Every year, my husband and I throw an Oscars Party. It’s a great opportunity to get together with friends, go glam, judge the fashion choices of movie stars, and debate the merits of the year’s best films. The menu, though, is the opportunity to have some real fun. You can go a few ways:
- Create a buffet inspired by Governor’s Ball caterer Wolfgang Puck.
- Highlight food that made an appearance in one (or more) of the films. This year, that would mean Moonlight’s Cuban-style Arroz con Pollo, Lion’s Jalebi and Hell or High Water’s T-bone steak and a baked potato.
- Get clever! This is where your spread becomes part of the entertainment. For every dish, add a label placard that either manipulates the title of the film or has a humorous connection.
Here are the 2017 Academy Award nominated film-inspired items I’ll be serving at my party–including kid-friendly food choices. I hope it gives you some ideas!
Jackie: Cape Cod. In the film, Jackie Kennedy drinks vodka non-stop–as anyone might do if her husband’s brains were recently blasted across her lap. But, that’s a little too sad, so add a little cran to Jackie’s vodka while raising a glass to the Massachusetts island that was home to the Kennedy’s own Camelot. Jackie is nominated for Actress in a Leading Role (Natalie Portman), Costume Design and Music (Original Score).
Sully: Two shots of Grey Goose and a Splash of Water. The Tom Hanks-starrer includes this cocktail, and it’s a joke that comes straight from real life. The Half Pint pub in the Village began offering “The Sully” as a way to honor the heroic pilot who safely landed a plane full of passengers on the Hudson Bay after a flock of geese took out the engines. Sully is nominated for Sound Editing.
Suicide Squad: Joker Gone Wild. This electric-green rum and cherry vodka drink is an attention-getter that will provoke conversation about the awesomeness of Harley Quinn, love-it-or-hate-it debates, and Jared Leto’s disturbing method-acting shenanigans. Suicide Squad is nominated for Makeup and Hair.
Hell or High Water: Hell or High Watermelon. This film has chockfull of menu ideas, from Lone Star beer to the “What Don’t Cha Want?” corn on the cob and green beans. But, chopped up watermelon is an easy-to-serve and eat finger food that works for parents and kiddos alike–and to play on the name, offer half of the fruit cubes with a devilish spice. Hell or High Water is nominated for Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Jeff Bridges), Original Screenplay and Film Editing.
Hacksaw Ridge: Hacksaw Ridge-Cut Potato Chips and Con Quesotious Objec D’ouerve. This film is the true story of Desmond Doss, the conscientious objector who was awarded the Medal of Honor after rescuing 75 injured infantrymen during the Battle of Okinawa during World War II. As a vegetarian, he’d be the first to appreciate that no living creature was hurt in this chips-and-cheese dip hors d’oeuvre. Hacksaw Ridge is nominated for Best Picture, Lead Actor (Andrew Garfield), Director (Mel Gibson), Film Editing, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.
Hidden Figures: Hidden Figs. And the winner is … bacon-wrapped figs. This easy-to-make, minimal ingredient finger food is a guaranteed crowd pleaser–plus, getting kids to eat fruit is always a win! Hidden Figures is nominated for Best Picture, Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer) and Adapted Screenplay.
Captain Fantastic: Captain Fantasticks. What’s a party without a vegetable platter? For this one, skip the cherry tomatoes and make sure all your veggies are in stick form: carrot sticks, celery sticks, cheese sticks, jicama sticks, cucumber and zucchini spears, etc. Captain Fantastic is nominated for Lead Actor (Viggo Mortenson).
La-La Land: Chicken on a Stick. Sebastian dreams of opening a jazz club named for jazz legend Charlie Parker, nicknamed “Bird” because his favorite food was chicken. Chicken kabobs offer another simple and straight-forward dish. And the dips? Label them “all that jazz.” La La Land is nominated for Best Picture, Lead Actor (Ryan Gosling), Lead Actress (Emma Stone), Director (Damien Chazelle), Original Music Score, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Production Design and Sound Mixing.
20th Century Women: Santa Barbara salad. Dorothea is a divorced mom raising her teen son alone in Santa Barbara in 1979–until she recruits two young women to help. Just like that idea, this recipe is sweet, nutty and creative. It also happens to have been invented by a Santa Barbaran woman. 20th Century Women is nominated for Original Screenplay.
Fences: Pittsburgers. “Sliders” perfectly represent this film about a Pittsburgh sanitation worker whose dreams of being a pro-baseball player were never achieved due to racism. His dreams shattered, he eventually shatters the dreams of his wife and son, and shows that life as black American in the 1950s could be the pits. Fences is nominated for Best Picture, Lead Actor (Denzel Washington), Supporting Actress (Viola Davis) and Adapted Screenplay.
Florence Foster Jenkins: Off-Key Lime Pie. Musical taste may be a matter of preference, but critics and anyone with ears can agree: Florence Foster Jenkins is the worst singer opera has ever known. Like the New York heiress, key lime pie is fancy and sweet … with sour notes. Florence Foster Jenkins is nominated for Lead Actress (Meryl Streep) and Costume Design.
Manchester By the Sea: Manchester by the Sea Salt Caramels. This dreary sobfest follows a divorcé who is called back to his home town to take care of his teen nephew after the death of his brother. It’s nothing, though, if not chewy–you’ll be thinking about it for days, weeks, or every time you think about leaving the house with a fire still roaring in the hearth. This twist on comfort food tastes like tears, if tears were delicious. Manchester by the Sea is nominated for Best Picture, Lead Actor (Casey Affleck), Supporting Actor (Lucas Hedges), Supporting Actress (Michelle Williams), Director (Kenneth Lonergan) and Original Screenplay.
#OscarsSoRight Black-and-White Cookies: You can just pick this up at your local deli … or go for the gold by applying black and white icing to an Oscar-shaped sugar cookie