Dress ranged from ’20s flapper to last season’s tuxedo, to Vineyard casual, at Sunday’s celebration of the 89th Academy Awards at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center, home of the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society (MVFS). The Oscar red carpet party guests dined on a delicious selection of hors d’oeuvres, prepared by Herring Run Kitchens & Provisions’ Bernadette Cormie, and listened to music by jazz singer and pianist David Hannon, whose mellifluous tones evoked the ambiance of the Oscar-favorite film “La La Land,” nominated for a record-tying 14 Oscars and winner of six.
MVFS executive director Richard Paradise hosted. He is an experienced party animal, having staged his first Island Oscar party at the the Mansion House in 2005, and the past five years at the Film Center since it opened in 2012. He was assisted by theater manager Bob Dutton.
For some, the party was a chance to have fun pretending to be at the Oscars with other film fans; for others it was a source of memories. Gaston Vadasz of West Tisbury was dressed in a tuxedo that he said was one of several he used to own when he needed to dress for all the parties he attended with academics, artists, and ambassadors back in his native Hungary, years ago.
The opportunity to pose for a photo with a real Oscar is a regular feature of the annual affair, courtesy of Chilmark resident Robert George, who was 6 when his father, George L. George, won the award in 1949 for his short film, “Toward Independence.” The film, about military men with disabilities returning home after World War II, was made for the U.S. Army Signal Corps, who held on to the prized statue for 40 years before returning it to the elder Mr. George, its rightful owner.
When the televised ceremonies began, the guests filed into the theater to view the awards on the big screen. During the show there was laughter, and occasional applause, as though the audience forgot they were watching from the Vineyard. Mr. Paradise and Mr. Dutton covered the commercial breaks with a game of Oscar trivia and reports on the progress of the Guess Oscar contest ballots filled out by many of the guests. Prizes of film passes and MVFS T shirts were given to the winners, who scored with what amounted to, in most cases, their best guesses.
Ulrike Wartner won the Guess Oscar contest, scoring 18 correct answers out of 24. “Quite exciting, with the last category — Best Picture — deciding the contest,” said Mr. Paradise. “Two others had 17 correct, but guessed ‘La La Land’ for Best Picture, which of course was announced the winner, but then didn’t really win at the end. That decided the contest.” Ms. Wartner won a MVFS Film Enthusiast Membership, worth free movies and events for a year.