Watching the big awards show is better with friends. CONTRIBUTED
Jane Schreier Jones
How will you know if you like Naomi Watts’ dress at the Academy Awards unless your friends tell you that you do?
That’s just one reason to gather people at your home, to all sit and dish as you watch the entire evening of the Oscars. This year’s televised event is next Sunday, Feb. 24.
Your gathering can be anything from simple to spectacular. And we’re here to help with ideas.
Jazz up your gathering with Oscar-themed paper goods, such as Hollywood plates, napkins, tablecloths, etc. from your favorite local party store. Bundles of black and gold balloons are a fairly inexpensive way to get pizzazz around the party room.
Decorations can include a red carpet leading to your front door or buffet table, having a friend pose as a member of the paparazzi as guests arrive, silver Mylar fringe over front door for guest to walk through, and loads of Hollywood posters around the eating and watching areas. Companies such as Entertainment Unlimited Events rent big Oscar statues, from 5-foot to 12-feet tall, as well as Hollywood signs and other show-stopping decor items.
Select the level of extravagance for your party that matches you and your friends. “You can turn it up a notch by asking people to dress as their favorite movie character from this year’s list,” says Stephanie Via-Hagar of Entertainment Unlimited Events in Centerville. “Or make it a black-tie event.”
Add to the fun by having each guest make predictions as to who-will-win-what in the big categories (best picture, best director, best actor, best actress, best supportings). Award prizes for correct guesses as the awards are announced on TV or wait until the end of the evening to find who had the most correct guesses overall.
“No gathering is complete without food, and yours can be a lavish spread or yummy appetizers or anything in between,” says Christina Bender, healthy eating specialist at Whole Foods Market in Mason. “Potlucks are fun, especially if you have a theme to the evening.”
A French theme in homage to “Les Misérables”? Or let your imagination go wild by serving southern Louisiana fare as a bow to “Beast of the Southern Wild.”
“Remember that we’re not too far away from New Year’s Day and many people are maintaining their resolution to eat healthy in 2013,” Bender said. “Serving some healthy choices is always appropriate.”
“Offer guests a signature drink for the evening, such as a ‘Hot Hathaway,’ ‘The Golden Statue’ or another name you invent,” suggests Via-Hagar. She says the drink can be your own concoction or a cocktail recipe you find on the internet
When an evening is based around a televised event, you might want to gently suggest a code of conduct before you turn on the set. Ask guests if they like the idea of keeping talking to a minimum during the show but gabbing away during commercials. Their reaction may be yes or not, and take your cue from that, to create an evening that will have you taking a bow.
MOTION PICTURE MUSHROOM, RADISH AND HEARTS OF PALM SKEWERS
Recipe from Christina Bender, Whole Foods Market Mason.
Balsamic-marinated roasted mushrooms and hearts of palm alternated with crunchy, colorful radishes provide variety and balance on your party table.
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped
• 24 small cremini or button mushrooms
• 4 tablespoons aged balsamic of Modena, divided
• 3 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary, divided
• 3 teaspoons finely chopped thyme, divided
• 6 medium radishes, trimmed and quartered
• 1 (14 ounce) can hearts of palm, drained
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
Mash or press garlic; transfer to a large bowl. Whisk together 3 tablespoons balsamic, 2 teaspoons rosemary and 2 teaspoons thyme. Add mushrooms and radishes, toss well and set aside, tossing occasionally, for 30 minutes. In another bowl toss the remaining vinegar, rosemary and thyme. Halve the largest pieces of hearts of palm so you have at least 24 pieces; add to the bowl and toss to combine. Preheat oven to 425°F. Transfer mushrooms and radishes to a large, rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast until softened and just caramelized, about 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, thread a mushroom, piece of radish and piece of palm heart onto 24 6-inch skewers. Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm or at room temperature.
Per serving: 10 calories (0 from fat), 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 75mg sodium, 2g carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 1g sugar), 1g protein