I never really grew up caring about sports; I spent most Super Bowl parties at the snack table talking to the other creative types about anything other than football. For some people the Super Bowl is a big deal, or the Olympics, or here in Queensland, the State of Origin.
The Oscars were a different story. I would fill out my Oscar ballot based on my research of what different critics think, and sit with a tub of popcorn and watch with my parents as the night was filled with the celebration of something I loved dearly: film and storytelling.
It’s something I love to celebrate, and something I look forward to celebrating with close friends and family every year. I’m hosting a memorable Oscar party this year, and I’m also poor as dirt.
After scouring Pinterest and other blogs for ideas, I’ve found the best ideas that are also affordable, possible, and simple. There are so many ways to celebrate this gala event, and I want to share with you what I’ve found so that you too can have a killer Oscar night with those closest to you.
1. People are Key
Your top priority in hosting a killer Oscar party is finding the right people and creating a space so that they can have fun while celebrating a year of filmmaking. This can include film decorations such as a red carpet, movie posters, and the whole nine yards, or simply a clean space that gives as many people as possible access to the television and whatever other activities.
Two things to address here: dress code and music
Many parties make their parties a full red carpet affair: suits, prom dresses, etc. I think this is silly, and while it may look fun on Instagram for five seconds to see everyone dressed up, this is not fun to sit on a couch for four hours in, especially when you live in a warm place like Australia. Better to keep the clothing casual, or suggest that your friends dress up as film characters they like.
Music at a party is crucial! It can set the tone, be a conversation piece, and fill those awkward silences. What better music to have on than film music? I have created two playlists, one on Spotify and one on Apple Music (click on the names for hyperlink), with some of my favourite scores from film. Listen and enjoy!
2. Yum Yum Food
Good food is the unspoken expectation here. If you’re on a budget and don’t really have a ton of spare time like me, timelines and costliness are essential ingredients in what to choose.
I found a few options that I think work perfect! The theme I am going for here is movie theatre food, going with the theme of celebrating films.
A. Popcorn Bar
This may seem like a no brainer, but this a great cheap, easy to make snack food for any party. If you’re lazy and can afford it, simply purchase large amounts of microwave popcorn and you’re good to go. However, the cheaper (and quite frankly, better tasting) option would be to purchase a bag of popcorn kernels and make them yourself.
Apparently a lot of people do this, but if you’re like me you grew up with microwave popcorn and thought making them on the stove was what cave men did. So, if you’re enlightened move on, but if not let me show you how it’s done.
You only need two ingredients Canola Oil (any oil will do, but canola tastes the best) and Popcorn Kernels.
Find your largest pot and fill the bottom with a layer of oil. Turn the stove on mid to low setting, and then pour the kernels into the pot until they cover the bottom completely.
Cover the pot with its lid and then lift the whole pot of the burner ever so slightly and swirl the pot around so the kernels don’t burn before they pop.
Continue to do this until the kernels have stopped popping for over ten seconds between or before. Dump the popcorn into a bowl, and repeat until you feel you’ve made enough for your party!
Many people make several different types of popcorn; you are more than welcome to do this, however it’s a safer bet (and easier one) to create a popcorn bar rather than create a variety of options. Some suggestions to include in your bar:
M&M’s (Peanut and Plain seem to be the favourites)
This way everyone can enjoy the popcorn, and there won’t be a random flavor of popcorn that no one liked that is left over.
B. Cinnamon Pretzels
I looked through so many sweeter snacks, and this recipe on Oh, Sweet Basil caught my eye. Pretzels may not be as large of a mainstay as popcorn in the cinema, but they are present…and let’s just be honest. These look delicious and I want any excuse to eat them.
Also, they are cheap and simple. The only ingredients you need to go out of your way to purchase would be the pretzels and white chocolate; both being relatively inexpensive and easy to find.
⅔ Cup Canola Oil
⅓ Cup Cinnamon Sugar
1 Bag Mini Pretzels
4 oz White chocolate, melted and coloured if you so desire.
Extra cinnamon sugar for sprinkling
1. Mix the oil and cinnamon sugar together and toss pretzels in it.
2. Microwave on high for 2 min stirring every 30 seconds until oil is absorbed (sometimes this takes longer and sometimes a little less time).
3. Lay out on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar.
4. Let air dry completely and drizzle with white chocolate. Let air dry again and serve!
If you don’t like these options, or they’re too childish for you, a good cheese platter with crackers is never a bad idea (though a bit more pricey), and vegetables and hummus is a hit among the healthier crowd.
3. Put Some Skin in the Game
Let’s be honest, for the average person the Oscars can be kind of boring. Why not make it more interesting?
Ask everyone you’ve invited to bring 5 dollars (everyone can afford $5), and fill out an Oscar ballot. The Oscar ballot has a list of all of the nominees for every category, your job would be to tick the person or persons you believe will win for that category. The person with the most correct at the end of the night will win all the money. If there is a tie, then the winnings would be split evenly among the winners.
Having a personal investment in the outcome of the night, even at such a minimal amount, can make the entire experience more thrilling for everyone.
If you’re interested, download our Oscar ballot below and get that Oscar pool started among your friends and family.
There’s no one way to have a killer Oscar party, but I hope these ideas inspire you to take your own to the next level. Be respectful, be safe, and have fun!