Oscar Party Planning
Some Manhattan movie buffs who aren’t satisfied with watching the Oscars on their large-screen TVs are unfurling red carpets outside their brownstones and enlisting relatives to pose as paparazzi.
Academy Award-watching parties are typically the province of women friends who trick out their homes to follow an elaborate theme – complete with movie-ticket invitations, velvet-roped stanchions and Oscar-shaped chocolate party favors. But it’s not uncommon for their spouses to participate in elaborate black-tie affairs, where an inspired host might commission an ice sculpture of an Oscar statuette and surround it with sushi and raw bar fixings.
A lavish affair for 20 guests can run up to $15,000, said party planner Andrea Correale of Elegant Affairs, though it’s easy to cut corners. Instead of paying $500 to $1,200 a head for celebrity impersonators, hosts can decorate with movie posters and $50 cardboard cutouts of the stars.
“It’s all about the glitter,” said Correale, who’s thrown in decorative flourishes like black- and silver-sequined tablecloths and glass vases filled with faux diamonds and pearls at her parties. David Tutera – party planner to the likes of Star Jones, Elton John and Barbara Walters – suggests dusting red roses with gold or opalescent glitter.
Hosts who prefer a homier gathering might choose a movieplex theme and serve TV dinners and concession-stand candies like Raisinets and Twizzlers. Movie trivia games can be played during commercials, and guests should be instructed to fill out their ballots in advance. Tutera suggests upping the stakes by stocking up on free movie passes and DVDs of past Oscar winners to reward guests with the most right answers on their ballot. –Cotton Delo
Where to Watch the Oscars
For dedicated Oscar fans, here are some spots to enjoy fine cuisine while watching the stars parade down the red carpet. –Lauren Wilkinson
20 Prince St., 212-966-8886
This cute French bistro’s upstairs Gibraltar lounge will be open from 4 p.m. to midnight on Oscar night. They’ll be serving non-stop brunch and drinks and playing the show on a flat screen, and a photographer will be on-hand.
425 Lafayette St., 212-539-8778
Murray Hill, the self-described “hardest working middle-aged man in show business,” takes his show to Joe’s this year. The performers, including the Wau-Wau sisters and Mike Albo, will recreate scenes from nominated films and give out best- and worst-dressed awards to audience members. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door.
Time Warner Center
10 Columbus Circle, 212-823-6123
Landmarc will be showing the ceremony on two flat screens in a private room. Chef Marc Murphy has created an $80 four-course tasting menu for the evening, including mini crudite canapés, potato leek soup with caviar whipped cream, beef wellington with pergourdine sauce, chocolate panna cotta, and blood orange and saffron biscotti. The meal, served at communal tables, also includes one bottle of champagne per two people. Seating is at 7:45 p.m.
Throw the Ultimate Oscar Party
Here’s a wish list for the party thrower who takes hosting responsibilities seriously. –Khristina Narizhnaya
Roll out the red carpet for your guests. Price depends on dimensions, but a sample price of $55.22 for a 3-by-8 piece gives an idea. grandcarpets.com
Tiered Serving Tray
Serve your guests with 24-karat gold tiered trays. Sets are available for $516.
Movie Theater Seat
Watch the Oscars in plush red theater seats available for $773 to $1,250.
60” Kuro Flat Panel HDTV
This plasma TV features high contrast and high image definition at 1080 pixels. It’s available at B&H Photo Video (420 Ninth Ave. 212-239-7500) for $6,500.
Handcrafted Oscar Night Invitations
Mbula Design Studio handcrafts invitations with silk, Swarovski rhinestones and gold leaf. They start at $65 per invitation. mbula.com
Chocolate Oscar Statue in a Gold Box
Reward your guests with chocolate Oscars, available for $10 in a gold box.
Krug Jewel Encrusted Ice Bucket
Designed by James de Givenchy, this $120,000 ice bucket of red lacquer with Cacholong, or mother-of-pearl opal, and silver lining is handmade in Europe. taffin.com
The Academy Awards are upon us again, so why not trade the tired chips and dip for Oscar-inspired snacks? –K.N.
Nothing beats the “special” meat pies Mrs. Lovett bakes under Sweeney Todd’s barber shop, but empanadas come close. You can find savory ones filled with spiced pork sausage, cheese or corn truffle, available for take-out at $8 each, at the Mexican restaurant Café Frida (368 Columbus Ave., 212-712-2929). For a proper British meat pie – minus the human flesh – visit Myers of Keswick (634 Hudson St., 212-691-4194).
Roast Beef Sandwiches
The Edith Piaf character in “La Vie En Rose” turns down a roast beef sandwich upon arriving in New York from Paris, but maybe that’s because she was put off by a greasy-spoon diner’s take on the local classic. Balducci’s (81 Eighth Ave.) has a classier $9 version made with Kobe roast beef, Swiss cheese, arugula and horseradish mayonnaise.
Channel the acclaimed Westerns “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood” with Texas Salt and Pepper Beef Ribs, available for take-out or delivery at Blue Smoke (116 E. 27th St., 212-447-7733). You can get 20 bones for $59.
Juno MacGuff drinks Sunny Delight to fill her bladder before taking a pregnancy test, but if you’re not expecting, you can spike your OJ with champagne. Fresh squeezed orange juice is available at Whole Foods, and you can pick up a $150 bottle of Krug Grande Cuvee Champagne at Crush Wine & Spirits (153 E. 57th St., 212-980-WINE).
The Oscars deserve top-shelf kernels. Garrett Popcorn Shop (560 Fifth Ave.; 242 W. 34th St., 212-921-4454) makes fresh gourmet popcorn every day and delivers on weekdays. Flavors like CaramelCrisp, Buttery and CheeseCorn are available in different combinations and sizes; a 6.5-gallon tin of Macademia and CaramelCrisp costs $185.
Make Your Own Butter and White Truffle Popcorn
by Todd Mitgang, executive chef at the nouveau Latin American Crave Ceviche Bar (946 Second Ave., 212-355-6565).
Dehydrated butter – 1 Tbsp
White truffle oil – 1 Tbsp
Fresh black pepper – to taste
Maldon sea salt – to taste
Unsalted or unseasoned popcorn
Pop the popcorn and set aside in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix all the ingredients together to make the seasoning. Toss seasoning together with popcorn and enjoy.