the “Everybody Wins at the Oscars®” gift bags that include items totaling thousands of dollars. As was the case last year, Lewis’ handcrafted bangles will be included along with a “Celebration Tie” for male Academy Award nominees. The founder and CEO of Jan Lewis Designs on the Gold Coast created the tie with a piano keyboard design after getting inspiration from her husband, legendary jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis. “I’m passionate about art and love being immersed in creating unique designs,” says Lewis, who started the company two years ago. “It is an honor beyond compare to have something I lovingly designed and care about so much to be included in this prestigious event once again and to have my designs encircle some of the world’s most fashionable men and women.”
   The bangles and ties will be hand-delivered on the morning after the Oscar® telecast to the nominees in the best actor, best supporting actor, best actress, best supporting actress and best director categories. Ellen DeGeneres, the host of the Academy Awards, will also be a recipient.