Gray Duck Oscar party is back after COVID break

Film fans are invited to watch the industry's biggest awards night live at a gala event in Rochester.

Moviegoers watch the Oscar-nominated film "Parasite" on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, at Gray Duck Theater & Coffeehouse in Rochester.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

ROCHESTER — In 2020, Gray Duck Theater and Coffeehouse owner Andy Smith took a personal pride in the Academy Awards judges’ pick for top film.

Korean-language film “Parasite” became the first non-English language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Gray Duck was the first theater in the city to screen it .

That year, the theater held its first-ever Oscars viewing party and Smith shared the moment with friends and other movie fans.

“It was kind of a fan favorite of ours,” he said. “We took a little extra joy in seeing it win.”


Weeks later, Smith was wondering if his theater would survive the year.

The 2020 Oscar party was Gray Duck's last major event before the theater temporarily closed under restrictions to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Smith is once again holding an Oscar viewing party during the awards March 27.

He has to have some reason to wear his burgundy tuxedo.

“I only wear that for the Oscars,” he said.

Oscar viewing parties can run the spectrum from a casual get-together among friends to an event reflecting the extravagance of the Academy Awards themselves.

If his burgundy tuxedo wasn’t enough of a clue, Smith says Gray Duck’s Oscars Party will be toward the extravagant end of the scale.

“We’ll have appetizers, hors d'oeuvres and a photographer on the red carpet,” Smith said.


The awards will be screened on the big screen with giveaways and games during breaks.

Smith said the event is a way to mark both coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and celebrate the films being honored.

This year, Gray Duck again has pushed the envelope, screening the films up for honors months before ceremony leaders will pass the envelope containing the winners.

“It’s always great to know we’re on the right track,” Smith said.

Smith likened the event to other live event watch parties.

“It’s most fun when people get really into what’s being watched,” he said.

A few tickets are still available for the party.

If the event sells out, people can still mark the annual awards by seeing some of the films up for honors.


Smith said he especially recommends seeing best picture nominees “Belfast” and “The Power of the Dog.”

All of the films are worth seeing,” he said. “But the actively atmospheric and visual flare (of ‘Belfast’ and ‘The Power of the Dog’ are definitely something I would not miss on the big screen.”

If you go

What: Oscar party

Where: Gray Duck Theater and Coffeehouse, 619 6th Ave NW

When: Sunday, March 27, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Tickets available at: or, call 322-6465

Oscar nominated films screening at Gray Duck

The Power of the Dog

The Power of the Dog.jpg
The Power of the Dog
Courtesy Netflix

Saturday, March 19, 6 p.m; Sunday, March 20, 4 p.m; Monday, March 21, noon; Tuesday, March 22, 6 p.m; Wednesday, March 23, 9 p.m; Thursday, March 24, 6 p.m; Saturday, March 26, 6 p.m.


Focus Features

Saturday, March 19, 4 p.m; Sunday, March 20, 6:30 p.m; Tuesday, March 22, 4 p.m; Wednesday, March 23, 7 p.m; Thursday, March 24, 4 p.m; Friday, March 25, 9 p.m; Saturday, March 26, 8:30 p.m.

John Molseed joined the Post Bulletin in 2018. He covers arts, culture, entertainment, nature and other fun stories he's surprised he gets paid to cover. When he's not writing articles about Southeast Minnesota artists and musicians, he's either picking banjo, brewing beer, biking or looking for other hobbies that begin with the letter "b." Readers can reach John at 507-285-7713 or
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