By Bobbie Katz Posted March 11, 2010, 4:06 PM EST
LAS VEGAS While the Academy Awards ceremony took place a few hundred miles to the west on Sunday, the M Resort in Las Vegas hosted its own Oscar bash. The viewing party benefited Variety, the Children’s Charity of Southern Nevada. Officially sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences—one of 50 such parties across the country—the charity event in the M’s Milan Ballroom brought out 100 cocktail-attired guests who paid $200 a ticket for the dinner and 150 others who paid $35 for general admission.
Oscar posters hung at all the hotel’s entrances, and guests were ushered down the ballroom’s red carpet as actors portraying paparazzi took pictures that were later available for download. An Oscar-banner-lined walkway led into the room for the lower-tier ticket holders.
Giving the event a festive Hollywood feel, two 16-foot-tall Oscar banners hung on each side of the stage at the front of the room. Black tablecloths overlaid with white linen covered tables. Old trailer footage, donated by Regal Cinemas, which had been cut up into squares by the Variety School children, was strewn around the tables like confetti, along with gold star glitter confetti. Long streamers of film were curled around votives and held by red ribbons. At each place was the official Academy Awards program given to the guests at the Kodak Theatre.
The Oscar telecast played on four huge screens around the room while guests supped on a buffet that included hearty stations and miniature pastries. There were also tables on each side of the V.I.P. area where the general admission folks could sit and watch. A silent auction offered about 32 items.
“We wanted to make people feel that they were watching the Oscars in their own living room, which is why we set up the food buffet style,” said Denna Atkinson, director of Oscar Night America for Variety the Children’s Charity of Southern Nevada. “During every commercial break, we had entertainment by alternating magicians Lance Burton, Jeff Hobson, and Michael Goudeau. We’d raffle off big-ticket items with Chet Buchanan from CBS Broadcasting. Elvis and Marilyn Monroe impersonators helped us to keep the audience entertained.”