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Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018
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Do your homework, make a viewing plan for Sunday’s Oscars

Preparing for the 90th Annual Academy Awards requires mental and physical endurance, lots of studying, a bit of deep breathing and some good faith stomach stretching.

We are here to help you. If you’re feeling uneasy about this year’s awards, given the unpleasant reality of Hollywood’s sexual transgressions revealed with such tenacious vigor in 2017 and beyond, it’s understandable. But the best thing you can do is arm yourself with information to become a wiser, more thoughtful consumer of cinema.

Times movie critic Steve Persall did a deep dive into the data this year, performing an unscientific examination of all the best actress and best actor winners in Oscar’s 89 previous ceremonies. What did he find? Women are twice as likely to be awarded for playing victims, whereas men routinely reap awards for playing flawed heroic types with something to overcome. Read the analysis, as well as predictions for this year’s winners, online at tampabay.com/movies/.

There’s much to discuss with other movie fans. If you prefer to get out of the house and find like-minded chatters, you have a couple of options. The glitziest Oscars party in town is Sunday at the Tampa Theatre, find the details at bit.ly/2Fel6ri. . The Sunscreen Film Festival is hosting a watch party Sunday at the Princess Martha in St. Petersburg. Get in for $40 and enjoy hors d’oeuvres, a glass of champagne, red-carpet photographs and a silent auction, with multiple viewing screens for the show. sunscreenfilmfestival.com.

If you’re going to stay in or have friends over, here’s a checklist:

Food: Food is very important. There are a couple of directions to go, just as there were a couple of directions Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway could have gone announcing last year’s best picture winner. You could have a theme party replete with fancy little interpretations of the movies. See Times food editor Michelle Stark’s ideas and recipes at bit.ly/2EVqArh. You won’t want to miss the Shape of Sparkling Water, Phantom Bread, Lady Bird Food and Call Me by Your Tartlet. There’s also the direction I typically take, which is to order the biggest pizza I can find and eat it systematically, with little shame.

Pajamas: Or likewise comfortable clothes with a waist that gives more than it takes. May I suggest something in the shape of a circus tent, or a very billowy beach cabana? One must look one’s worst when critiquing the fashions of others. Related: Follow along with me as I live-tweet the red carpet starting at 6 p.m. Sunday at our style Twitter handle, @TBTimesStyle.

Meditative practice: You will need calming, centering tools in your arsenal for when your favorite movie gets robbed in favor of one that three people in Brooklyn saw. Likewise for when you discover after the awards show that someone wore a #TimesUp pin who really shouldn’t have.

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