It's a rare privilege to attend the Academy Awards, and I couldn't be more tickled about the fact that a well-placed relative has invited...

It’s a rare privilege to attend the Academy Awards, and I couldn’t be more tickled about the fact that a well-placed relative has invited me to traipse the red carpet several years in a row. I know I’m lucky to sit among the stars on Hollywood’s biggest night, but the truth is, there are many reasons it’s better to watch the Oscars at home.

10. At home, you can be pretty sure you aren’t disappointing anyone by showing up.

The screaming fans lining the streets leading to the Kodak theater are so desperate to glimpse a movie star they beg everyone in the passing limos to “Roll down your windows!” When my family emerges, however, those eager faces turn crestfallen and seem to accuse, “How could you be so nonfamous?”

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9. There is simply no graceful way to exit a limo.

Emerging from the low-slung vehicle requires a hunched, splayed posture that does not assist in the constant struggle to keep straps up, ankles untwisted, hemlines un-trod-upon, and private parts appropriately covered. The resulting ungainly sprawl only intensifies the madding crowd’s disgust with one’s appalling lack of stardom.

8. At home, your fellow audience members acknowledge your existence.

Whether you’re at an Oscar viewing party or watching at home with your cat, some kind of eye contact is likely to be a part of your evening. Not so at the Academy Awards. If you aren’t there to “be seen,” you aren’t seen at all. I entered the theater inches away from Johnny Depp and did I even get a hello? No. (Which, upon further reflection, is probably best since had he done so I might have passed out.)


Orlando Bloom on the red carpet. At a post-Oscars ball, he walked away from the table full of unkowns where he was slated to sit.

7. Unlimited restroom access.

At home, you can visit the bathroom without being penalized. At the Oscars, you may only exit and enter the theater during commercial breaks. As you wait in the lobby, feeling chastised for your pathetic and nonglamorous bodily needs, the best part of the show inevitably occurs. That’s why this year I took a no-liquid, crossed-leg, endurance approach. Thank goodness the show was the shortest it had been in years!

6. The joy of sweatpants.

‘Nuf said.

5. You see the show as it’s meant to be seen.

Because producer Gil Cates doesn’t want camera shots of audience members craning their heads toward the monitors, we aren’t shown what’s being televised. That means instead of the latest million-dollar commercials, we see what’s basically a screen saver of spinning Oscar statuettes. Instead of appreciating artful dissolves between Carlos Santana’s hands and Antonio Banderas’ smolder, we become fixated on the fact that the guitar legend is chewing gum.

4. Freedom of expression.

At home, should your sister be inspired to do an unflattering yet spot-on impression of Renée Zellweger’s squinty smile, there’s no chance that her “work” will be caught on a live television feed and broadcast to an estimated 40 million domestic viewers. (Luckily, this did not happen, despite ample opportunities.)

3. Freedom of speech.

At home, should you want to make goofy demands at the top of your lungs, no one is likely to care. At the Board of Governors Ball (which is catered by Wolfgang Puck and immediately follows the telecast), however, should you find it funny to shout, “Where are my damn ahi tuna horns?” the server assigned to your table may award you a terse smile … not unlike Zellweger’s. Trust me, I speak from experience.

2. Full use of your retinas.

In the tastefully darkened luxury of the ballroom, the barrage of flashbulbs that ensues every time an award winner arrives at a neighboring table is akin to playing “who’ll blink first” with the sun.

1. Dinner companions who think you’re cool enough to sit with.

At the ball, we were slated to sit with Julia Roberts and Orlando Bloom. But when Mr. Bloom and his guest approached the table and noticed me and my sisters sitting there, he turned tail and left the room. (“Maybe he just stepped out for a smoke?” one sister posited, like a hopeful nerd at the prom.) Ms. Roberts lingered excitingly near the table for a time, and one of her entourage made clear that the superstar wanted to sit in the chairs we had chosen, so we shuffled seats and drinks and shawls. And then she left, too. Our spirits lifted when we saw Charlie Kaufman clutching his Oscar for best original screenplay and eyeing our table. Perhaps we’d have an unexpected guest! But it turned out he was only assessing our antipasti platter, and after grabbing one of the “smoked salmon Oscar matza,” he left, too.

As the big night drew to a close, my family was sitting along one side of an otherwise empty table — kind of like The Last Supper, except with satin napkins and sweet Maine lobster “en croute” with black winter truffles from Perigord.

Brangien Davis: