"We created Oscar Night America to let people across the country participate in the excitement of the Academy Awards festivities," said Academy Executive Director Bruce Davis. "The fact that the viewing parties benefit local charities is an added bonus."
Most parties are black-tie affairs, though some are less formal. Some partygoers dress up as famous couples, and some events feature limousine arrivals and red carpets complete with local celebrities, paparazzi and press interviews for arriving guests.
To set these parties apart from the thousands of other events taking place on Oscar Night, each ONA party receives from the Academy copies of the official commemorative poster and the official Oscar show program among other items.
Only one charity party in a given market may participate in ONA. Events are entirely produced by local nonprofit organizations, with the active participation of the local ABC-TV affiliate station.
Last year, 52 charities hosted viewing parties for the 81st Academy Awards, raising over $3 million, all of it remaining in local communities. With close to 16,000 guests attending nationwide ONA 2009 benefited such charities as the American Diabetes Association, the American Red Cross, the Ronald McDonald House, Special Olympics, the United Way, and the Ellie Fund for Breast Cancer Research.