Metro Weekly

The DC Film Society Throws a Great Oscars Watch Party

The DC Film Society will hold its annual Oscars viewing party this Sunday, March 12, at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse.

Oscar statuettes

Who will win the Oscar horse race in 2023? A better and more important question may be: Where do you plan to watch this year’s Oscar horse race? The 95th Academy Awards will be doled out in a ceremony at L.A.’s Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 12, with ABC’s main coverage starting at 8 p.m.

If you don’t yet have viewing plans, but appreciate independent film, and especially even aspire to become a more active member of a film-supportive community, consider the DC Film Society’s 30th Annual Oscar Night Party.

The goings-on from Hollywood’s biggest night as captured on ABC will be projected onto the big screen at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse during the party, appropriately named “And The Winner Is…”

Prior to the start of ABC’s live broadcast and also during commercial breaks in the program, partygoers will hear insider insights and critical commentary from two well-connected D.C.-based film critics, Tim Gordon, president of the Washington Area Film Critics Association, co-founder of the Black Reel Awards, and director of the area’s pandemic-born LightReel Film Festival, and Travis Hopson, co-founder of the Punch Drunk Critics blog whose movie reviews are also regularly heard on broadcast stations including WJLA’s 7 News DC and WETA.

Organizers will also have various movie memorabilia and cultural goods up for bid in a Silent Auction, with specific items including an Everything Everywhere All at Once poster signed by Oscar nominee Stephanie Hsu, The Outfit poster signed by its director Graham Moore (also an Oscar-winning screenwriter for Imitation Game), The Son poster signed by its writer/director and previous Oscar winner Florian Zeller (The Father), poster signed by gay singer Orville Peck, and Jackie & Me novel by gay D.C.-based author Louis Bayard. There will also be a “Predict the Winners” contest anyone can participate in, and food and drink available for purchase from the Drafthouse.

And the best part about it is, all proceeds from the event go toward the good cause of the film society and its parent entity, Filmfest DC, the Washington, DC International Film Festival. (This year’s 37th Filmfest DC is set for April 20-30.)

You don’t have to become a member of the society to attend the event, but one of the perks of doing so is the free advanced movie screenings for members offered throughout the year. Society members were granted “first look” access to 14 of the current crop of Oscar-nominated films, including eight of the 10 Best Picture nominees — only missing All Quiet on the Western Front and Triangle of Sadness — as well as Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Fire of Love, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Empire of Light, Babylon, and Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris.

Membership isn’t likely to make you a better prognosticator — although it couldn’t hurt — just as assessing nominees’ prospects for winning based on their box office numbers is more likely to lead to fool’s gold than a golden statue. That said, it can still make for an interesting angle from which to view the Best Picture race in particular.

From that purview, this year shows only two nominees among the Top 10 highest-grossing films of 2022. Of course it was the two sequels among the batch, with Top Gun: Maverick shooting to the top to win the 2022 U.S. box office (with nearly $718 million in domestic grosses). Yet that blockbuster was out-topped globally by Avatar: The Way of Water (grossing a whopping $2.3 billion compared to Top Gun‘s $1.5 billion).

Ultimately, however, Avatar isn’t considered among the Best Picture frontrunners. But Top Gun is. Furthermore, the Tom Cruise vehicle would be far and away the winner if the Oscars were based on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. The site currently lists Top Gun with a 96 percent Certified Fresh Tomatometer score, which puts it tied at the top among nominees with The Banshees of Inisherin.

Dig a little deeper and you find Top Gun with a 99 percent audience rating and the Irish black comedy a paltry 75 percent with audiences. Meanwhile, Everything Everywhere All at Once is only 1 percent lower on the Tomatometer, at 95 percent, plus a decent 88 percent audience rating. That leaves Top Gun and Everything Everywhere… leading the pack, with the absurdist comedy-drama increasingly the one to beat as a result of its scooping up many other major industry awards.

What about Avatar, you ask? The 2022 global box office champ is barely holding onto its certified fresh label, with a relatively low 76 percent Tomatometer score — which puts the James Cameron behemoth at the bottom, lower than every other nominee except for Triangle of Sadness, which has a 72 Tomatometer score. The only other nominee with a score lower than 90 percent is Elvis, at 77 percent.

Sunday, March 12. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike. Tickets are $15 for members, or $20 for non-members (an annual membership is only $26 per person).

Visit or call 703-486-2345.

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