"Lights, camera…takeout" is no way for anyone to kick off an Oscar party. Dish out your own awards, a ton of finger-friendly snacks and a little dose of glamour. Then just settle into your cushy seat on the couch and watch the good times roll.
tips + how-tos
tips + tricks
BEST PICTURE: THE TV
Serve snacks in low bowls and cocktails in short or stemless glasses, so everyone has a clear view of the screen, then add extra plop-down spots. Shift furniture to the sidelines, then scatter cushions or thick blankets up front.
While you’re at it, lose coffee-table clutter. “Just put out magazines with awards news or gossip to get everyone in the mood,” says Los Angeles-based event planner Yifat Oren.
Keep the focus forward. Challenge guests to predict the outcomes of a few awards. Promise the winner an Oscar-style grab bag stuffed with movie-themed treats, like movie candy, 3-D glasses and an Oscar-nominated flick. Make a DIY Oscar ballots: Cut two slits into printed stationery and slide in a pencil for each guest.
BEST SET DESIGN: YOUR HOUSE WITH HOLLYWOOD TOUCHES
Write movie quotes on paper cocktail napkins or cardboard coasters and fan them out on the coffee table for partygoers to grab as needed. Or, write your favorite quotes from past Oscar-nominated flicks on blank paper coasters.
Glam up drink glasses with gold: Add flecks of edible gold leaf (available at cake shops or amazon.com) to glass-rimming sugar and twist glass rims in the mixture (first twist in a little water or citrus juice to get the sugar to stick) before pouring drinks.
When you can’t bring the big gold guy home, make the next best thing, says New York City-based event planner Amy Atlas. Run a glue stick over pillar and taper candles, then dip them in a combo of the leftover gold leaf and gold glitter. Set them up to illuminate the food table and seating areas.
Showcase the film industry’s best-kept secret. Lighting is everything. Click off overhead lights, which can wash out the TV screen. Instead, turn on table lamps and light candles around the perimeter of the room.
BEST DIRECTOR: YOU!
Secure your win for most organized host: Let guests know the timetable up front, from pre-show cocktails (it’s most fun to point out the worst-dressed actors with a Liquid Gold in hand!) to dinnertime. Drop-bys will know the best time to make their entrances and exits.
“Four hours in front of the TV is a long time!” says Colin Cowie, a Manhattan-based celebrity event planner. Keep some of the party snacks you prepared, like extra Frittata Sandwiches with Red Pepper Aioli and a big bowl of Bacon-Pecan Popcorn Clusters, reserved for later in the night -- have them pre-plated.
“Let guests socialize without interrupting the show by serving the snacks at a distance from the TV and couches,” says Yifat Oren. Make sure there are clear paths in and out of the viewing area so guests can easily sneak away to chat or refill plates. Keep some tunes going at a low volume for entertainment during commercial breaks.
Why not have your own red-carpet moments? Set up a backdrop for mock Oscar photos by hanging red streamers or fabric on a bare wall. See what friends will do when the paparazzi aren’t watching!