I’m feeling a little guilty. I usually host a pretty solid Oscar Party each year and have been doing so for about twenty years. By my calculations, I’ve only missed twice—two years ago when I was knee deep in a master’s degree program and the thought of organizing it was daunting. This year I’m having a few friends over for dinner.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean I can’t share some of the ideas that have worked for me over the years, and hope you will incorporate them into your own party, even if you decide to throw one together at the last minute.
There are a few things you can do to make the evening enjoyable for your guests, no matter how large or small the group.
Idea #1: Red Carpet, Sign, and Spotlight.
My guests usually love that I put a red carpet outside leading up to my front door. I got a red felt runner that was cut for me at a local fabric store. Additionally, I usually make a sign for the front door that welcomes guests to the Oscar Party and I make sure it’s well lit by using a spotlight on the front door (the one we use each year to light the wreath on our front door for Christmas works perfectly for this)!
Idea #2: Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Last year, I went to a party store and bought 40 gold stars roughly 8 inches in diameter. I used a Sharpie marker and wrote each guest’s name on a star. I then used double sided tape (easy to remove) and attached them all over my hardwood floors. Guests had to find their star on the “Hollywood Walk of Fame” in my house and could take the stars home with them.
Idea #3: Posters, Cut Outs, and Glitter.
Posters and cut outs also work. Last year, I bought cut outs of Hollywood stars; my pack included Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. I prominently displayed them in my house. Also, in addition to the “Walk of Fame” stars, I had star garland (it was tasteful, added “glitter,” and was not too cheesy) around the house that added to the atmosphere.
Idea #4: An Oscar and “Lights, Camera, Action!” Boards.
Idea #5: Name Your Food.
I’m not going to direct you on what type of food should be served. I usually make all sorts of different dishes and mix them up year after year. However, when I place the food on the table, I label the dishes and name them after nominated movies or nominated actors. Something like “Brad Pitt’s Pit Beef” or “The Artist’s Artichoke Hearts” would work. You can do the same thing with desserts. Also, serve your food on elegant paper products or use your own beautiful China if the group is small enough.
Idea #6: Name Your Signature Drink.
Serve a signature drink and name it after a film, star, or combination of stars. “Clooney’s Coladas” or “Brangelina’s Bellinis” would work fine.
Idea #7: An Oscar Pool.
Offer your guests the opportunity to participate in a pool to see who will correctly guess the most winners during the show. The sheets for all the nominees can be found online. I print off the sheets, tell everyone to throw $2 in the hat, and the winner of the pool takes all.
Idea #8: Guess the Oscar Dress.
This game is usually a success and stimulates much conversation and debate. I find pictures online of Oscar winners (female) over the years wearing their stunning gowns and print them out on 8 ½ x 11 sheets of paper. I cut them out and mount them on poster board and number them; however, I then cover the head of each actress, leaving her visible only from the neck down. Guests then have guess and fill out a sheet identifying who they think is in each dress. After they participate in the game and time’s up, I reveal the full images of the women. It’s a challenge to see how many you can correctly guess.
Idea #9: Oscar Trivia.
This one’s easy. There are Oscar trivia questions all over the place on the Internet. During commercials, ask your guests questions and see how many they can get right.
Idea #10: Oscar Charades.
Have guests write down 2-3 movies and toss them all in a hat. Have teams try to guess the film by acting them out “silent movie style” in a game of charades.
Now that I’ve written this post, I’m feeling a little disappointed in myself that I didn’t organize a big party this year. Therefore, I’m counting on you to do it. I know you’ve got it in you. Good luck, and I hope some of these Oscar Party ideas will work as you entertain your friends and celebrate a night at the movies.