My Annual Oscar Fete


I’m going off-script (pun intended) to share one of my other passions besides operational excellence: the movies. Maybe it came from living for 12 years in Santa Monica, surrounded by celebrities, directors, producers, costume and set designers, script supervisors, DPs (director of photography), etc. (Yes, I have TMZ-worthy stories.)

But I LOVE the movies. It’s one of three ways I can escape completely from the hard work that accompanies the business or organizational transformation. (The other two are cooking and yoga.)

I’ve hosted my Oscar party for 15 years. It varies slightly from year to year, but there are some norms: red carpet (unless it rains), white lights, food themed to the best picture nominees, and cardboard cutouts of Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, and of course Oscar himself. Oh, and five dozen balloons (silver, gold, and black).

Dress is “whatever floats your boat,” meaning it ranges from tuxes and gowns, to jeans, to a few brave souls who dress in character each year. There’s a competition (ballots sent in advance) with prizes (gift cards for…what else…local movie theaters).

I begin planning a month in advance and have a checklist by the week for the first two weeks, by the day for the week preceding the big day, and by the hour on Oscar day. It’s quite the production!

Not everyone’s into the movies and not everyone’s into award shows. But in case you are, here are a few resources you might enjoy:

  • I love excellence of all sorts and this article shows how details matter. A lot.
  • My fav film (but one that I don’t think will win) is Zero Dark Thirty. Imagine writing a script that had to keep being revised to keep up with current events. And imagine trying to get people closest to the situation to talk. I’m a big-time Boal fan and am rooting for him for best screenplay.
  • One of the movie categories I rarely pay much attention to are the shorts. But the more I get into subtraction, less is more, Lean everything, etc., the more I like Haiku, movie shorts, and Twitter. Enjoy watching these short gems.

In case you’re curious about my menu, appetizers include Philly Cheesesteaks (Silver Linings Playbook), Samosas (homemade by my Pakistani friends), raw veggies and Trader Joe’s Cilantro Hummus, Trader Joe’s spiced pecans, and my usual platter of 4 cheeses, Calienti salami, crackers, Castelvetrano and Cerignola olives, and red grapes. I’m making the main course (four Indian dishes for Life of Pi) and desserts (chocolate mousse for Amour and apple tarte tatin (combo Amour & Lincoln). Yum.

Speaking of that, I need to get back to the kitchen! Enjoy!


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