Costumed ‘celebrities’ mark Tacoma’s Oscars at Grand party

Staff writerMarch 2, 2014 

As Meryl Streep made a scene in the lobby of the Theatre on the Square on Sunday — and Jack Nicholson called to her from across the room — the costumes and gowns at Tacoma’s Oscar party were as elaborate as those at the real deal.

The Grand Cinema organized the viewing party, which included a costume contest and local red carpet on which guests could have their photos taken.

“People will be oohing, ahhing, groaning, cheering,” said Grand director of marketing Zach Powers before the party.

Grand board member Jordan Hightower was one of the hosts of the Tacoma show, along with president Mitch Robinson.

“This is how Ellen feels now, right?” she asked Powers beforehand, referring to Academy Awards host Ellen DeGeneres. “Really excited?”

Sisters Emily and Elysa Saito of Eatonville walked Tacoma’s red carpet as Theodore and Samantha from the movie “Her,” about a man who falls in love with a female computer operating system.

Elysa wore a cardboard-box costume as Samantha. Mom Anita Saito seemed particularly amused by Emily’s depiction of Theodore, with dark glasses and a toothbrush mustache.

“She’s actually a Daffodil princess,” mom said with a laugh.

A man dressed as an Oscar podium — a cardboard box resting on his shoulders and a black nylon mask resembling a microphone — performed around the party with his costume counterpart, a woman who generically referred to herself as “the winner” and kept thanking the academy.

At one point the podium, Richard Andersen, broke into show tunes when he decided to cut Kim Bedier of Tacoma off mid-acceptance speech.

“I don’t have time,” screeched Joanne Lisosky, a dead ringer for Meryl Streep’s character in “August: Osage County,” when asked for comment in the theater’s lobby.

“Shut up,” she said in character. “Shut up!”

Jack Nicholson, cigar in hand and hair slicked back, called to her from across the room.

“Meryl, baby!” Dick Dudley of Northeast Tacoma hollered. “You remember our movie ‘Heartburn,’ don’t you?”

And then there were the celebrities flashing on the big screen with the glitz and glamor of the true red carpet.

One of the gowns some in the Tacoma crowd especially liked was Cate Blanchett’s sheer, full-length dress with nude underlay and sequins that shrank as they reached her neck.

“It blends into her skin,” said Christine Lawson of Sumner.

Commentators seemed wowed by Leonardo DiCaprio’s navy tux, too, she said.

John and Pat Griffith of Tacoma said the blue champagne bubble dress worn by Lupita Nyong’o, actress in “12 Years a Slave,” really stood out.

“That was very nice,” John Griffith said. “She worked with Prada to develop it.”

But those on the big screen weren’t the only ones dressed to stun.

“The press, the paparazzi, oh my gosh!” said Ruby Star in the lobby of the Tacoma theater. She wore a vintage sky-blue halter gown.

Kathleen Kjelgaard of Federal Way sported a floor-length champagne gown of satin and lace.

She came with Lonnie Ledbetter of Tacoma, who seemed to impress by taking her to the party after they’ve been together for six weeks.

“He knows how to wine and dine,” Kjelgaard said.

She wasn’t sure whether she’d take part in the costume contest.

“People say I look like Helen Hunt,” she said as she waited in line to have her photo taken on the red carpet. “I don’t know. There’s a lot of competition.”

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268


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