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BOULDER DATE NIGHT: Make it a Hollywood affair with Oscar-inspired weekend date night ideas

There’s something universally exciting about the glitz and glam of Tinseltown. Though we’re more than 1,000 miles from Hollywood’s walk of fame, when the red-carpet display of the 84th annual Academy Awards show starts this Sunday, I’ll bet your lady would like to be watching.

It’s an indulgence that even the granola-y-est among us have a hard time resisting; kibitzing about superstar styles, celebrating the successes of our favorite actors and films, and enjoying a voyeuristic peek into the lives of America’s cultural icons.

The Oscars also vet the best films of the year and provide an easy list of must-see films that, if you haven’t already watched, you can use to guide your next several cinema visits. This weekend, though, there’s more than movie-watching on the agenda. From budget-friendly to full-on fanatical, there are plenty of Oscar-inspired activities around town. Even if your gal doesn’t love watching the red-carpet parade, you can still use the Academy as an excuse for a great date.

Didn’t get a chance to catch up on the still-showing best-picture candidates after the nominations were announced last month? It’s okay — this time. You’re not too late. On Saturday, starting at 12:15 p.m., the Century Theater in the 29th Street Mall (1700 29th St; fandango.com) has a special “Best Picture & Best Director Festival.” A $20 ticket provides access to an all-day lineup of potential winners starting with The Tree of Life, and finishing with a 9:45 p.m. showing of The Descendants. (The festival pass also includes Midnight In Paris at 3 p.m., Hugo at 5 p.m., and The Artists at 7:30 p.m.) You’ll barely have time to sneak out for a bite — but the pass includes discounted popcorn and soda refills and $2 hot dogs. Be warned: Watching more than two movies in a row is like being on an emotional roller coaster, there’s potential for even normally-sane gals to get weepy by the time the tear-jerking George Clooney flick is finished.

Campus’ International Film Series is showing the Academy-nominated shorts — a super-popular program and one of the only ways to catch many of these awesome quick-watching flicks in B-town. You can preview all five of the whimsical and innovative animated shorts tonight and tomorrow (Thurs. and Fri., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.; Muenzinger Auditorium; internationalfilmseries.com) and/or four of the nominated documentary shorts on Saturday (2 p.m. and 7 p.m.). Line up before the show times to ensure you’ll get in and be prepared to enjoy — when a director only has a few minutes, they do an amazing job packing in poignant details, amazing shots, and gut-busting jokes. Tickets are $6 with your CU I.D. (General admission is $7).

For a little red-carpet walk of your own, head to Mateo’s 3rd annual Oscar Party on Sunday starting at 4 p.m. (1837 Pearl St.; mateorestaurant.com). The upscale-casual French-inspired bistro on Pearl hosts this black-tie-optional event, projecting the entire award-show saga on a big screen while bedecked spectators snack on appetizers like Dungeness crab croquettes and artisanal cheeses during the acceptance speeches and sip cocktails during clips of Hollywood’s most beloved starlets. (Apps are included in the $25 ticket price, but drinks aren’t). Put on your party clothes for a chance to win a prize as the “Best Dressed,” and cast a ballot with your picks for the winners — the person who guesses best will also win.

Kristy Holland writes about dating once a week for the Colorado Daily. Tell her about your date-night ideas at boulderdatenight@gmail.com.