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The Brits know how to have an Oscars party

Published: February 24, 2012 | 10:29 am
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The British community in LA has found its own ways of celebrating the Oscars, finds new arrival James Aldous

The Oscars. Heard of them? Of course you have, dahling. Perhaps the world’s most famous awards ceremony, the 84th Academy Awards, takes place this month in Hollywood, honouring the great and good of showbusiness.

Los Angeles greets awards season each year with eager anticipation, and as a first-timer here I’m beginning to get a sense of how seriously Angelenos take their awards season parties, as invites start spinning around.

I’m particularly intrigued by everyone’s need to have an “added bonus” at their party. It’s simply not enough to use it as an opportunity to get together with friends and watch the ceremony on TV, you’ve got to have an element of Hollywood embedded within. “Come watch it with me and Jack – he’s a set designer on that NBC show”, or “We should head over to Gwen’s, you know she did the casting for one of the best picture nominees?” There’s no escaping the business in this entertainment-obsessed film capital.

Whilst getting into the official Oscars ceremony is a bit like scoring a front row seat at a royal wedding, the British community in LA, true to our stoic spirit, seems to decide that if you can’t join them, beat them. And with The Toscars – a humorous awards party with five-and-a-half minute parodies of the main nine shortlisted best picture nominations recreated by British actors – beat them they did this week. Now in its fifth year, actors like Shaun Parkes (Spielberg’s The River), Emrhys Cooper (Desperate Housewives) and Judi Shekoni (Twilight Breaking Dawn) were amongst the luminaries who assembled on Tuesday to watch and compete for the chance to take home the coveted “golden fist” statue.

Some of the skits included The Con-Artist (a parody of best picture nominee The Artist), The Degenerates (The Descendents) and a Jewish re-working of The Help, titled The Chelp. Humour was the name of the game and each short brought cries of laughter from the hundreds who gathered at a Hollywood nightclub to view the shortlist.

The team of judges included British TV veteran Bradley Walsh who, when asked what it means for the British community here in LA to poke fun at the business that has defined the city, said: “Sometimes you get lost in a lot of pomp and ceremony – and we know how to do that in our country. But to join in and take a different slant at the Oscars, on their doorstep, I think is very brave, I really do.
“I’ve never been in America during awards season and I don’t know what to expect really. Tonight is a funny old British slant on the Oscars and I’m looking forward to it.”

If you’re here on the West Coast and looking for ways to spend the awards ceremony evening, you have a few options. Notable Brits that will be entertaining and being entertained this week include Elton John, with his legendary party in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation. Some 900 people are expected to attend and watch the Oscar ceremony live at his event in West Hollywood, including regulars Simon Cowell, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne. The event raised over $4 million last year, and the good news is, it’s not strictly invite-only and tickets can be bought from the EJAF website.

If you’re after something a little more low-key, then you can always pop along to Brit favourite in Santa Monica, Ye Olde King’s Head pub (116 Santa Monica Boulevard) who’ll be showing the awards ceremony on screen live throughout the evening. So too will The Cat & Fiddle, another Brit hangout at 6530 Sunset Boulevard.
It won’t be quite the same experience as Angelina Jolie et al will be having – but at least you’ll be able to enjoy a decent British beer.


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