MANHATTAN — The Oscars are fast approaching, and as starlets prepare to squeeze into their gowns, Manhattanites are deciding on the best place for their own view of the red carpet.
The 84th Annual Academy Awards will air on Sunday, Feb. 26, live from Hollywood's Kodak Theater.
The A-listers will start flaunting their fashion style and arm candy at 6 p.m. but, wherever you are in Manhattan, there's a party to suit your style.
Want a laugh more than anything else? Joe's Pub is holding its annual Murray Hill Oscar Party with the comedian Murray Hill delivering his acclaimed commentary, as well as improvised and impromptu performances, giveaways and competitions. The venue's full menu and drinks are available on top of the $25 ticket, which covers the show alone. Reserve your place via the website and get there at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show time.
Feel like a restaurant meal while you watch? Griffou, at 21 W 9th St., is hosting an Oscars dinner Sunday night with live coverage of the Academy Awards on screens in each room. A table for the dinner menu (with entrees ranging from $20 to $40) can be booked from 6 p.m. to catch the red-carpet arrivals. A portion of the proceeds from the night will go to the Women's Media Center, founded by Jane Fonda. Walk-ins will be accepted if the venue's not sold out.
Want to dress up? That's encouraged at 92 Y Tribeca, which is hosting an Academy Awards viewing party for $10, including a glass of fizz and entertainment. Food and additional drinks can be purchased separately. Tickets are available online. The mainstage venue at 200 Hudson St. will open at 7:30 p.m.
Want a more highbrow approach? The Paley Center for Media, at 25 W 52nd St., has a theater-sized screen to watch the awards show, and during the breaks, the New York Times film critic A.O Scott and media columnist David Carr will be offering commentary, analysis and insights. The main theater is sold out but Paley is still selling tickets for its satellite theater, with food, drink and prizes for $15 for Paley members and $30 for everyone else. Tickets are available at the box office.
Do celebrities make you thirsty? SideBAR at 118 E. 15th St. at Irving Place is offering free admission to watch the Oscars on multiple HD TVs, with an optional open bar package (two hours of drinking for $50) and various prizes and activities.
Feel like taking it uptown? Washington Heights' Buddha Beer Bar at 4476 Broadway (near 191 Street) has an Uptown Viewing Party with $25 tickets, which include appetizers and selected drinks. Plus, there's a $20-per-ticket, winner-takes-all Oscar pool. RSVP to UptownOscars2012@gmail.com by Saturday and plan for a 7 p.m. start.
Want some live entertainment during the boring bits? Henry's on the Upper West Side will feature oversized screens to broadcast the show, and Broadway talents will entertain the crowd during the commercial breaks. You can roll up on the night, or go on the waiting list for a table by calling. The bar is sold out for the Oscar-viewing party, but there is standing room at the bar for walk-ins.
And while you're sounding off about celebrity chic, cheer on some of the homegrown talents that have a chance at Oscar gold. "Midnight in Paris," a film by hometown hero and movie-making legend Woody Allen,will go head-to-head with Tom Hanks' and Sandra Bullock's 9/11-based film "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" for best picture.
Other best-picture contenders with New York connections are "War Horse," Steven Spielberg's film based on the successful play that is now showing at Lincoln Center, as well as Martin Scorsese's "Hugo."
Brooklyn-based actress Michelle Williams is nominated for best actress in a leading role for the film "My Week With Marilyn," and will be up against Rooney Mara, Glenn Close, Viola Davis and Meryl Streep.
Saturday Night Live cast member Kristen Wiig is up for a writing (original screenplay) Oscar with co-writer Annie Mumolo for "Bridesmaids," and J.C. Chandor is nominated for writing "Margin Call," which is based on the key players in an investment bank during the start of the global financial crisis.
If you want to see some of the nominated films playing this week, the IFC cinema has programs of the Academy Award nominated short films, animated films, and documentary short films. The IFC is also screening Wim Wenders' dance flick "Pina" this week, which is up for the best documentary feature Oscar.
See the IFC's full programs here.