Top of the morning, March 1, 2014

Top of the morning, March 1, 2014

No one does an Oscars party like movie buff Joi Hoffsommer, artistic director for Parkland's Theatre Program. "Wait Until Dark" wrapped up last weekend and "Spamalot" isn't until April 17, so Hoffsommer had time to fill us in about Sunday's Academy Awards (6 p.m., ABC).

Why watch?

Who doesn't love an evening of non-stop guilty pleasures? Watching celebrities dressed up in gorgeous or bizarre costumes (A.K.A. evening wear) and being funny or trying to be funny, seeing snippits of your favorite film and getting a taste of the ones you missed, eating stuff you don't allow yourself except for special occasions. It's like the Super Bowl for the rest of us.

What's on the menu?

Usually we spend the evening with friends who supply a lot of the goodies. It is always decadent and delicious. Dips. Usually lots of dips and chocolate. Sometimes chocolate dip. We've had full dinners some years. Just thinking about it is making me happy.

As host, Ellen DeGeneres is ...

AWESOME. I adore her and think she has just the right tone to make it work. She knows where to put her toe so that it is so close to the line it is almost over but it's funny instead of embarrassing.

When's the best time to tune in?

If you see only the last hour, you usually get to see the really big awards. If you see the beginning, you get to see the host do her opening. It really is less about watching every minute than it is an excuse to eat and talk and have a fun evening.

The best part of watching ...

is that experience of getting together for it. All three of our boys have grown up with it and still look forward to it. We always have ballots that everyone fills out ahead of time and then we trade and score each other. We bring weird prizes for everyone that we sometimes find and save for months in order to have them for Oscar Night. It's just a good time.

The worst part of watching ...

is the fact that I don't really believe in awards for artistic endeavors. I understand that it is about promoting the industry, but it requires comparing apples to oranges and sometimes leaving some of the really great apples out of the basket altogether. It isn't a comprehensive gauge of artistic merit in Hollywood film, but everyone really knows that. You can't take it too seriously. Parts of it, honestly, are dull or too self-interested to be entertaining. That's when you go for more dip.

Do you recommend dressing up?

That hasn't been a regular part of our Oscar evenings over the years. I think we did it a few times, but comfort won out. Better to watch the celebrities struggle to breathe in their vise-grip gowns than suffer in one yourself. Of course, we could all just show up in tuxes. That wouldn't be too bad, but I'm sure I'd drip dip down the front and have a dry cleaning bill to show for it. Jeans and a washable sweater will do this year.

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