Wilmette resident Maggie Storino may have been an attorney in her “first life” but now the stay-at-home mother of three is best known for her blog, Don’t Call Me Oscar. The blog is an adorable parody of each year’s Oscar-nominated best pictures, featuring her children ages six and under dressed up as famous actors.
Since the blog went viral in 2011 — at that time it featured her oldest daughter Sophia at only 4 months old — Storino has been featured in national media such as People, Vanity Fair and the Today Show.
Storino started the blog when her sister was covering the Oscars for Vanity Fair. She sent her sister photos of Sophia dressed up as the Best Picture nominees. People forwarded the pictures so many times that Storino loaded them into a blog to keep them organized.
Since then, the family spends a lot of time on the project each year, which Storino says gets them through the winter. “Even if someone isn’t in the photo they’re usually behind the scenes trying to get a laugh from the person in the picture,” she said.
All three of her children, Sophia (6), Sadie (4) and Sloane (1), have a role in the pictures this year, including:
- La La Land
- Hidden Figures
- Hacksaw Ridge
- Manchester By The Sea
- Hell or High Water
Storino answered a few more questions about the process:
Which is your favorite movie?
This is such a great way to spend time with my family so I loved taking all of the pictures. I really wanted to give the movie “Hidden Figures” it’s due because I found the movie so inspirational. Because Mad Max went so well last year (at Gilson Beach) we thought it would be fun to go even bigger this year and get the girls’ classmates involved. I am not a professional photographer so I was really nervous to incorporate so many people. Fortunately, the kids were all so adorable that the photo went smoothly. What nice kids!
Which movie did you find the most challenging and why?
Even though this winter has been mild, the cold weather still poses some challenges. For Hacksaw Ridge, I wanted the kids to roll around in mud but our backyard was frozen solid. I contemplated thawing mud in the garage but decided to use chocolate pudding and Oreos instead. We went to the Forest Preserve to take the photo and confused a lot of joggers when we got out of the car covered in pudding.
Were some of the photos shot in spots around the North Shore?
This experience has made me see our neighborhood in a whole new light. For the past few weeks I have viewed everything like it’s a potential backdrop for a photo (which is how I discovered the parking lot of Costco looks like the midlands of Texas for Hell or High Water). It’s been a fun way to explore Chicago. One day, Sloane and I even spent the morning visiting all the beaches on the North Shore to find the right one for Manchester by the Sea (Tower Beach won in the end). I’ve never taken the time to do that before and really enjoyed it.
The photos are a real family affair. Our costume designer (my cousin) lives across the street. For Manchester by the Sea, she safety pinned a maternity shirt to Sadie’s winter coat and converted a chicken costume into Sloane’s seagull attire. She even made the La La Land dresses with fabric remnants from her son’s eighth grade Aladdin production at Faith Hope & Charity. From sourcing props to casting 31 adorable extras, we could not have put together the photos without the help of our family, neighbors and friends. We are lucky to be part of such a supportive community.
Here are several of this year’s Don’t Call Me Oscar photo that Storino shared with DailyNorthShore. To see all of the photos and hilarious out-takes visit Don’t Call Me Oscar or check out the photos at Instagram@dontcallmeoscar.
KID PHOTOGRAPHY BY MAGGIE STORING