ith these easy, taste bud-pleasing Oscar party ideas, you'll be eating like a star as the awards ceremony unfolds. When the Academy Awards were first held in 1929, the ceremony was a far cry from the hotly anticipated show we see today. Instead of keeping it a secret, organizers announced the Oscar winners in each category three months ahead of time, leaving no opportunity for suspense or surprise.
Games for the Guests
When throwing an Oscar party, let the natural suspense of the event guide the fun and the food you dish up throughout the evening. For starters, organize a betting pool with official voting cards for each category. Encourage guests to place their votes during the lengthy red-carpet procession, and spur on excitement by offering a grand prize for the person with the most correct predictions.
Not sure what to offer as a prize? For a food-loving crowd, select a special bottle of Champagne accompanied by a gift basket of gourmet goodies or good-quality chocolates. Enthusiastic film fans might appreciate a gift certificate to a movie theater or movie-of-the-month club to go along with the bottle of bubbly.
During commercial breaks (or an especially long thank-you speech), break out the movie trivia questions. Award correct answers with a gold-star sticker — the guest with the most stars at the end of the evening wins a prize.
Food Idea #1: Add Glamour the Gourmet Way
Short of asking your friends to break out their ball gowns, increase the glitz and glamour of your Oscar party by serving a spread of indulgent finger food. Your guests will feel like Wolfgang Puck himself would approve of the menu, when you bring out:
- Thinly sliced, toasted baguette spread with luscious truffled foie gras
- Assorted crudités (sliced carrots, cucumbers, radishes, and endive leaves make a nice assortment) with a creamy herb dip and olive tapenade
- Rice paper-wrapped summer rolls filled with duck confit, fresh herbs, and slivered cabbage
- Cubed cantaloupe wrapped in duck prosciutto
- A platter of dry-cured meats and sausage, including smoked duck breast, saucisson sec, and Mangalica ham.
- Assorted cheeses, including good-quality brie, extra-sharp Cheddar, and aged Manchego or Pecorino.
- Freshly popped popcorn seasoned with truffle butter and grated Parmesan cheese is impressive and luxurious.
- Chocolate truffles, petit fours, and mini fruit tarts. Remember, bite-size portions promote easy noshing while taking in the outfits and awards that define this star-studded evening.
Food Idea #2: Throw a Potluck with Personality
Capitalize on the movie theme of the evening by asking guests to bring dishes inspired by their favorite Oscar-winning or -nominated movies. Fans of The Godfather trilogy might bring lasagna made with fresh pasta, ground beef and hearty ragú or a platter of golden pan-fried veal Milanese. Whereas lovers of the animated film Ratatouille might opt for pork tenderloin stuffed with gourmet wild mushrooms, breadcrumbs, and chestnuts. Encourage guests to go all out and provide invitees with plenty of time to brainstorm their dishes by sending your invitations early.
Lastly, the most important rule of throwing an Oscar party is to have fun and get into the movie-loving spirit of this well-heeled, mid-winter tradition.