How to: Plan a fab Oscar party
As any Oscar fan knows, it’s not the actual awards that make the Academy Awards a must-watch spectacle. From the red carpet walk of fame to the celebratory after-parties, the pre- and post-Oscar festivities are to gossip sites, celeb magazines and style hounds what honey is to bees. Want to catch the buzz?
Get in on the action with your own Oscar party. Gather some friends for an over-the-top Oscar extravaganza that will be the envy of the water cooler crowd the morning after. Here’s how to have a blast (and cut some corners and cash along the way).
• Guest list Like the Super Bowl, this is a glued-to-the-couch proposition, so keep it small enough that there’s seating for all. Plump up the sofa and be sure to have lots of floor cushions.
• Invitations Use evite.com or socializr.com to spread the word (and save the paper) and track RSVPs.
• Dress code "Couch-potato luxe: your finest yoga gear or jeans, with dressy touches like jewelry plus full hair and makeup."
• Scorecards Print off Oscar scorecards with this year’s nominees and have guests mark their pre-show predictions. Track results along the way and the guest with the most astute Oscar nose wins. (Prizes could be a betting pool, Blockbuster gift card, or just bragging rights.)
Keep reading for menu and decorating ideas!
• Theme You don’t need to advertise the menu theme – the main draw after all, is the TV! – but a subtle menu and decor theme will make it easier for you to keep your menu choices cohesive.
We suggest a simple Asian Fusion theme because a) these popular foods have a grown-up urban feel; b) they’re readily (and affordably) available at mass grocery retailers; c) the flavours merge and mingle well together and with our beverage selections.
• Beverages It is a big night, after all. So break out the sparkling cava, brut or prosecco (or, Champagne if you’re so inclined), and provide ginger ale or no-cal sparkling water for nondrinkers. Adding an edible flower petal (available in the salad section of some gourmet grocery stores), raspberry, or strawberry slice will give any beverage an easy cocktail-style upgrade.
• Nibbles Given that the party spans much of a cold and blustery midwinter Sunday evening, food is a given. However, the nature of Oscar night (glitz and glam, in case you’d forgotten!) precludes taking a low-fuss chili ‘n’ baguette approach to dinner prep.
So, reach for relatively simple to prepare finger foods. Doughy, cheesy, meaty and savoury finger foods look chic and – dieters be damned – satisfy with their ability to fill you up.
Easy to make, readily available choices that look great plated include these frozen, heat-and-serve apps:
• mini samosas (serve with mango chutney and other sauces)
• egg rolls (serve with plum sauce and soy sauce)
• shui mai or other Asian dumplings (serve with soy sauce)
• pad thai (serve up appetizer-sized portions on small saucers)
• satay shrimp or chicken skewers with peanut sauce
Round out the selection with some spiced nuts or chips and a fruit platter.
A tiered cupcake stand holding mini cupcakes, petits fours or chocolates is a nice flourish.
Budget-friendly tip You can cut your costs and prep-time by going potluck. Use email to communicate among invitees and avoid overlap or allergy issues.
Somehow we doubt this year’s InStyle party features corny fake film reels and cakes decorated with motion picture cameras -- Channel a luxe, elegant vibe and sophisticated ambiance with the same basics you’d use for any party.
• Flickering votive candles
• Fresh cut flowers: ginger, pincushion flower, birds of paradise and chrysanthemum all flatter the Asian menu theme
• Real china (not paper plates), stemware and napkins
• Finally, make guests feel like VIPs with an end-of-the-night swag bag filled with inexpensive but fun freebies like packs of candy, playing cards, bubble wands, notepads and other inexpensive dollar store finds.