Want to watch this year’s Academy Awards in real time in London? It’s not going to be easy, unless you have a pricey satellite TV package (from $50 a month), can afford a suite at the Ritz ($1,100 and up) or are a member of an exclusive media watering hole like Soho House, where membership runs $1,000 or so a year.
While millions of Americans will gather in living rooms and bars to watch the show on ABC, Oscar devotees in England have had to hunt far and wide for a place to watch live to see whether fellow Brits Imelda Staunton, Mike Leigh and Sophie Okonedo emerge victorious.
For the past three years, the Oscars were shown live through the night on the BBC; then satcaster BSkyB nabbed the rights in an effort to bolster subscriptions. A BBC rep said it wasn’t worth paying top dollar for a live transmission that goes out when most Brits are asleep. (The live telecast begins at 1 a.m. Blighty time.)
But even those who have purchased the normal Sky package won’t have access to the full Oscar ceremony; that will be available only to those who have purchased Sky Movies. That’s what cuts out much of the populace as well as such top-tier hotels as One Aldwych, the Savoy and the Covent Garden Hotel. (The Ritz, however, has the whole shebang.)
Roughly 60% of Sky subscribers (who number 7.4 million households total) also take a movie package option.
Sara Keene, CEO of Premier PR, the international entertainment praisery, is planning a last-minute Oscar bash at a Soho screening room to accommodate 25 nocturnal souls.
“I wanted to see if I could still make it through the night,” cracked Keene, who last sat through a complete Oscarcast the year she was handling “The English Patient.”