I realize not everyone enjoys listening to speeches and keeping track of the slew of awards beforehand, but that doesn’t stop me from spreading the joy of the season. So for the past several years I have been perfecting my Oscar party, which is now an event that my friends look forward to every year.
Well, they keep asking when it is, at any rate.
Here are some ideas to make an Oscar party almost as good as the ceremony itself:
This has become an Oscar-party staple of mine. An Oscar pizza is like the traditional Hawaiian pizzas that you can find almost anywhere, but with some alterations. First, the ham can’t just be any ham, it has to be Oscar Mayer ham. Second, the pineapple, in its yellow/somewhat gold color is not haphazardly arranged over the pizza but delicately shaped like the Oscar statue in the middle.
Red Velvet cake
My other go-to Oscar delicacy is the classic Red Velvet Cake. One of the most prominent features of the Oscars is the red carpet, and Red Velvet is its edible equivalent. The key to red carpet Red Velvet Cake is to make it in a rectangular pan to give it more of a carpet shape. However, don’t do what I did one year and dye the frosting red for a “better” red carpet look, or you’ll get too much red and rich flavors.
There are lots of other food options, too. Movies and food have always been close, so you can choose film-friendly foods like popcorn or boxed candies you find at the movies (Sour Patch Kids, Mike and Ikes, Raisinets). You can shape cookies or brownies and frost cupcakes like stars, film reels or Oscar statues. My challenge every year is to find food-related inspiration from the year’s nominees.
This year has options like:
- Gummi Bears or Teddy Grahams in honor of the grizzly attack in “The Revenant.”
- Potatoes or astronaut food that Mark Watney (Matt Damon) survives on in “The Martian.”
- Danish cookies or pastries for “The Danish Girl.”
- Irish/Italian/New York foods for “Brooklyn.”
- Or, you can abstain from food and only a little drink of water to channel Mad Max in “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
Champagne is an obvious choice for a high-class event like the Oscars, but non-alcoholic options include Sparkling Cider, which has a similar look. An even cheaper route is ginger ale, apple juice or a blend of the two.
I understand, watching some guy give a speech for winning best animated short isn’t always the most exciting thing in the world, but that’s where Oscar Bingo comes in. It’s easy: Create a standard bingo sheet, and fill in the blanks with things that will happen or are likely to happen at the Oscars, including:
- Someone talks about diversity.
- Someone cries during their speech.
- Someone says “And the Oscar goes to … ”
- Close up shots of various actors/celebrities (create different squares for specific ones).
- Someone gives a kiss.
- A certain film wins an award (create different squares for specific films and awards).
- Someone sings.
It can turn even the most excruciating speech into “Please, please, thank your spouse so I can win.”
Just like the Super Bowl or any other competition, it’s always fun to give your two cents on who you think will win. Ballots are also easy. You can find them online or make your own in a spreadsheet with categories, guesses and winner. With ballots I also do a little research and compile a list of other awards (like Writers Guild Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, British Academy Film and Television Awards or American Cinema Editors “Eddie” Awards) so people are more informed voters. You can also give out prizes for the most or least correct answers.
There are lots of options for dressing up for the event. You can focus on a gold-colored theme to imitate the Oscar statue. You can break out some formal wear to feel like a star. Or, you can dress up as your favorite Oscar-nominated character and thanks to “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Star Wars” and “The Revenant” there are plenty of elaborate costume ideas to draw from.
Make your own Oscar
For those of us who want an Oscar — and unlike Leonardo DiCaprio — are not even nominated this year, you can go the easy route and make one yourself. Although it won’t be made of gold, it’ll be a good placeholder. Grab some foam poster board and cut an outline of the statue, which can easily be found online. Then get some gold spray paint and cover the cutout on both sides. After that you can make a base with a circle cut out with a slot for the statue, or something fancier if you’re so inclined. Once you have the statue you can take photos, practice your Oscar speech, have people make their own or give them out as awards.