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Right about now, other Oscar hosts and hostesses are scrambling to assemble a Franken-buffet in tribute to this year’s Best Picture nominations, and let’s be honest, this year’s field leaves much to be desired where food references are concerned: Amy’s controversial pickled limes from “Little Women?” Irish-Italian fusion cuisine? Hell, food was being rationed in “1917.” I’ll give you that a batch of frozen margaritas in the spirit of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is never a bad party trick, but still.

Not you. Not this year. You are a singular host with a singular theme that allows you to demonstrate your panache across all of the details. And the Academy Award for Best 2020 Oscar Party Idea goes to: Classic Hollywood. This is the Meryl Streep of party ideas. It just keeps on winning.

The Golden Age of Hollywood spanned from the late 1920s to the late 1950s so there are plenty of throwback elements to incorporate across the decades for a party so classy you just might need to prepare your own acceptance speech.

Gold Award Trophies, Set of 6 for $7.97 on Amazon

And they award for best party favor goes to…
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And the Award for Best Costume Design Goes to…

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So this was fun.

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Black and white. How easy is this? Even your least gung-ho friends would have to put in effort not to participate. If you’re feeling extra extra, give a shot to this grayscale makeup technique, and have supplies on hand for when your most gung-ho friends arrive and can’t resist the opportunity. Make anyone who doesn’t adhere to the theme wear a “filmed in Technicolor” name tag.

Mehron Light Grey Cake Makeup, $12.97 on Amazon

A black-and-white star is born.
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And the Award for Best Visual Effects Goes to…

Silent movie title cards. 1. Print out a slew of these well-designed, old-timey placards. 2. Have a silver paint pen on hand. 3. Watch how your friends go into selfie-overdrive in order to win the coveted “Best Picture” award, i.e. the photo with the most likes on Instagram.

And the Award for Best “Animated Feature” Goes to…

Academy Award Bingo. Because what’s more animated that someone jumping up from their chair, screaming “Bingo!”, and proceeding to kiss everyone in the room Roberto Benigni-style because they finally completed a row when someone’s speech got cut off by the orchestra? There are many Oscar bingo cards to be found, but we love the glamorous design of this set, and the easy but elegant suggestion of using star stickers as markers.

And the Award for Best Production Design Goes to…

Life-size Charlie Chaplin cutout. You hardly need to concern yourself with additional decorations when the most iconic figure from the silent film era is there to preside over the festivities. Which leaves you more time and budget for food and drinks.

Charlie Chaplin Life Size Cardboard Cutout, $39.95 on Amazon

He’s not the only one who’ll be The Champion at the party.
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And the Award for Best Craft Service Goes to…

You with this retro appetizer spread. OK, so this isn’t a real award, but let’s take a moment to honor all of the hard-working people who toil for 18-hour days alongside all of the camera crew, makeup artists, and production assistants by keeping them fed. Any party that’s not an actual sit-down dinner party should never have to bother with forks, so keep it simple but hearty with these 1950s (and earlier) inspired finger foods.

Layered Cheese Ball


The stars won’t be the only ones cheesing for the camera tonight. Get our Layered Cheese Ball recipe.

Shrimp Cocktail


Serve them up with a celery-salted rim in these individual shooter cups. Get our Shrimp Cocktail recipe.

Ham and Pickle Pinwheels

They’re just one of those things that inspires nostalgia and even though our tastes have evolved beyond three-ingredient gimmicks, you can’t deny how tasty they are. Get the Ham and Pickle Rolls recipe.

Crudité Platter

Always in style. Always a classic. Always necessary to combat the effects of a bombastic cheese ball. Get the Crudité Platter recipe.

Oysters Rockefeller


Since you are mostly rolling with simple, cold appetizers, use the commercial breaks to pass around warm batches of the most timeless of all finger foods. Get our Oysters Rockefeller recipe.

Champagne and Blueberry Jello Molds

You’ve been meaning to spring for a cake pedestal anyway, and these adorable individual throwback desserts kind of deserve one. Get the Champagne and Blueberry Jello Molds recipe.

And the Award for Best Thematic Cocktail Goes to…


What else? An Old-Fashioned. Requiring only three ingredients and golden in color, it literally puts a cherry on top of your most memorable soirée. Get our Old Fashioned Cocktail recipe.

Related Video: How to Make a Red Carpet Royale Champagne Cocktail with Gold Leaf


Header image courtesy of Chowhound.

Pamela Vachon is a freelance writer based in Astoria, NY whose work has also appeared on CNET, Cheese Professor, Alcohol Professor, and Diced. She is also a certified sommelier, voiceover artist, and an avid lover of all things pickled or fermented.
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