12 Years a Slave, one of the movies nominated for an Academy Award this year. The ceremony will be screened on March 2 at a benifit dinner for the Berkeley Film Foundation. Photo:
12 Years a Slave, one of the movies nominated for an Academy Award this year. The ceremony will be screened on Sunday, March 2, at Berkeleywood, a benefit for the Berkeley Film Foundation. Photo: oscar.go.com

The Oscars are coming to downtown Berkeley this year for the first time with a glitzy new event at the Hotel Shattuck Plaza that promises to give those who go a taste of the red carpet, and the chance to support our homegrown movie-making engine, the Berkeley Film Foundation.

Berkeleywood, on Sunday March 2, the night of the 86th Academy Awards broadcast, offers the chance to watch the ceremony live on the big screen while enjoying delicious food and wine prepared by Stephane Tonnelier, executive chef of Five restaurant.

Political satirist Will Durst is the emcee for the evening and the special honored guest is Academy Award winner Rita Moreno.

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Academy Award winner and local resident Rita Moreno will be guest of honor at the inaugural Berkeleywood on March 2.

Other parts of the celebratory evening will include a silent auction, a photo booth, and a ballot prediction. (Get prepared by scouting out all the 2014 nominations, including one documentary made right here in Berkeley, at the Saul Zaentz Media Center.)

The Berkeley Film Foundation funds emerging, independent filmmakers. It says it focuses on supporting the ideals reflected in Berkeley culture: social, historical and innovative documentary and dramatic works. Many of its grant winners have gone on to screen at U.S. and international film festivals, and been recognized with prestigious awards. The non-profit is sustained by the City of Berkeley, Wareham Development and the Saul Zaentz Company, and has given out grants worth $700,000 in the past five years.

The Berkeleywood benefit was conceived by Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan and his wife Rebecca Meehan, who attended a similar type of event in the North Bay, said David Bergad, Executive Director of the Berkeley Film Foundation.

“They came to Barbara Hillman, President of the Berkeley Film Office, and said , ‘why can’t we do this in Berkeley?’, and the idea just snowballed from there,” he said.

Berkeleywood is a collaborative effort, organized by The Downtown Berkeley Association, The City of Berkeley, The Hotel Shattuck Plaza, Berkeley Film Foundation, Visit Berkeley, Berkeley Chamber of Commerce and Gemini Marketing & Promotions. Berkeleyside is the media sponsor.

Doors open at 4:00 p.m. for the red carpet telecast and the awards telecast begins at 5:00 p.m. Guests may arrive in black tie, blue jeans or ball gowns. Tickets are $100 per person. For details and to buy tickets, visit Berkeleywood online.

Oscar nominated film Facing Fear tells story of forgiveness (01.30.14)
Big Screen Berkeley: Oscar-nominated short subjects (01.29.14)
Berkeley’ legendary producer Saul Zaentz dies (01.04.14)
Berkeley Film Foundation to air powerful documentary (01.16.12)
Berkeley’s rich tradition of documentaries finds support (07.11.11)
Berkeley filmmakers’ movie on Latino legal pioneer to air (09.19.11)
Berkeley filmmaker makes comedy about teenage angst (09.12.11)

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...