How to Host an Oscar Viewing Party

Oscar Party
Looking for a last minute idea for an at-home Academy Awards viewing party? A simple set-up and menu can give your guests the red carpet treatment within your budget.  And the winner is…

A Black and White Oscar Party

Setting the Scene  

Design a chic setting using black and white basics (china and trays) and accents of metallic colors and/or floating candles. Prearrange nuts, olives, and appetizers on trays with cocktail napkins and small plates before guests arrive. Keep shrimp warm until you are ready to serve. Organize a tray for plates and napkins for entrée with napkin-wrapped silverware. During cocktails, play high-energy movie music like Moulin Rouge or Chicago. Then gather friends around your coffee table to watch the show and indulge! Lastly, you can incorporate games while guests enjoy the finger foods and glamorous cocktails.


For approximately 12 guests

Finger food and Appetizers

Snack bowls: Popcorn, marinated olives, roasted nuts
Baked Brie with Pears and Raspberries & Baguette Bread (recipe below)
Mushroom Turnovers (Trader Joes)


Whiskey Barbecue Glazed Shrimp with Rice (recipe below)


Chocolate mousse in cocktail glasses (recipe below)

What to Pour

Using two bottles of sparkling wine like Mumm Cuvee Napa or Piper Sonoma Brut, fill a dozen champagne flutes and add a splash of Hiram Walker Fruja Mango Liquer or Chambord to each glass.

Oscar 101: trivia and prizes

Trivia contest: During commercial breaks go to to quiz guests. Example:  Who is the youngest winner? How tall is today’s statuette?

Oscar ballots:  Provide a copy of the nomination list to your guests. You can download it from Ask guests to arrive early to watch the pre-show and fill out ballots before the show begins. Have everyone trade completed forms before the show and tally each other’s ballots.

Prizes: Give a bottle of champagne of your choice to the winner of the ballot and gift card between $10-50 to the trivia winner.


Baked Brie with Pears and Raspberries

2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 ripe medium pears, peeled, cored, sliced
½ cup raspberries
1 egg
½ pkg frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 medium wheel of brie

In skillet stir butter and sugar over medium heat until butter melts. Add pear slices; cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool. Gently stir in raspberries. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In bowl, beat egg with 1 tbsp water. On a lightly floured surface roll out pastry to 12” circle. Place brie in center; spoon pear mixture on top. Gather edges to encase cheese completely; use scissors to trim excess. Brush top and sides with egg mixture. Place on baking sheet and back for approximately 25 minutes. Garnish with raspberries and serve with sliced baguette.

Simplify: Pass brie bites. Melt small slices of brie on tasted baguette slices with apple butter or pear chutney.

Whiskey-Barbecue Glazed Shrimp

1 ½ cup whiskey
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp minced cilantro
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Serve over rice

In a heavy saucepan heat whiskey to boil; reduce to ¼ cup, about 12 minutes. Stir in ketchup, brown sugar, cilantro; keep warm. In skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic , shallot; cook 1 minute. Add shrimp; cook 4 minutes, or until pink. Serve on rice, drizzle hot glaze over shrimp.

Simplify: Instead of making the whiskey sauce, buy your favorite good quality barbecue sauce and heat with chopped garlic and cilantro.

Mushroom Turnovers

Simple – I pick these up from Trader Joes. Heat them in the oven and they taste like homemade! For 12 guests, I suggest 3 to 4 boxes.

Chocolate Mousse

Make 4 hours in advance to set

8 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup chilled heavy cream
Fresh raspberries, mint leaves and chocolate shavings for garnish

Whisk egg yolks, sugar, butter and ½ cup water in double boiler over simmering water; whisk constantly until instant-read thermometer reads 160 degrees and mixture has thickened. Add chocolate; stir until melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Remove from heat; cool. With electric mixer beat cream until it forms in soft peaks; fold into chocolate mixture. Spoon into 12 6oz. serving dishes; chill until set, about 4 hours. Garnish with raspberries, mint, chocolate.


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