The fanciest event of the year for the denizens of Hollywood is nigh, and what better way to celebrate the bright lights, glamour, fame and misfortune of the Oscars than to throw a world-class shindig?
Demonstrate good old-fashioned American hustle, follow these tips, and be prepared to wow the audience (er, guests).
Set the scene:
With a TV serving as a built-in centerpiece, not much is required in the way of decoration.
Most awards shows clock in at around three hours, so comfortable seating is a must. Gather barstools, floor cushions and any additional chairs on hand in the viewing room.
Enhance the celebrity feel of the evening by laying disposable cameras on tables for guests to snap paparazzi shots of each other.
Looking for an easy way to accomplish literally knocking the socks off guests? Require a fancy dress code. Heels and polished loafers will be resting by the front door in no time if they are a prerequisite for attendance.
Want to up the ante? Have large sunglasses, false mustaches, cheap lipsticks and feather boas on hand as party favors for guests to customize their Oscars-ready look.
Laying the table:
Bite-size snacks easily consumed with hands are best for mingling guests with eyes glued to the screen.
Suggestions: Popcorn, cheese and crackers, assortment of vegetables and dip, cocktail shrimp, miniature frozen quiche (available in bulk at most big box stores).
Dessert: Movie candy. Sour Patch Kids, Goobers, Sno-Caps, Junior Mints, Reese Pieces, M&Ms, Skittles.
Shaken or stirred:
Follow Bond, James Bond’s lead and offer the fixings for a simple signature cocktail that guests can create themselves. Vodka, seltzer, a variety of juices, flavored liqueurs, dry vermouth and olive brine are a good start. Let guests further customize their signature drinks by offering a variety of mix-ins and garnishes, such as ice cubes made from different colors of frozen KoolAid, maraschino cherries and blue cheese-stuffed olives in addition to basic lime and lemon wedges.
Non-alcoholic alternatives: Designated drivers get thirsty too, so be sure to include an attractive alternative for sober guests in addition to soda, juices and bottled water. Italian soda is fun to make and easy to customize. Have soda water, half and half and a variety of flavored syrups (Torani is a good brand) on hand.
Provide Sharpie markers and plastic cups so guests may name their cocktails after they create them.
Playing the field:
Up the party ante with an awards betting pool.
Before the show starts, provide each guest with a copy of a ballot featuring the major award categories (Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress). Have guests mark their projected winners on the ballot and sign the back.
After the show, award a prize to the guest with the most categories correct. Need a tie-breaker? Have the guests that tied give on-the-spot acceptance speeches, and put the speeches to a group vote.
To keep things lively during the telecast, post assigned activities for guests to engage in when things happen on the show.
Every time host Ellen breaks into song, everyone takes a drink of their beverage of choice.
When a winner cries, the last guest to touch the floor has to wear a fake mustache as a unibrow for the remainder of the show.
When the orchestra cuts off a speech, converse in mime with other guests for the next five minutes.