Tara's Take: Oscar Night America

By: Tara Wheeler
By: Tara Wheeler

I was thrilled to be asked to host Oscar Night America at the Paramount Theater along with John Rodgers!

I was thrilled to be asked to host Oscar Night America at the Paramount Theater along with John Rodgers! Guests were invited to wear Hollywood inspired attire and walk the red carpet just like their favorite stars. I have to say that I believe our red carpet fashion rivaled that of the Hollywood A-listers! Everyone was on my "best dressed" list!

It wasn't hard for me to decide what to wear. I wanted to dress like the Oscar award itself! I donned my talent gown from when I competed at Miss America. I was A.) excited that it still fit... and B.) pumped that I had a place to wear it!

Photo by Julius Tolentino

Some people dressed like characters from their favorite movies, some dressed in more classic attire, but everyone made a statement with their style. Guests were greeted at the box office entrance by paparazzi and posed on the red carpet before entering the venue. Then, they were welcomed by a beautiful woman in a pink bedazzled ball gown. She looked fabulous and definitely set the tone for the elegant and extravagant evening.

Once inside, there was plenty of great food from 14 area restaurants... and I'm not talking cheese and crackers here... I'm talking about a really impressive spread of gourmet finger foods. Also, six local vineyards provided tasty wine to top it all off!

Once the Oscars started, they were broadcast on the largest H-D screen in the Commonwealth. During commercial breaks, John and I came out to entertain the crowd with embarrassing stories about ourselves (I once accidentally called basketball star Muggsy Bogues, "Mogus Bogus" and John once mistook "Lactose Free" ice cream with a brand of clothing known for it's alligator logo). We also raffled off amazing prizes.

One funny on stage moment happened when John forgot to remind me to take an index card out of my dress strap. The shoulder piece on my gown was digging into me so I put a big index card under it when we were back stage. I gave John one responsibility and said "Don't let me go onstage with this thing still stuck to my shoulder"... well, I went on stage with that thing still stuck to my shoulder. Fashion statement? Sure...

Backstage, the commercial breaks sometimes came suddenly and John and I had to run from the green room through the windy and confusing backstage area, snatch our mics and run on stage... easy for John... not so easy in a gown and 4-inch heels!

Overall, the event was a blast! The Academy Awards were exciting and entertaining and our home-town event was posh and plenty of fun! There are only 50 Oscar watch parties nation-wide that are officially sanctioned by the Academy... Charlottesville's was the smallest town out of all 50 but you'd never guess from the size and elegance of Oscar Night America at the Paramount!



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