Awards Season-ing: Your guide to edibles for a memorable Oscars watch party
As much as movie fans like to bellyache about awards season and Oscar snubs (justice for Nope and The Woman King), it remains true that Hollywood’s biggest awards are essentially the Super Bowl for cinephiles. We get a kick out of performing a running commentary on the quality of the ceremony, rooting for our favorites, cheering when they win, and yelling obscenities when they don’t—or at least I do. Whether you’re hate-watching or sitting on the edge of your seat with anticipation, the Academy Awards are always an entertaining spectacle.
Super Bowl parties are as much about the food as the game itself, so why shouldn’t it also be true for an awards watch party? Hosting an Oscar watch party is a great opportunity to dig deep with references and get creative with your food choices by paying homage to the nominees and eventual winners. This year’s crop of Oscar hopefuls present good food options galore, as well as a few you probably shouldn’t recreate. If you’re looking to get festive with friends during the awards by chowing down on foods that don’t enable your deep-seated inner trauma, give these ideas a whirl.
Sometimes figuring out the right decorations for an Oscar night party can be tough. How hardcore are you willing to go? Should you use movie posters? Find tiny trophies you can make look like a statuette? How much glitter and tinsel should you use? There’s also the question of just how themed your table settings should be. Are you going to pay homage to one movie? A bunch? Awards in general? The solution usually involves a lot of googling, some panicked thrift store trips and an annoying amount of cleanup after all is said and done.
Fortunately, the many nominations for The Fabelmans makes this year’s Oscar party table decor simple to set up and even easier to tear down. Mitzi Fabelman hates doing the dishes and loves no-fuss cleanup, so take a page from her book: disposable plates, disposable flatware, disposable tablecloth (or compostable options to be kinder to the planet). When everyone’s finished eating, make a show of wadding up the whole thing in a big ball and throwing it in the trash and/or compost bin. All done, and you didn’t even need to buy an ill-considered emotional support monkey.
Appropriately for a movie depicting the debaucherous early days of Hollywood’s golden age, Babylon (up for production design, costuming and score awards) brings with it loads of possibilities for classic party drinks, including the French 75, Corpse Reviver and Gin Rickey. You’re going to need quite a bit of gin in all three cases, so why not make it easy on yourself and have your guests do the rest of the work? Put out ingredients, barware, and some drink recipes, and you’ll be good to go.
(The Banshees of Inisherin)
The Banshees of Inisherin is nominated in nine categories this year with strong possibility to win in several of them, so consider drinking accordingly! Colin Farrell’s Pádraic and Brendan Gleeson’s Colm spend most of their time downing pints at the local pub, which makes their drink of choice pretty easy to obtain. Grabbing a six pack of Guinness requires minimal prep on your part, not to mention keeping your fingers (and, hopefully, friendships) blissfully intact.
If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic drink option, consider paying homage to best original song nominee (and winner of hearts and minds the world over) RRR with this Indian restaurant staple. Using mango, yogurt, milk, and honey, this recipe basically just requires tossing the ingredients into a blender, making it easy to adapt for a crowd. It may not be 100% regionally accurate (the Lassi is historically associated with northern India and eastern Pakistan, and RRR was produced in southern India), but it will be tasty. Check out Simply Recipes.com for full instructions.
(Everything Everywhere All at Once)
Still riding your pandemic bread-making high? Everything bagels are a great way to show off your dough skills while referencing this year’s most-nominated film. If your baking abilities reside in a different universe, you can still put together an everything bagel platter without worrying about over-proofing your dough or whether your yeast is dead. Just pick up a bunch of bagels, pile on the schmear, and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Googly eye garnishes are optional—but recommended.
Hot dog fingers
(Everything Everywhere All at Once)
Depending on your feelings about the multiverse, the ethical implications of dishing up hot dog fingers at a party might seem a little shady. If you’re not above a little alternate reality cannibalism, however, this is a fun and adaptable option for a themed food. Do it your way, whether that’s full-on hot dogs or veggie dogs with mustard and ketchup (movie-accurate), the always-welcome lil smokie on a toothpick (less on-the-nose but conveniently sized), or something in between.
You knew this was coming, right? Elvis is up for eight awards including best actor and best picture, so we can’t get out of this without suggesting the King’s notoriously favorite peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwich. Serious Eats has an easy-to-follow recipe for this sweet-savory calorie bomb. Leave it whole if you’re feeling generous, or cut it into smaller pieces for an appetizer portion.
Chocolate lava cakes
(Fire of Love)
Best documentary nominee Fire of Love is an inspiring, quirky, and delightful movie about a married pair of groundbreaking volcanologists. Give a nod to Katia and Maurice Krafft at your Oscar party with a volcanic dessert that’s also a popular date night pick. Lava cakes can be tricky to get right on your own (if you don’t believe me, watch Chef), but there are loads of decent pre-made options available in grocery store freezer cases, several of which can serve a group without breaking your budget.
(Everything Everywhere All at Once)
Originating in Hong Kong, almond cookies are a popular Chinese dessert, one that plays a significant role in Everything Everywhere All at Once. Recipes for this cookie are easy to source online, but the blog Two Crumbs Up provides a movie-accurate option complete with smiley face. Try it out on your friends and use it again to butter up the grumpy IRS auditor when you screw up your taxes a month from now.
Irish cream desserts
(The Banshees of Inisherin, Aftersun)
There are a record 14 Irish Oscar nominees this year, including notable acting nods for The Banshees of Inisherin’s Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell, Barry Keoghan, and Kerry Condon, and Aftersun’s Paul Mescal. It feels natural, therefore, that there ought to be equally strong representation of Ireland at your Oscar party in culinary form. If Guinness isn’t your thing (or even if it is), an Irish cream-flavored dessert is one way to bring your Oscar night menu to a sweet, boozy conclusion.
If you’re looking for ideas, Bailey’s features a plethora of recipe options on their website, including one for a lava cake-inspired dessert, meaning you could knock out the acting categories, best picture, best screenplay, best director, and best documentary with one dish. Fancy! Delicious! Yes!