Folsomites walk down the red carpet for Academy Awards party

By: Laura Newell, Telegraph staff writer
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Just as actors and actresses prepare for the biggest award show of their lives, one Folsom woman prepares for the Oscars right along with them. Babe Poe, 68, of Folsom has held the “Babe Poe’s Annual Academy Awards Party” for the past 18 years and is gearing up for number 19 this weekend. “Movies are therapeutic,” she said. “I have never acted, I don’t like to be on the stage, but I love the idea of where a movie can take me. It’s my love.” Living in the Bay Area, Poe had her first Academy Awards party at her home in San Jose — with paper plates — watching the show on a 19-inch black and white television. Now in the Pinebrook clubhouse with a large flat screen TV, it’s easy to say that her party has come a long way. Five years ago she moved into Pinebrook in Folsom and turns the clubhouse into a festive Oscar atmosphere every February. “This is the biggest event of the year for me. It’s bigger than Christmas,” she said. “The day after Christmas, I start planning for my big Academy Awards party.” For her and her friends, she said a movie brings back memories of days long ago of first dates and popcorn. The party not only will be open to local residents, it will also bring in past friends from the Bay and far away, said Poe. “People will walk in the ‘red carpet’ on their own personal ‘star,’” she said. “Then they get to take their star home with them. I just want to share my passion of films with other movie people who like to watch and enjoy movies.” Poe said part of the Oscar fun is dressing up as the feature film of the year or as old favorites. “It’s a chance for friends to be wild and wicked, it’s great,” she said. “I think this is an important tradition because movies, number one, are entertaining and educational. Movies bring us back to the reality of who we are, where we are going and who we once were.” She said her passion for film has grown over the years. “When I was young I came from a dysfunctional family and as an escape I would run off to the movies for the whole day,” she said. “I am a twin to a boy. The movies were the babysitter — watching news reels, cartoons and movies. During my marriage of 21 years I would run off to a movie after a fight with my husband. He didn’t have to find me at a bar, but in a movie.” She said, now in her senior years, she enjoys going to the movies at a senior rate. “I go three times a week,” she said. “I once quit my good job with benefits at HP for a summer to work at a Century Theater to learn the ins and outs – from taking tickets to making popcorn, to changing movie reels.” Stephanie Van Doorn, 50, of Sunnyvale, is one friend who travels every year to attend Poe’s Oscar party. “It’s not just going to the movies when you go with Babe, it’s a fun and memorable event,” Van Doorn said. “This party is so important to her, and she makes it so much fun. She makes us feel like movie stars. The party gives us a chance to experience the movies like we are on a red carpet. She gives us the chance to walk in like we are at the Oscars. It’s an exciting experience and I love it” Van Doorn said Poe is “one in a million.” “She is a joy to be around and makes every little thing exceptional,” Van Doorn said. Poe said this year it looks to be an exciting awards show. “I wasn’t excited so much last year knowing that the ‘Black Swan’ would walk away with everything,” Poe said. “This year we have nine wonderful movies nominated.” She said movies can take a person to another time – like ‘Avatar’ did. “When your body begins to give out and you are no longer able to go play golf or bowl on a league, you go to the movies,” Poe said. “It’s the only place you can fall in love, laugh your head off or be scared to death for two hours.”