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How to throw an awards-worthy Oscar party

An underrated quality of this year’s Oscar contenders? How many of their characters would be fun to party with! Poor Things’ Bella Baxter? A riot! Maestro’s Leonard Bernstein? Did you see his moves on the dance floor? Kitty Oppenheimer? Sozzled at all hours! It’s a shame that Anatomy of a Fall’s Samuel Maleski plummeted to his death before giving anyone his Spotify details – based on his love of 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P.”, I’m sure he’d have put together a sensational playlist.

Sadly these people will be unable to attend your Oscar party this weekend – seeing as they are entirely fictional and/or deceased. But don’t fret! We’re here to help you do the next best thing: throw an Oscar gathering so fun that it’ll warrant a little gold statue of its own.

The Oscars take place on Sunday 10 March at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, beginning at 4pm PST (11pm GMT), with a live broadcast taking place for the first time in the UK on ITV1 and ITVX.

Here’s our step-by-step guide to making it a night to remember…

Send out your invites

This is an awards ceremony, not a rager, so be selective. You don’t want a big crowd of people chatting away and distracting you from the shocking moment that becomes this year’s equivalent of Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announcing the wrong Best Picture winner, John Travolta mispronouncing a major star’s name or the slap heard around the world. Do as the professionals do: draw up a shortlist of nominees, then select a handful of winners to receive an invitation in a tasteful gold envelope. Five to seven attendees is perfect.

Get the red carpet ready

Just because you’re staying home, that’s no reason not to dress to the nines. Whether it’s Cher’s eye-catching jet-black Bob Mackie headpiece from 1986 or Björk’s unforgettable swan dress from 2001, the Oscars are known for showcasing outrageous fashion. So what if the show won’t finish airing in Britain until way past midnight – there’s no rule saying you can’t pair that headdress with your pyjamas.

Pick your winners

Print off our handy list of all this year’s Oscar nominees, then distribute to your guests. Pick your winner in each category, then swap sheets so you can mark how many each other got right. Here, the devil’s in the details: sure, you might have a decent guess for who’s going to win Best Picture, but how many of your guests can correctly identify the Best Cinematography winner, or who’ll be taking home the prize for Best Animated Short? A bit of research could seal your victory.

Drinking game: Emily Blunt and Cillian Murphy in ‘Oppenheimer’

(Melinda Sue Gordon)

Now drink

Next, get as comfortable as you can in that swan-shaped dress and enjoy a themed cocktail in honour of the night’s most-nominated films. May we suggest:

J Robert Oppenheimer’s signature martini

He may be best known for cooking up a rather more explosive concoction, but J Robert Oppenheimer was also famous for his signature drink. No, not a manhattan in honour of the Manhattan Project, but a martini with a sweet, citrus twist. Eagle-eyed viewers will have spotted that Cillian Murphy actually makes one to Oppenheimer’s specifications in Christopher Nolan’s hotly tipped biopic. Here’s what you’ll need, according to the Los Alamos National Laboratory: take a chilled martini glass, dip the rim in a mixture of honey and lime juice, then add four ounces of gin and just a dash of vermouth. Atomic.

Something pink for Barbie

There are plenty of suitably pink-hued drinks perfect for paying tribute to Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie’s runaway box office smash – in fact, here at The Independent, we dreamt up nine of them inspired by the doll’s classic outfits. We particularly enjoyed the Eighties-inspired “Pink and Fabulous” Barbie cocktail, made with two ounces of raspberry vodka, one ounce of peach schnapps, two ounces of cranberry juice, one ounce of lime juice and one ounce of simple syrup. Shake and ice, then strain into a chilled martini glass, and garnish with cotton candy. A couple of these and you won’t even be able to pronounce “Margot Robbie was robbed!”

A drink fit for a Maestro

When Leonard Bernstein was 21, he developed a taste for rob roys while drinking with Olga Koussevitzky, the wife of his mentor Serge. It’s a drink worth savouring just as much as Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan’s performances in Cooper’s thrilling Bernstein biopic. To make a rob roy, all you need is two ounces of scotch (Bernstein preferred Ballantine’s 17-year-old), one ounce of sweet vermouth and two dashes of bitters. Garnish with a brandied cherry or a lemon twist, and you’ll be conducting a symphony of your own in no time.

American Fiction’s whisky politics

In Cord Jefferson’s caustic race satire American Fiction, author Thelonious “Monk” Ellison (Jeffrey Wright) is told by his agent Arthur (John Ortiz) that literary success is a lot like Johnnie Walker scotch. There’s the cheap stuff (Johnnie Walker Red), the mid-range stuff (Johnnie Walker Black) and the really nice stuff that comes with a price tag to match (Johnnie Walker Blue). Monk wants to put out the good stuff but, as Arthur points out, they sell a whole lot more Red than Blue. We’ll leave it up to your discretion (and budget) to decide which one’s right for your party.

Literary genius: Jeffrey Wright in ‘American Fiction’

(Amazon MGM)

A beautiful drink for a globetrotting Poor Thing

In Yorgos Lanthimos’s strange and beguiling Poor Things, a young woman named Bella Baxter (Emma Stone) is brought back to life by unorthodox surgeon Dr Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe) before travelling the world in search of beautiful experiences which include, of course, the magic of a martini. For this you’ll need four ounces of gin and a dash of vermouth as before, but you can skip the honey and lime rim. Who’s the mad scientist now?

A taste of Christmas with The Holdovers

An awards show viewing party is hardly the right environment to cook up a full Christmas dinner with a honey ham as hearty as the one produced by school chef Mary Lamb (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) in The Holdovers. Instead, celebrate Alexander Payne’s festive comedy-drama by mixing up peppermint schnapps, half-and-half cream and vodka. If that doesn’t make you merry, nothing will.


All that’s left is to sit yourself safely on the sofa, watch the winners roll in, and be thankful Saltburn didn’t get nominated – otherwise, you’d be drinking runny egg juice straight out of the bathtub. Salut!

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