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Hosting an Award-worthy Oscar Party

Maija Gustin | Tuesday, February 21, 2012

This upcoming Sunday might just be the most important day of the year. On this day, the stars align and deserving people are showered with gold.

That’s right, Sunday, Feb. 26 marks the 84th annual Academy Awards, when Mr. Oscar goes home with Hollywood’s hottest celebrities.

Sure, the prestigious ceremony has been consistently criticized for ignoring movies beloved by the masses in favor of pretentious critical darlings the public doesn’t care much about. But who would level such a claim in a year when the finale to the most popular film franchise in the history of the medium got nominated for three whole awards — Art Direction, Makeup and Visual Effects. And these knockers say the Oscars are out of touch with the will of the masses…

Whether you’ve seen all nine Best Picture nominees or none, Sunday will be a great day for film fans and party enthusiasts alike.

Even if you couldn’t care less about the outcome of Hollywood’s biggest night, the Oscars are a great excuse to get together with your friends and throw a party that can be as fancy or fun as you want.

To start, you need to decide on the ambience of your party. Will guests show up in their finest loungewear, or are ball gowns and tuxes required?

There are merits to both — there is no better way to spend a day in front of the TV than in your best pajamas, but it is equally fun to join with the likes of Meryl Streep and Brad Pitt by dressing up in your Dome Dance best.

When the dress code is set, move on to decorations. Sunday is the perfect day to roll out the closest thing you have to a red carpet. If nothing else, there must be a red towel or pillowcase lying around, begging for center stage on such an occasion.

Continue the red throughout your viewing room, but don’t forget those gold accents. If forced to choose between the two, always go for the gold. It will add an air of class and prestige to your event that may be lacking from even the finest dorm rooms and apartments around.

If you really want to go all out, create a custom poster to hang by your red carpet as guests arrive for personalized red carpet photos, just like the stars have. Or, for a more authentic feel, create fake paparazzi to bother your closest friends with their flashing cameras. With a heavy-duty printer and some cardboard, real paparazzi can stalk your party from behind couches and closet doors. For a more economical choice, create silhouettes of the crazy photographers to tape to your wall. Add in a few flashing cameras for anextra-special effect.

Don’t forget the mood lighting. In order to get the full effect of the movie clips shown throughout the ceremony — or George Clooney’s pearly whites — don’t leave too much light on. If you’re watching off-campus, consider lighting a few candles for full dramatic effect. Just don’t pick a scent that will ruin the elevated mood of your evening.

When décor and lighting are all set, that leaves only the most important element of all — the food.

While the Hollywood A-listers may be stick-thin due to restrictive diets and who knows what else, the only way to truly celebrate the Oscars is to indulge in the finest culinary delights you and your friends can muster up.

For a special event, prepare a series of fancy hors d’oeuvres — caviar is the obvious choice, but even pigs-in-a-blanket can be classy. Arrange a potluck to guarantee a wide range of options without overburdening the host.

If fancy, Pinterest-esque finger food isn’t up your alley, create themed foods for each of the nominated films.

A simple baguette will do for “Hugo” while pineapple pizza is a great stand-in for the Hawaii-set “The Descendants.” Make a black-and-white version of your favorite food for “The Artist” and a Southern specialty or, if you’re brave, chocolate pie for “The Help.” Cake balls quickly become “Moneyball” baseballs and “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’s” Big Apple setting is well-represented with apple pie.

The options are as endless as the wide array of nominated films, so all your guests will surely find something to enjoy.

Don’t forget to print out ballots so guests can place their bets on the night’s big winners. Create your own or scour the Internet to find an abundance of pre-made ballots. Prizes can range from personalized Oscar statues (for example, “Best Friend” or “Queen of the Feve”) to something bought on flex points at the Huddle — free stuff is universally loved, particularly when you get to battle your friends for the big prize.

Really, Oscar Sunday doesn’t belong to Hollywood — it belongs to you. Make it your own and use it as the perfect excuse to throw the ultimate bash with your friends.