Vancouver Weekend: We're Thinking....Oscars Viewing Parties

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      Need something to do this weekend? Here are five places where you can take in the 89th Academy Awards, which air this Sunday (February 26) at 4:00 p.m. PST.

      Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour Street

      Vancouver is known as Hollywood North, so of course there are plenty of Oscars viewing parties happening around the city this weekend. Vancity Theatre will be hosting its annual Academy Awards party—a 19-plus fete—on Sunday (February 26) at 4:00 p.m.

      The classy cinema known for its plush red seats will feature a red-carpet entrance and fully licensed bar. Plenty of attendees are expected to gather, eager to know which film and famous person will snag an Oscar this year. The party will be emceed by film critic Michael van des Bos and fashion commentary will be provided by local stylist Steven Schelling.

      The Disco Cheetah food truck will be on-site serving Korean-inspired tacos and an Oscar party drink special—a signature Processo cocktail—will be available to quench your thirst while you fill out your Oscar ballot bingo card. Tickets ($15) are sold out to this event, but there will be a standby line beginning at 3 p.m. for those who want in on the fun.


      The Junction

      The Junction, 1138 Davie Street

      Let’s face it: the Oscars are boring as fuck. Compared to other ceremonies broadcast during film-awards season, they’re way less engaging than the Critics’ Choice Awards, not nearly as entertaining as the Golden Globes, and they go on much longer than necessary compared to the supremely efficient Screen Actors Guild Awards. (You’d think the Academy would’ve taken a page from the SAGs and gone hostless by now, especially after the fiasco that was James Franco leaving co-MC Anne Hathaway out to dry in 2011.)

      So if you’re going to sit through three-plus hours of Tinseltown’s elite politely patting one another on the back, you may as well do it with live commentary from Vancouver’s hilarious Conni Smudge.  The “unstoppable” drag queen hosts a viewing party at the Junction this weekend, where you take in the ceremony on the big-screen while kicking back with nachos, fire-grilled pizzas, burgers, and more.

      Get there by 4 p.m.—the start of the red-carpet arrivals—for what will arguably be the best part of the evening: Mz Smudge’s hot takes on the best, worst, and most questionably dressed celebs. Admission to the event is free.


      The Imperial

      The Imperial, 319 Main Street

      Most Vancouverites know the Imperial as one of the city’s most stellar concert venues. Hands up if you’ve been there to see the walls sweat for the Harpoonist & the Axe Murder. Or if you left Savages vowing to never start a band, mostly because it was impossible to top what you just witnessed. But while concerts get much of the attention, the Imperial is also a favourite spot of the city’s devoted cinephiles.

      Fans of ancient history know that the location was once home to the Golden Harvest theatre, which ran the kind of authentic chop-socky movies that made the ’70s Quentin Tarantino’s favourite decade. After years of neglect, 319 Main Street was given a new lease with a multi-million renovation at the turn of the century, owners billing it as “a cross between your typical art-house screening room and a high-end steak house”. As part of the majesty, Qin Dynasty Terracotta warrior replicas looked down from the walls, while live koi are a featured attraction in the lounge.

      This year marks the fourth in a row that Cineworks holds its Oscar Party at the Imperial, the red carpet rolling out at 4 p.m., followed by a silent auction, dinner, drinks, and of course plenty of tears when the annual montage of folks who died hits the screen. Tickets are $80 for the general public and $50 for Cineworks member, with partial proceeds going to support local independent filmmakers.

      Don’t forget to score maximum meta point by showing up in a Drunken Master T-shirt accessorized with a Savages button. 


      El Camino's

      El Camino’s, 3250 Main Street

      If you feel like watching the Academy Awards in a low-key and comfortable setting, check out the Oscars Party at El Camino’s this Sunday (February 26) from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Latin American street-food joint will be rolling out its red carpet for an Tinseltown-themed soirée, offering games of “Oscar bingo” while the ceremony is streamed live.

      Guests are encouraged to dress to impress: prizes will be given out to the best dressed and the “Oscar bingo” winner. Drink specials will be available during El Camino’s happy hour (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.) and will include Pacifico beer, Paloma cocktails, and red and white wines.

      No reservations are required and the best part is that there’s no cover charge. All you’ll really have to worry about is whether you can fill your squares to yell “Bingo!” before someone else beats you to it. 


      Cinema Public House

      Cinema Public House, 901 Granville Street

      If you’re going to name a pub Cinema—and then outfit the interior with approximately 72 flat-screens—it’s pretty much mandatory that you host an annual Oscars viewing party, right? For years, this Granville Street spot has been going all out for the biggest night in film with specially prepared dishes, Hollywood–themed drinks, and a glitzy red carpet that invites Vancouver’s most dedicated movie buffs to strut their stuff.

      For the 89th Academy Awards, Donnelly Group’s head chef Alvin Pillay has cooked up a three-course meal ($28 per person) that includes plates like crab cakes and slow-cooked short rib to be served during the broadcast. Meanwhile, a selection of Absolut-spiked cocktails inspired by some of this year’s nominees—think Dr. Strange and La La Land—will help get you through the countless commercial breaks and what are bound to be some very cringe-worthy acceptance speeches. (We’re rooting for you, Emma Stone.)

      Admission is free, though reservations by phone or email are strongly recommended.

      Running every Thursday, Vancouver Weekend spotlights five Straight-approved places around the city worth discovering.