While the holidays feel like they’re just now behind us, it’s already time for another season of hosting! Between the Superbowl, awards season and Valentine’s Day (check back for my Valentine’s Day tips), February has no shortage of occasions to prepare for! One of my favourite events to host every year is my annual Oscars party. The dresses… the movies… the performances, it’s Hollywood at its best!! Today I’ll share my tips for hosting an awards party that is super easy to throw together and is sure to have everybody in on the fun.
Do your homework
There’s nothing worse than being the only one in the room who hasn’t seen or heard of the year’s best picture. I always try to watch as many of the movies as possible beforehand, which to be honest is my favourite kind of homework since I’m a total movie buff. An excuse to pour myself a big glass of vino and curl up for a movie? I’ll take it! You can check out the full list of nominees here. If you’re hosting, even more reason to be in the loop! You’ll be the center of attention when it comes to predictions. To really get everybody in the spirit I always like printing out ballots to fill out. Tumbleweed Press created a beautiful free, printable ballot which you can get here! At the end of the show, whoever scored the most points gets a prize (nothing like a little bit of healthy competition to get everybody involved!). I always like to have a bottle of wine and a gift card on hand, that way you have two prizes ready in case of a tie!
Glam it up (décor)
While I don’t like to over-complicate the décor for my Oscars parties, a few Hollywood-esque touches are a must. A favourite super simply DIY of mine is to spray paint Mason jars to match your theme! I spray painted mine gold and let them dry overnight. If you’re like me and love to save and reuse your mason jars, you might already have some around the house! If not, you can easily find them at any dollar store and the spray paint at your nearest hardware store. Et voila! Perfect for adorning your straws, cutlery, or even writing utensils for your ballots!
Another fun DIY that I’ve done in the past and will be bringing back this year after all the compliments I got are these little tuxedo champagne flutes! We’ll get to talking about bubbly in a minute, but seriously these were so easy to make and are such a cute addition to any beverage spread! I first got the idea from Celebrations at Home. You can check out the full DIY over at her site! All you need are some simple supplies from the dollar store and champagne flutes.
The main event
While watching the Oscars is technically the main event… at the end of the day it’s just a great excuse to have friends and family over to share some amazing food and yummy drinks. I feel like I’ve got my awards party menu down to a science, so I’m happy to say that these are all low prep while being total crowd pleasers!
Here’s where those DIY champagne flutes come in handy… bubbly! Nothing says Oscars like a flute of champagne to greet your guests. My personal favourite is Moët & Chandon, but there are also so many great natural sparkling wines from BC if you’re wanting to offer something unique and local! I love Haywire and Summerhill from the Okanagan if you decide to go that route.
Your guests have now had a little something to drink and are ready for appies… enter the charcuterie board. While every charcuterie board is a little different than the last, there are a few key elements that when used in tandem are always a home run.
- Choose your board. The size of your board will dictate the entire arrangement! I like to think about how many guests I’m trying to feed and then select a size based on that. If you’re looking to get creative, you can also tape some white paper to your dining table in lieu of a board for a more freeform style display.
- Meat & Cheese. I like to use a 1:1 ratio for meats and cheeses. When in doubt, a prosciutto, salami, and paté will do the trick. For cheese, I like to have an aged cheddar (as old as it gets), a soft cheese (think goat or Boursin), and something French (Comté is a personal fave)! I also recently found the most amazing dairy free cashew-based cheddar by Pulse Kitchen which I’ve actually been preferring to dairy cheddar!
- Something fresh. I always like to freshen up my boards with fruit. A few go-tos are grapes, figs and apple!
- The crunch. I am all about the crackers when it comes to my charcuterie. I like to offer a sweet-and-savoury cracker like Lesley Stowe’s for soft cheeses, and a lighter, savoury cracker for the hard cheeses. Anything rosemary flavoured is always an easy pairing. To offer a variety of texture, I usually throw in a fresh baguette for good measure as well!
- The finishing touches. No charcuterie board is complete without a jelly, mustard, olives and dips!
For a plant-based board, check out this how-to from Jillian Harris. And if you’re in a pinch and don’t have time to curate a board yourself, check out Daily Palette for beautiful boards delivered right to your door!
Another no-fuss idea that always has guests going up for seconds is a popcorn bar! You can either make your own or go the store-bought route, both are huge hits in my experience! To make your own, start by air-popping plain popcorn and pre-portioning it into cute paper bags. I like setting out a variety of sweet and salty toppings like m&ms, chocolate pretzels, flavoured salts, roasted peanuts and nutritional yeast! A little something for everybody. And if you’re really looking to glam things up, lately I’ve been making what I like to call “Hollywood Popcorn” which is where I melt white chocolate over popcorn and then top with sprinkles while it’s still hot. I then let it cool and the chocolate hardens into such a yummy texture! So easy and looks like it was way harder to make than it actually is!
If you’re just now tuning into the Oscars buzz, I’ve got you covered with some of my favourite nominees so far! I’ll be cheering for Joaquin in Joker, Renée in Judy, and Brad in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I also loved Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women and all the amazing female performances in Bombshell.
I think that women directors sadly didn’t get the credit they deserved in this year’s nominations, and would have loved to see Greta Gerwig or Marielle Heller nominated for best director. And while Bombshell doesn’t necessarily top my list for favourite movie, Charlize Theron along with Margot Robbie and Nicole Kidman tackle the systemic sexual harassment at Fox News and it’s about time a movie has shed light on this issue. Charlize Theron’s performance was completely spot on as Megyn Kelly.
As for best actor, Joaquin Phoenix deserves the Oscar as far as I’m concerned and completely merits recognition for his body-contouring presentation in Joker. I’m also interested to see how the show will play out without a host again this year… And of course I’m always looking forward to the fashion statements that make their way onto the red carpet.
So happy viewing everybody!! I’ll leave you with a photo from one of our previous Oscar parties!! If you need me this week I’ll be brushing up on all the nominees and forming my predictions…. What are yours!?
Photography by Brooklyn D Photography