David Burtka’s Tips to Throwing an Oscars Party
Best. Party. Ever: Secrets to throw a bang-up bash on awards night.
Neil and I have spent a lot of time at awards shows (and a lot of time at awards show parties). It’s super fun, especially when your husband is hosting (as Neil has with both the Oscars and the Tonys…so proud!)…but we also love just hanging out at home, having some friends and family over, and taking in the show from the comfort of our living room. To that end, Neil’s asked me to come up with some tips to share with you, to help you throw a bash so successful that it’ll catch even the Academy’s attention.
PICK A DIRECTION: FANCY OR CASUAL
Attending the Oscars is work — you get into tuxedos, do press and spend 4 hours at the ceremony and countless more at after-parties. I know, I know, it’s not exactly hard work, and it’s crazy fun, but it can also be tiring. So when we’re at home on Oscar night, we love to host a super casual party where people show up in their pajamas. After all…the show stretches to midnight here on the East Coast. Plus, it’s a viewing party, so you want to be relaxed and comfortable. But if you want to feel like you’re rubbing elbows with the Hollywood swank, why not go the other way and make it a high-end event? Ask everyone to dress up and put out a fancy spread: caviar and stone crab, shrimp, oysters on the half-shell, a meat and cheese board…. Elevated food which people can serve themselves.
HOLD A CONTEST
I always like to print out ballots and pass them around at the start of the party. On the ballot, you’ll have a list of all the nominees in each category, and your guests will guess who’ll take home the gold in each. (These ballots are super easy to find online. In fact, here’s one.) Then, whoever guesses the most winners scores a prize of their own! It doesn’t need to be expensive or fancy. Fill a bag with a bunch of $5 or $10 gift cards from Starbucks or McDonald’s or Target, and your 3 guests who’ve picked the most winners right can reach in and grab a card. Everyone loves stuff like that.
MAKE A THEMED DISH – OR DISHES
I like to make a dish for a few different Oscar nominees. For the 2023 crop, you can make something like peanut butter, bacon and banana sandwiches for Elvis, since that was his favorite. Or for Banshees of Inisherin, you could do a baked potato with Irish butter, with a sharp Irish cheddar cheese, or a shepherd’s pie. For Everything Everywhere All at Once, pizza bagels (to tie in with the bagel motif from the movie), or a party mix (everything is everywhere all at once!). Top Gun, serve an aviation cocktail; Triangle of Sadness, triangle toast points with creme fraiche and caviar; Tár, chocolate budino pudding…you get the idea!
Have fun on the big night!
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