(credit: Brad Barket/Getty Images)
An Oscar-themed party is a great opportunity to dress up, pull out the red carpet and champagne and enjoy a night with friends and family guessing who will be the big winners this year. Local expert Beth Schnitzer, co-founder and president of Spritz in San Francisco, shares her top tips for a memorable, Oscar-themed event.
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Beth Schnitzer is the co-founder of Spritz, an integrated marketing and creative agency. Spritz combines interactive technologies with traditional marketing. The team provides dynamic solutions for moving brands to the digital world by creating their online brand identities, activation, marketing and PR strategies. Beth works on many of San Francisco’s charitable events, and her latest community contributions include ILLUMINATE and the Grand Relighting of The Bay Lights as it was gifted to the State of California. She was also involved in kicking off Super Bowl 50 Host Committee’s free-to-the-public festivities, NFL Experience, Macy’s fireworks and the pre-game celebration televised in a live hour-long TV special on KPIX 5.
Decor and Colors: Opulent and Luxurious
Gold and black look and feel luxurious. Beth says that for her Oscar parties, “I ordered gold stars to attach to the stem of each wine glass or champagne flute for guests to write their name to both identify their own glass and help people to interact.” Order gold stars to hang, plus anything film-related to provide fun decor in bathroom and seating areas. Bring out the white twinkly Christmas lights to add more glitz and sparkle. Are you planning annual Oscar parties? “Splurge on a small red carpet for the entryway to make guests feel like they’ve arrived with flair,” says Beth.
Themes: Ballot Contest and Costumes
Beth says a contest is a necessity. Here’s how it works: Go to oscar.go.com to print out the official ballot, make copies for guests and provide pens. Designate the amount for the pool ($10 is always a good round number). The winner gets the pool, and the one with least amount of winning selections wins a gift card to the movies (tip: get two, as there are usually ties). Designate one person and a back-up to tally the votes. Give them the most comfortable seat at the party and keep them pumped with food and beverages.
Invite guests to dress up as their favorite movie. “In the past, some of my guests have had fabulous attire including a sari for ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ or a ballerina costume for ‘Black Swan.’ This year’s nominations such as ‘The Martian,’ ‘Creed,’ ‘Steve Jobs,’ and ‘Bridge of Spies’ could conjure up creative costumes.”
Food: Champagne on Arrival
Go with the star theme and also tie in food inspired by nominated films. For example, Beth suggests using a star cookie cutter to make potato skins baked and topped with caviar and creme fraiche to go with the “Bridge of Spies” Russian theme, paired with Russian vodka. Make small signs on toothpicks indicating the movie theme that goes with each food course. Guests can be asked to bring a food contribution that embraces a movie theme. Use shiny gold trays to serve food or use foil doilies. The Academy Awards are long, and if guests are invited for the televised red carpet preview, be sure to plan out the food to keep guests well fed. Have a lot of different appetizers and then heavier courses before dessert. “My favorite is to welcome guests with champagne (or sparkling wine) on arrival,” Beth says. “Remember to keep the food coming in phases.”
Props: Gleaming Statuettes
Follow Beth’s example and purchase several Oscar replicas on Amazon and decorate with them around your party; don’t forget your bathroom too! Guests will love posing with these replica statuettes for selfies. Later, they are perfect for presenting as a gift for your contest winners, for best costume attire, for best themed food contribution and for anyone who deserves an award for giving a hand. Be sure to give an Oscar or a free movie card to your ballot judges to thank them for their help as “presenters” for the contest pool.
Surprise and Delight: Celebrity Pics
One of Beth’s fun ideas is to print out celebrity pics and write best wishes across their photos with a sharpie pen, “Have a Great Oscar Party, Beth! Love, Leonardo.” Scan and print them, inexpensively frame or prop them up to display around the party. You’ll certainly surprise your guests and start some buzz going about your personal celebrity “friends.”