Heartland Oscar Party

By: Gary Smollen Email
By: Gary Smollen Email

The city of Omaha had its Oscar hopes too, in a way. Omaha provided the backdrop for two Oscar nominated actors. In addition to George Clooney and Anna Kendrick, "Up in the Air" was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director, but the star of a local Oscar party was far from glamorous.

Back in April Omaha was full of "Clooney sightings" from Eppley to the Old Market many people were keeping their eyes open for the actor.

After seeing "Up in the Air" Alisha Palagi was unimpressed. Alisha Palagi says, "I didn't think there was anything special about it, I mean he fires people." Alisha prefers "The Blindside" but disliked "Avatar", and really hated "Up in the Air"

Alisha Palagi says, "I hated "Up in the Air" it was depressing I don't like the way they depicted Omaha and I wanted to kill myself after I saw it."

Alisha says a more accurate portrayal of Omaha is tonight's Oscar party. It shows the kind of people who make the Heartland home.

The evening is all about the glitz and glamour of Hollywood but the evening here in the Heartland has a deeper purpose, and that is to help the Alzheimer’s Association Midlands Chapter.

The dinner and auctions raised money that will go directly to help Alzheimer’s families, from education, to prevention, to just giving Alzheimer’s families a break.

Duane Gross says, "That's part of what we do also is respite program to give the caregiver a break from that awesome routine of taking care of somebody with dementia."

Gross says there are 106,000 people in Nebraska and Iowa living with the disease and any money raised here will help.

The fact that it is a fun evening, with opinions on movies and awards as varied as the people attending the event is a plus.

Travis Freeman did not like “Up in the Air” because of the way it portrayed Omaha, but thinks he has seen Hollywood’s future in “Avatar.”

Travis Freeman says, "There were a lot of really cool special effects in that movie I think it really kind of launched the 3-D era of movies coming out and you're seeing a lot more movies coming out in 3-D."

There is a sense that the movie "Up in the Air" cast Omaha in an extremely negative light, one that offended people to the degree that it soured them on every aspect of the film.

But most are willing to give Hollywood another chance if they ever want to use Omaha as a location again.


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