Residents of Chicago will join in the festivities when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences stages its 81st Annual Academy Awards presentation on Sunday, February 22, 2009, by attending Chicago's only Academy-sanctioned Oscar Night America party, hosted by the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The Chicago party is one of 53 official parties that will be held across the country this year on Oscar Night.
The Oscar Night America-Chicago celebration will be at the Gene Siskel Film Center, located at 164 N. State St., from 6:00 p.m. to midnight.
Guests will watch the Academy Awards telecast presented in the Film Center's two state-of-the-art movie theaters through the courtesy of ABC 7, the Chicago affiliate of the ABC Television Network, which broadcasts the Oscar presentation. It marks the 15th year that this Chicago party has been officially sanctioned by the Academy.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences established the Oscar Night America program in 1994.
"Sharing the excitement of Oscar Night in a way that aids so many local communities makes the evening that much more special," said Academy Executive Director Bruce Davis.
The benefit at the Gene Siskel Film Center will begin at 6:00 p.m. with a dinner buffet generously donated by Food For Thought. Klieg lights will light up the sky as guests walk the red carpet. There will also be a silent auction. At 7:00 p.m., the live High-Definition telecast of the 81st Annual Academy Awards will begin. Suggested apparel for the evening is business or red carpet attire.
Tickets to Oscar Night America-Chicago are $150/General Admission (Gallery/Cafe seating only) and $250/VIP (seating in Theater 1). Tickets must be purchased in advance-there will be no sales at the door the day of the event. Valet parking is available for $15 or guests may park their cars at the InterPark Self-Park-which offers discounted parking for $14 for nine hours-at 20 E. Randolph St. Call the Film Center at 312-846-2072 for tickets and information.
Benefit co-chairs are David Hundley and Bill Marcus. Chicago Committee members are Ellen Sandor and Kristin Anderson.
Oscar Night America-Chicago is supported this year by sponsors ABC 7 Chicago, Food For Thought, Ellen and Richard Sandor Family Foundation, Time Out Chicago, and True Partners Consulting.
Silent Auction prizes to-date include wine packages; sports tickets, including a party with box seats at Arlington Race Track, White Sox tickets, and Blackhawks skybox tickets; tickets to The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, and Rachel Ray Show; tickets to Victory Gardens Theater, Goodman Theatre, and Second City; Time Out package featuring dinner and a movie with Film Editor Hank Sartin and a one-year subscription to the magazine; restaurant offerings including a catered party from Big Bowl and gift certificates to Passion, Sinha, and Rockit Ranch and Grill; cooking classes; yoga, massage, and spa packages; shopping gift certificates; and Zipcar one-year membership and gift certificate.
Official Oscar Night parties last year raised $3.3 million for local charities in 51 cities at parties attended by approximately 16,000 people. All raised money stays in the community; none of it goes to the Academy. Proceeds from Oscar Night America-Chicago support the Gene Siskel Film Center's educational and programming initiatives throughout the year.
Celebrating 37 years of excellent film programming, the Gene Siskel Film Center selects and presents significant world cinema in a non-commercial context that sets aesthetic, critical and entertainment standards. To this end, the Gene Siskel Film Center exhibits a range of carefully curated film art in technically excellent facilities, and educates the audience, setting film in an historical and cultural context through courses, lectures, panel discussion, and publications, and through research and collections. As an integral part of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Gene Siskel Film Center further enhances the educational mission of the school and promotes a dialogue between disciplines.
A leader in educating artists and designers for 143 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago offers undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 2,800 students from around the world. In addition to the time-honored study of painting, sculpture, printmaking, and design, SAIC's studio programs embrace film and new media, electronic and sound arts, and creative writing. To complement its studio programs, SAIC offers academic degrees in disciplines from art history to arts administration, visual and critical studies to historic preservation. Located in the heart of Chicago, the School promotes contemporary discourse about art and design through venues such as the Gene Siskel Film Center, Video Data Bank, Betty Rymer Gallery, Gallery 2, the Division of Continuing Studies, and in conjunction with the Poetry Center.