I’m in Salt Lake City, Utah filming an ABC Family movie so for Oscar weekend, and my days off, we decided to head to Park City for a couple days of R&R and so the boys could ski. We all settled into the cozy couch and fireplace in our hotel room to watch The Oscars on TV. As I sat in sweats with my hubby, two toddlers running around screaming “why aren’t we watching SpongeBob?!” sipping a hot chocolate and holding my 4 month old Hattie, I took a moment to reflect on just how drastically Oscar nights had changed for me.

I am so much happier watching them with my family and being cozy rather than being all done up and out at some big Oscar viewing party. Then, I flashed back to my most memorable Oscar night…

It was 1991. I was almost 18 and my bestie Mehran had just turned 16. 90210 was on and was on its way to becoming a mega success. Suddenly I had gone from watching The Oscars from my TV in my rose patterned pink room at my parents’ illustrious Manor, to being sent invites to several viewing parties in town. I was over the moon. I quickly phoned Mehi and asked him to be my date to what was to be my first and a very prominent Oscar viewing party at The Mondrian. He promptly accepted and told me he’d pick me up. He was very excited that five months prior he had gotten his first car, a green BMW.

On the day, I sprayed my hair to the nines, outlined overdrawn red lips, and shimmied myself into a black skintight stretchy Alaia mermaid gown with black platforms. Mehran picked me up in a dapper dark suit and we headed to our big Oscar night out. We arrived on time to the viewing party (we didn’t know then that Hollywood etiquette arrival is an hour late). As we wandered through the hotel I looked everywhere for the press line/red carpet but only found a lone waiter who said “viewing party? First door to your right.” We swept through the heavy double doors to find a vastly empty room with a makeshift projection screen and a bar jammed into the corner. A ballroom would have been fancy but this was clearly a conference room with 20 gold balloons gracing its ceiling. Aside from the “first door to the right” waiter who had slid into the room behind us now with a platter of fried won tons and a peanut dipping sauce and a young bartender who looked pissed to be there (or maybe he was a soon-to-be discovered fabulous gay party planner who was equally horrified at the Mylar balloons and plastic metallic confetti that was dumped on his bar) we were the only ones at the party.

I quickly checked my invite folded in fours in my clutch and shrugged as I saw that we had the right time for this soirée. I turned to Mehran embarrassed and said “my manager promised it would be the hottest party in town.” Then I felt instantly guilty cause I damn well knew Joey Lawrence wouldn’t be there even though I’d promised he would. Mehran didn’t care. We looked over to the pissed party planner er bartender who now looked to be taking sips out of the filled champagne flutes that sat uncomfortably on top of the overkill gold confetti mounds. We made our way to him. He instantly smiled and said “I know you!” OMG really? Was I being recognized? 90210 had taken off and it was beyond thrilling when someone knew me. Then he said, ” my boyfriend and I just love Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” He quickly shoved a cocktail napkin my way and asked if I could sign my autograph to his boyfriend Adam. I forged Melissa Joan Hart’s name half illegibly (sorry Mel) and handed it back to him as Mehran and I quickly grabbed two flutes of champagne and rushed off leaving the bartender calling after us “I just love that magical black cat!”

We cheered to our first Oscar party and then preyed upon the waiter with the won tons. Free champagne and fried Chinois couldn’t be all bad. Just then we heard the double doors slam open and droves of party bimbos, wannabes, and Hollywood hanger oner’s… I mean guests… filled the room. I saw enough boobs and business cards being flashed to make me dizzy or maybe that was the champagne that I had now finished. We, I mean I, (Mehran was being responsible) decided to grab one more glass of champagne (disclaimer… I know we were underage but when you’re dressed up at what you thought was to be a glamorous party and your bubble is burst sometimes you must drink). I now look back and slap almost 18-year-old Tori on the hand saying “bad girl, bad girl… you should have gone to the party at The Sunset Marquis.”

By the time we headed over to the screen to try to see the Oscars which had started we couldn’t get past the stilettos and permed-to-new-heights hair. We shrugged and found a tall two top cocktail table to stand at. Just then I finally saw another actor enter. He was a promising young TV actor that I recognized. He had a posse and they swept through the room like a wild fire.

From the bar, I caught his gaze. Was he staring at me or was he just another not-out-of-the-closet-yet actor who was lusting at either my Gusband or my Alaia dress. He then waved at me and I coyly smiled back praying he didn’t think I was Melissa Joan Hart too. He walked towards us with 2 champagne glasses in hand. Mehran smiled and said ” no thanks I’m driving” as he brushed past him and handed me my third glass of champagne. He introduced himself and said he knew Brian Austin Green. He said he did music as well. Great, another white actor wannabe rapper (disclaimer… B.A.G had awesome beats and mad moves for a white boy). I smiled and we chatted for… well 2.5 hours as he repeatedly refilled my champagne glass and talked my ear off about his promising career and the Teen Beat photo shoot he had just done.

Mehran always said in my late teens/early 20’s I had myopic vision when it came to cute actor boys. In fact it took me years to come to grips as to why Doogie Howser had snubbed my coy advances at Bar One. Mystery finally solved. At roughly midnight as I wobbled in my black suede platforms and attacked a bowl of maraschino cherries behind the bar because they had run out of won tons hours, Mehran said “I think we should go” as I would say to my always wiser friend for years to come “NO! I don’t wanna.” Then cute actor boy said, “let’s get out of here. You and your friend come to my music studio with us and listen to me lay down some beats.” I shouted with slurred glee “sure” as a disapproving Mehran mouthed “no.” I guess whoever screams louder wins, cause next thing I knew Mehran and I were following their SUV back to his music studio conveniently located in his condo.

We parked on his street and as I went to open the door everything began to spin. Mehran quickly closed my door and started to drive back to my house. I still can remember seeing the spinning pine tree air freshener hanging from Mehran’s rear view mirror in his new car as I turned and puked all over his passenger window, his dashboard, and then all down his new suit. I instantly regretted eating the cherries.

By the time we pulled into my parents driveway I could barely walk. A stoic, puke-covered Mehran came around and picked me up and carried me to my front door. With a knock, my mom and her security guard came out. Without missing a beat Mehran handed dead weight me to the guard. My mom horrified at Mehran in his vomit-riddled suit asked if he’d like to come in and clean up. Breaking his silence he simply said, “I just want to get home. Night,” in what I imagine to be a half whimper. He ran to his car and disappeared into the night.

Damn, I didn’t even know who had won an Oscar. All I knew was I had lost… everything, all over my best friend and his brand new car. So I did what every guilt-ridden person does who is terrified of confrontation… I didn’t call him for two weeks. When I finally did, he accepted my apology and told me although the car looked okay, that his housekeeper had tried everything but still couldn’t get the wonton puke smell out. It’s been 20 years (cringe) and we still laugh over that night. He always says “I can’t believe you didn’t call me for 2 weeks!” Oh and by the way, that cute actor rapper wannabe never became a top 20 artist.

But, I digress. Now, I usually have a hard time deciding who has the most stunning gowns but this year was different. My favorites were clear right away! In no particular order my top 3 favorites were…

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1.Gwyneth Paltrow

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2.Michelle Williams

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3.Emma Stone

And honorable mentions to Rooney Mara and Meryl Streep- who actually made gold lame look good!

When the show started I was beyond happy about Billy Crystal’s return as host. Whenever I thought of The Oscars I thought of Billy Crystal and his fun song and dance. Past years just hadn’t been the same. Watching his triumphant return song I thought back to Madge at the Superbowl. She had been out of the spotlight for a while and watching her I had been a little sad that she didn’t perform as well as she used to (granted for 50 she looked amazing!). Billy, however was as classy, talented, and charming as ever.

I was thrilled when Octavia Spencer won for best supporting actress. She was so amazing in The Help and has really paid her dues in this industry. I kept thinking, “I feel like I’ve worked with her.” Well through the magic of IMDB I discovered we had worked together in a 2003 independent movie called Sol Goode. Well, she sure has come a long way! She looked gorgeous and my waterworks started as soon as she spoke. Just wish she had had a bit more time to say everything she wanted. I hate when they tell them I wrap it up. It’s their big moment they should be allowed to bask in it!

Next, Christopher Plummer won best supporting actor. I adored his performance in Beginners. I also loved that he’s the oldest Oscar winner ever. I’m sure he never thought at 82 he’d be taking home an Oscar. Goes to show it ain’t over till it’s over and that the end is just the beginning. And, personally I’d give him best dressed! He looked elegant, chic, and hip in his velvet tux.

I loved Emma Stone’s bit onstage presenting with Ben Stiller. She might be young but she commanded everyone’s attention with her perfectly timed and delivered comedic bit. I think she’s an upcoming major force to be reckoned with in Hollywood.

Loved Midnight in Paris but was secretly rooting for Kristin Wiig to win for best original screenplay. She’s an amazing talent and a damn funny writer. I love seeing women writing their own comedic vehicles and then taking the box office by storm, which is exactly what she did!

When time came for Best Actress I had my theory. In the past I’ve said that actresses always just miss the mark fashion wise when they win an Oscar. Michelle Williams knocked it out of the park with her gown, which is how I knew she wouldn’t win. My theory was never wrong until this year. I had thought that Meryl would win but when I saw her success with her gold lame gown and Viola Davis’ miss with her green gown I changed my mind. But, Meryl Streep is unstoppable. She broke the streak and looked amazing as she accepted, so graciously, her third Oscar. For generations past, current, and ones to come, I doubt there will ever be anyone who can hold a candle to Meryl Streep’s acting. She is one-of-a-kind and as she said, naysayers can say “oh her again”… but who cares. Yes her again, again and again because no one can become a role so entirely as Meryl Streep. I bow to her greatness.

Everyone was arguing amongst the Gods… would it be George Clooney or Brad Pitt? Well they didn’t have to worry about their friendship staying in tact because they both lost to French actor Jean Dujardin from The Artist. You know you are amazing when you win for a silent movie! Actually he said two words in the film. What a credit to his performance!

And, last but not least was Best Picture, which at this point was no surprise that it went to The Artist. There’s always a film that does some heavy duty sweeping at The Oscars. This year was no exception. Although I would have shouted with glee if The Help won, I was happy The Artist won. I loved it! What an amazing throwback of a film, to an era I’d love to have been a part of. And to think Harvey Weinstein has said that people thought he was crazy for making this film.

And, just like that, another Oscar year had passed. It was a nice night for all and at least this time I didn’t puke on my best friend!

What did you think of last night’s Oscars? And, who was on your Best Dressed list? Let me know in the comments below.

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Photo Credit: Us Magazine, Style Bistro, LA Times

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