Hillix’s fourth annual Girls Academy Oscar Party featured a red carpet, Champagne, gift bags and posters from many of the nominated movies. And the 27 women in attendance were dressed like they were prepared to give an acceptance speech.
“It gets a little bigger, we have a few more people and we do more decorating every year,” Hillix said of the party, held in her home just southwest of Marietta.
The event grew out of a sad time for Hillix. She needed to stay around her house to help her husband, Gaines Hillix, while he was fighting terminal pancreatic cancer. So instead of going to the movies, she invited friends over each Sunday to watch Oscar-nominated films. After he died after 40 years of marriage in 2008, Charlotte Hillix returned to actively seeing movies in the theater, but the tradition of watching them at home continued, as well.
So, of course, the next step from watching Oscar nominated films was to go all out for the Oscars, Charlotte Hillix said.
The event has had its ups and downs — such as the time when one attendee caught fire after posing with Roger, a mannequin who serves as the event’s mascot and is stationed right in front of a fireplace — but they always have a good time.
“We’re all good friends, and it’s just fun,” she said.
Everyone is responsible for contributing homemade food to the event.
Items included smoked salmon, marinated shrimp and strawberries dipped in chocolate colored to look like tuxedos.
Carol Webb of Powder Springs has been a fan of the movies since the days of Katharine Hepburn and Greta Garbo. Even at age 89, Webb, whose favorite nominated movie is “Argo,” can still talk current movies with the other members of Girls Academy.
“We look forward to it all year long,” Webb said of the party. “Just all the glam and glitz and seeing all my young friends.”
While husbands can come by and hang out before the telecast begins, they have to leave the party during the awards show, said Hillix, who said she saw every Best Picture nominee, with her favorite being “Les Miserables.” The party is an exclusive event for women, as well.
“So many people want to come, and we say, ‘You can’t do it,’” Charlotte Hillix said. “Because we want everybody to have a seat for the Oscars.”
Charlotte Hillix’s enjoyment of film fuels the event, said neighbor Mimi Craig.
“She loves every single movie,” said Craig, whose favorite movie last year was “The Impossible.” “She has to have a lot of people go to the movies with her.”
The women were excited about the opening last year of the nearby NCG Marietta Cinemas, giving them a place to watch new movies close by.
The theater donated a number of goodies and posters for the party.
Craig’s daughter, Julia Craig, who lists her favorite movies last year as a tie between “The Impossible,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Django Unchained,” said she grew up watching movies at the Hillix house.
She still loves going over on Sundays to watch old black-and-white Oscar winners.
“I love for us to have a set night and be around each other and talk about the movies afterward,” she said. “We’re best friends.”