Will Renee Zellweger wear Caroline Herrera again
? Find out on the big screen at one of these big Academy Awards parties.
If you've got the big bucks...do good while ogling the Red Carpet glitterati at "An Evening with the Stars," a benefit for the Cure Autism Now Foundation and Autism Speaks. Taking place in the His Way Theater located at NBC Tower (454 N. Columbus Drive), the benefit is hosted by a small-screen regular: Zoraida Sambolin, co-anchor of NBC5's 11 a.m. news. Be sure to dress the part: Tickets for this classy event range from $250 to $1,400, which includes dinner at Catch 35 at 4 p.m. and complimentary transportation to NBC on Chicago Trolley. Skip the seafood and you can attend the benefit for $100-$800. Call (773) 935-6100 or check this out.
If you need to bypass the dull moments...take the live-action route at the Neo-Futurarium. The Neo-Futurists' Oscar Night Benefit Party gives you the Oscar broadcast without the yawn-inducing commercials between awards. When the TV action stops, the Neo-Futurists will perform some of their favorite celebrity-themed acts. Oscar attire is welcomed, but not required. Tickets to the 6-11 p.m. (or end of broadcast) event cost $25, and all proceeds benefit The Neo-Futurists. For tickets, call (773) 275-5255 or check this out.
If you want Hollywood but not its prices...check out Take Five's Oscar night. For $7, you get a wristband that gives you access to $2 drinks (cocktails, house wine and domestic drafts), as well as a dinner buffet. Watch the big stars on six 42-inch plasmas, two 110-inch big screens and seven in-booth plasmas. The evening's featured drink, Ellen's Melon, honors host Ellen Degenress with an infusion of Melon Liquer and pineapple juice on the rocks. In case you don't feel like shelling out the money for a wristband, you can still get into the restaurant and catch the show without one. The fun kicks off at 6 p.m. For more info call (773) 871-5555 or check this out.
If you want to score your own award...head to Zocalo's viewing party, where NBC 5 entertainment reporter LeeAnn Trotter will present prizes to best dressed male and female of the evening. Stars meet south-of-the-border cuisine at this event, which begins with a stroll up the red carpet, followed by complimentary appetizers (all evening) and cocktails, beer and select wines (until 8 p.m.) for $50. Multiple plasma screens display the red carpet arrivals. Dress can be as casual as jeans, or as fancy as gems (we're guessing the latter will help you score big). Gift bags will be given to guests as they depart. The fun starts at 6 p.m.; for more info call (312)302-9977 or check this out.
If you're looking for an official Academy-sanctioned event...look no further than the Gene Siskel Film Center's annual Oscar Night America benefit. With a red carpet, Klieg lights and a Joan Rivers impersonator, it's as close to the real thing as you can find in downtown Chicago. Food For Thought provides a dinner buffet, and you can toast the winners with champagne, wine and beer while watching the show in its state-of-the-art movie theaters—and following the broadcast using the same official programs that the stars do. The $150 event also features a silent auction. For more information about this 6 p.m.-midnight event, call (312) 846-2072.
If you're rooting for Jennifer Hudson...consider checking out the Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club. Its Dreamgirls-Style Oscar Party takes off on the 2006 hit film, which is nominated for eight Academy Awards. Enjoy the broadcast on five jumbo screens while sipping on one of Kit Kat's hundred of martinis for half price all night. Never one to be left out of the spotlight, the "Kit Kat Divas" will perform hits from Dreamgirls throughout the evening. With an opportunity to win spa packages from Salon U and Absolut Gift bags, this party promises to be the talk of the town. Seating is limited, so call (773) 525-1111 or check this out.
If you want to tune from Boystown... check out the Oscar party at Sidetrack, an annual benefit for the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus. You'll catch the Oscars and CGMC's unique entertainment—it's up to you which performance is more captivating. For the ultimate experience, purchase a VIP ticket to get entry to a 5 p.m. reception with complimentary food, drinks and live entertainment. If you want to join the party when the show starts, Sidetrack's doors open to the public at 7 p.m., and the broadcast begins at 7:30 p.m. on every screen in the bar. To buy your VIP tickets in advance for $40 check this out, or purchase for $50 at the door.
If YOU want to be the star...consider attending the Chicago Film Festival's 43rd Annual Academy Awards Party at the Park West. Chicago's oldest and largest Oscar gala doesn't mess around: Red carpet attire is required. Fork over $60-$80 to watch the show on three giant screens and 24 monitors. Your ticket pays for complimentary hors d'oeuvres and wine and beer all evening (cash bar for premium drinks). Though you probably won't hear your name called on the big screen, there are raffles and special prizes to be won throughout the evening. To purchase tickets check this out.
If the stars' red carpet-wear inspires a shopping spree...give Blue Water Grill's Academy Awards party a try. For no cover charge, you can enjoy fantastic cocktails while watching the show on the bar's flat-screen TVs. As a special bonus, you'll leave with a Kenneth Cole gift card that gives you 20 percent off your next purchase.
If you want to meet other hip singles...while watching Hollywood's hottest stars, head to Orso's Single's Academy Award's party. For $25 you can take part in the Sparkling Champagne & Wine Tasting, and get your fill of tasty Italian appetizers. You won't leave empty-handed if you can correctly predict the Oscar winners...
If it's hot drink specials you're after... hit up Crew's HDTV Oscar viewing experience. Drink specials include $3.50 Great Lakes bottles, $12 Beergaritas and Monsoon pitchers and $9 Miller Lite pitchers. Enter your name into the ballot box before 7 p.m. for a chance to win a $100 Crew gift certificate.
If watching the Red Carpet leaves you thinking red...get in on the Circuit Academy Awards Benefit, which supports the fight against AIDS. For $50-$60, you get five drink tickets, appetizers, desserts and coffee while enjoying the Oscars on Circuit's large-screen monitors. All proceeds benefit both the Center on Halsted and the AIDS Memorial quilt.
If you want a truly cinematic experience...try FitzGerald's evening of glitz and glamour for the ultimate Academy Awards experience. Watch the show on a movie-like nine- by 16-foot screen for a slim $10 cover charge. In keeping with the VIP feel, black tie is optional. Pick-n-pay at the dinner buffet; no reservations are needed, and the doors open at 6 p.m.
If you want to salute the stars with your girlfriends...head over to Salud Tequila Lounge in Wicker Park for a Mexican-style Oscar toast. Specials include $5 Tequila Cosmos, $10 Buckets of mini-Coronas and $5 tacos. For a special star-studded treat, Salud will be offering free manicures to its guests. Make sure to enter the Oscar Ballot for a chance at winning a special prize package.
If you want to kick back...try the relaxed Junior's Sports Lounge. All of the 35 plasma flat screens will be tuned in to the Oscars, and, in less-than-true sports bar fashion, you can enjoy a complimentary manicure while catching up on Hollywood styles. The doors open at 5 p.m.; sip on $3 Miller bottles while viewing the show.
If you want to stay active through the Oscars...stop in at 10pin Bowling Lounge. For a $15 cover you can watch the stars on eight HD screens while you bowl. If you're lucky enough to pick the winners in advance, you can enter yourself into 10pin's "pick-the-winner" contest with a grand prize of two round-trip tickets to Hollywood. Awards will be given for best dressed guest and to the top bowlers of the night. Try a specialty cocktail; reservations are recommended.
If you want to watch in Wrigleyville...stop in at Dark Horse Tap and Grille. Enjoy no cover charge for the evening, and look forward to playing Oscar trivia during broadcast commercial breaks. Make sure to fill out an Oscar ballot before the show starts for a chance to win a bottle of Veuve Cliquot champagne. More perks: half-price wine bottles, salads and appetizers. The fun starts at 4 p.m. and will keep going until well after the last envelope has been opened.