Oscar Night America kicks off 14th year

Dec 13, 2006 by Ian Evans

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is celebrating the 14th year of Oscar Night America, a grassroots program that enables charities to host glamorous Oscar® viewing parties. 49 charities in as many cities will host official Oscar viewing parties during the 79th Academy Awards ceremony.

“We created Oscar Night America to let people across the country participate in the excitement of the Academy Awards festivities,” said Academy Executive Director Bruce Davis. “The fact that the viewing parties benefit local charities is an added bonus.”

For the first time, Oscar Night America will host a Latino ONA party in Los Angeles.

Most parties are black-tie affairs, though some are less formal. Event organizers have been known to request partygoers to dress up as famous couples, and some feature limousine arrivals, red carpets, local celebrities, photographers (or paparazzi) and press interviews with arriving guests.

To set these parties apart from the thousands of other events taking place on Oscar Night, each ONA party receives from the Academy copies of the official commemorative poster and the official Oscar show program.

Only one charity party in a given market may participate in ONA. Events are entirely produced by local nonprofit organizations, with the active participation of the local ABC-TV affiliate station.

Last year 47 charities hosted viewing parties for the 78th Academy Awards, raising nearly $2.5 million, all of it remaining in local communities. With more than 16,300 guests attending nationwide, ONA 2006 benefited such charities as the American Diabetes Association, the American Red Cross, the Miami Beach Film Society, Ronald McDonald House, Special Olympics Texas, and the Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation.

Since its inception, the program has generated nearly $17.5 million in funding for a wide spectrum of charitable organizations — every cent staying within the community where it was raised.