And The Winner Is…DC Film Society for Best Oscar Night!


On March 4, 2018, Connie Stevens attends DC Film Society’s “And the Winner is…” Oscar Viewing Party in The Arlington Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse in Arlington, VA. She interviews well-known Washington, D.C. Film Critics: Tim Gordon of Film Gordon and Travis Hopson of Punch Drunk Critics.

What does a girl do on one of the most anticipated nights of the year? Attend a LIVE Red Carpet Oscars viewing party, of course! The 26th Annual Washington DC Film Society Live Academy Awards viewing party at the Arlington Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse, co-hosted by renowned film critics Tim Gordon and Travis Hopson, was a smashing success. Each year the DC Film Society hosts the event to promote support of FilmFest DC and critics love for film everywhere. Their annual flagship event consists of a “Predict the Winners” contest where film lovers can guess who they think the winners will be and a Silent Auction featuring autographed memorabilia and tickets/passes to future events. All proceeds generated help support the DC Film Society.

DC Film Society Committee Members. Photo Courtesy of Rio Griffin of Griffin Studios.

I met many of the DC Film Society committee members such as Michael Kyrioglou, Larry Hart, Adam Spector and Cheryl Dixon. The members were so welcoming, professional and passionate regarding the organization’s achievements. Adam Spector enlightened me to some of the additional events that DC Film Society partakes in. One being two trailer events that take place in the summer and winter that show trailers for upcoming blockbusters. Another is the monthly film discussion group called the Cinema Lounge. This is a place where film lovers unite to review, discuss and embark on a wondrous adventure through the love of film. Cheryl Dixon added that they are continuously looking to grow the organization which will only lead to success for this establishment for many years to come.

The Red Carpet broadcast is projected real-time on the Big Screen with live coverage prior to the Oscars telecast. I knew this was going to be a grand event with many intriguing people to interview as well as noteworthy moments to capture, so my attire needed to be on point. For the event, I chose a service that my cousin recommended called Rent the Runway. It is an affordable way to rent high end designer gowns and accessories for events at a fraction of the cost. For just over $100, I rented a Monique Lhuillier gown, silver mesh glam clutch, diamond drop earrings and a bracelet – an ensemble that retails for over $1300. I highly recommend this service for those who want to look a million bucks, but not break the bank.

Contributing Writer Connie Stevens in Rent-the-Runway out fit. Photo Courtesy of Rio Griffin of Griffin Studios.

Traffic was light and my commute from Baltimore to Arlington was a breeze. On the drive, I listened to a few songs from Three Billboards Outside, Ebbing Missouri starring Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell, which was nominated for several awards.  Carter Burwell’s solemn original score perfectly reflects the mood of the movie (even if it’s a little spaghetti westernish). I definitely recommend checking out both the movie and the score. Little did I know later that night both actors would take home academy awards for their astounding performances in the film; Frances McDormand for Best Actress and Sam Rockwell for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role.

As I arrived in Arlington, I found off street parking easily located behind the venue.  Much to my dismay, the strap to my heel broke on the first step out of the car!  I was determined not to let anything ruin my evening. Channeling my inner MacGyver, I quickly repaired my shoe by using the sticky non-slip heel inserts to the strap and back to the heel. Crisis averted! As I entered the venue, I was greeted by the most amazing architecture that made my eyes dance with excitement. The beautiful antique curvature of the ceiling was most thrilling. The old film equipment displayed in the lobby reminded me of old Hollywood. I immediately envisioned Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers dancing in Monkey Business.

As I continued around the corner there were tables set up for the silent auction and a hip bar area that served drinks and popcorn to the right. I stepped into the stunning open theater that displayed tiers of seats and tables that party goers could relax and enjoy the big screen event. The chatter throughout the theater was a good indication that the love for film is very much still alive. During the breaks, live commentary and film trivia was generated by Travis and Tim. A witty and comical duo best known for their WETA All Around Town broadcast. They kept the audience full of laughs and on their toes.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with these gentlemen prior to the event to get the skinny on the most notable Oscar highlights of 2017. Both very charming and charismatic individuals, they were very vociferous regarding their opinions for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor/Actress and Best Supporting Actor/Actress. Tim highly regarded Three Billboards and The Shape of Water as standout films for 2017.  Travis agreed the The Shape of Water had many extraordinary high points but remarked Three Billboards on not being a potential front runner. Travis noted that, “Historically a movie rarely wins when the director is not nominated.” Tim added that, “Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell delivered knock out performances,” in the film and knew Three Billboards would be a game changer.

On another note, Travis mentioned the Oscar marketing seemed to push critics to vote for Lady Bird, but thought that Hollywood would snub the film. Travis noted that Laurie Metcalf has done “surprisingly well this year” and Tim agreed that he felt her nomination was well deserved. Though she did not win, she has come a long way from her Roseanne days.

Connie Stevens in center between Film Critics Tim Gordon (Left) and Travis Hopson (Right). Photo Courtesy of Rio Griffin of Griffin Studios.

Tim also spoke of another extraordinary film and performance; Gary Oldman in The Darkest Hour. Gary Oldman’s adaptation of Winston Churchill sealed the deal winning him the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Tim commented that, “Sometimes an Oscar can be a lifetime achievement, not a one shot deal.” Travis agreed that though The Darkest Hour “fell flat when it first came out, it rose back with vengeance making this a very good indicator Gary Oldman would be a force to be reckoned with!” Recalling his performance as a corrupt DEA agent in The Professional, Travis and I had a moment to banter about this iconic film with him mentioning he has a shirt with Oldman on the front that says, “Everybody”- I loved it!

Both gentlemen agreed that Get Out was a culture phenomenon and provided sustainment throughout the year since first coming out at Sundance. Tim celebrated Allison Janney for her role in I, Tonya emphasizing she was “SO good” in the role.  With her taking the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, clearly these gentlemen know what they are talking about!  Evidently, Tim and Travis have the natural ability to see when films, directors, actors and actresses are worth mentioning.  I thanked them both for their time and walked away a happy girl having the opportunity to banter with these gentlemen for the night.  I felt honored to be part of such an incredible event.  There is no doubt this show stopping night was a hit!

Guests in front raise hands to guess the Oscar Winner. Packed theater for the Viewing Party. Photo Courtesy of Rio Griffin of Griffin Studios.

If you wish to support the DC Film Society and its affiliates, please consider becoming a member.  All proceeds for the event support the DC Film Society and its sponsorship support of Filmfest DC. The Washington, DC International Film Festival (Filmfest DC) is the longest running film festival in the nation’s capital. The 32nd edition will take place April 19-29, 2018 offering a diverse selection of world wide films in addition to discussions with guest filmmakers and special events.

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