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Theaters make Oscar awards a party

Patrick Dunn
Special to The Detroit News

From big-screen Best Picture marathons to bustling red-carpet Oscar viewing parties, Metro Detroit theaters are offering moviegoers a variety of ways to celebrate the 87th Academy Awards.

AMC Theatres' Best Picture Showcase will offer local theatergoers a particularly intensive Oscar-related experience at the chain's Livonia 20 location and the Forum 30 in Sterling Heights. Both theaters will screen all eight Best Picture nominees across two marathon viewing sessions today. "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "Whiplash," "Birdman" and "Selma" will screen Saturday, while "Boyhood," "The Theory of Everything," "The Imitation Game" and "American Sniper" will screen Feb. 21. This is the ninth year for the showcase program, says Ryan Noonan, AMC spokesman.

"People who love movies dearly talk about (the Oscars), and people who follow movies only loosely watch it and talk about it," Noonan says. "It made sense as a movie company to put those movies back on a screen one last time."

Mary Mulrenin, a St. Clair Shores resident, has attended the Best Picture Showcase for the past two years. The event, she says, has become a convenient way for her to absorb the major Oscar nominees in one shot. And she's not alone; Mulrenin says the auditorium she saw the showcase in last year was almost sold out.

"We found a lot of people would go and wear their pajamas, and bring pillows and blankets, and just settle in for the day," she says. "It's just a really fun day."

Noonan says he attended the event himself two years ago and was amazed at the camaraderie among attendees, some of whom see each other exclusively at the showcase each year.

"When you go to this thing and you spend basically 12 hours watching these great Academy Award-nominated movies, you go in loving movies and the next thing you know you're surrounded by people who are there for the same thing," he says. "It truly becomes this communal event."

At other area theaters, the Oscar ceremony itself will receive the big-screen treatment — with a party to boot. The Maple Theater will present its Best Movies of 2014 Celebration on Oscar night, featuring a ticketed red-carpet party with a dinner and dessert buffet, followed by a screening of the Oscar broadcast with reserved seats for ticket holders. Remaining seats for the telecast will be available free on a first-come, first-served basis.

MJR's Southgate Digital Cinema 20 will host its 16th annual Red Carpet Extravaganza, a preshow celebration and awards viewing party benefiting the Southgate Community Players, Ballet Americana and the Downriver Council for the Arts. About 20 local restaurants will supply food and wine for the ticketed event. MJR marketing director Robin Hansen says the party is like attending the actual Oscar ceremony on a smaller scale.

"The people in the auditorium are standing up and clapping just like you're at the Oscars," Hansen says. "It's really fun. It brings it all to life."

Patrick Dunn is an Ann Arbor-based freelance writer.

Best Picture Showcase

10 a.m. Saturday and Feb. 21

AMC Livonia 20

19500 Haggerty, Livonia

AMC Forum 30

44681 Mound, Sterling Heights

Tickets $30-$55

(734) 542-3191

(586) 254-1381


Red Carpet Extravaganza

7 p.m. Feb. 22

MJR Southgate Digital Cinema 20

15651 Trenton, Southgate

Tickets $25 ($30 at the door)

(734) 284-8083


Best Movies of 2014 Celebration

5:30 p.m. Feb. 22

Maple Theater

4135 W. Maple, Bloomfield Hills

Tickets $40

(248) 750-1030