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Your living room is your set, and you are the set manager when you host an Oscars party. Whatever else you’re planning for the occasion, the focal point of that set is obvious—your TV (or whatever device you use). Let us help you with the logistics.

To make your hoopla an award-winning affair to remember, plan well. Check out our classic appetizers, our 2019 Oscar nominee-inspired food menu, our 2019 Oscars drink round-up representing all the Best Picture picks, and these desserts inspired by classic movie theater snacks! Or if you really aim to impress (and have a big-studio type of budget), get intel on all the iconic offerings fit for the stars: oysters, lobster, caviar, truffles, and Champagne. May as well throw in some edible gold leaf for the occasion too. (Or take the opposite tack and employ some baking mix hacks for easy but fancy appetizers…)

The Other Kind of Caviar

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Besides the starring food and drink, there are two other things to keep in mind while watching the Oscars: a good line of sight, and ready access to those classy snacks.

1. Make sure all the seats have a good view of the screen.

Create stadium seating. The first level can be pillows on the floor, camping chairs, and bean bag chairs. The next level: a couch and chairs formed in a semi-circle around the ground level seating. Lastly, place tall bar stools around the back.

2. Don’t let a rogue stool move to the front.

People will move around, but try to maintain order.

3. Never put a bar near the TV because it will interfere with the guests’ viewing.

Instead, put most of the food and drinks in the kitchen. You can turn on soft music in there, which will create a smaller, second party for people who’d rather talk than focus on the screen. (You can only stand so many acceptance speeches, you know? And the “In Memorium” montage is just too painful for some to watch.)

4. Set up a satellite table in the TV room, but in the back or off to the side.

There should be a few bites of food and drinks there so people can refresh without traveling to the kitchen.

If you’ve done all these things right, you’re living room will be the destination for the Super Bowl, Oscars, or any TV-viewing event, Saturday night Netflix binge-watching included.

Speaking of TV-viewing, we’re joining forces with ET Live and CNET to give away a bunch of prizes, including a 65-inch 4K TV, and lots of Fandango gift cards! Enter for your chance to win* before Feb. 25, 2019.

And then try these recipes at your next hosting gig.

Baked Mussels with Pepperoni Rice


Five pounds of mussels in the shell, cleaned and de-bearded, is just the start of these elegant boats filled with Calasparra rice, which absorbs a lot of moisture without losing firmness. A bunch of finely chopped pepperoni, anchovies, tomato paste, and other ingredients provide the salty, sharp, sweetness to round out the dish. Get our Baked Mussels with Pepperoni Rice recipe.

Sophisticate St. Germain Cocktail


Hey, would a cocktail by any other name be as highbrow? Raise yours and see for yourself as you sip this mixed drink that gets a dose of designer-level panache with some St. Germain elderflower liqueur. You must serve it in a martini glass, or it doesn’t count. Remember, the trappings are important. Get our Sophisticate recipe.

St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, (price varies) on Drizly

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Whether or not your friends have gluten intolerance, they’ll do more than tolerate these thin chick pea pancakes rolled around nubs of creamy, mild goat cheese and freshly cracked black pepper. Get our Socca recipe.

Pepper-Roasted Cauliflower


Cauliflower is like a blank canvas, in the same way that chicken breast and fettuccine are only good after they’ve been painted. Unless you had some spice or sauce to it, well, there’s nothing much to taste. Not so with this side dish. The secret ingredient? Soy sauce. (But try it with tahini and goji berries too—or with crispy breadcrumbs and golden raisins.) Get our Pepper-Roasted Cauliflower recipe.

Ricotta Crostini with Sautéed Nettles


Purchase the best fresh ricotta you can find because in this dish, it’s front and center. To contrast the rich, creamy mild flavor of the ricotta, sautéed nettles lend deep, earthy, pleasantly bitter flavor and a pop of hunter green. Get our Ricotta Crostini with Sautéed Nettles recipe.

Moscow Mule


Some of the best things in life are simple, like this three-ingredient drink that’s hipper than the hippest hipster. All you need is a good vodka, a wedge of lime, and ginger beer. Bonus points if you acquire those official Moscow Mule official copper cups. Get our Moscow Mule recipe.

Black Pepper-Manchego Cheese Puffs


These fluffy, cheesy clouds of heaven are so much finer than the name indicates. Don’t you dare compare these to that artificial orange-powdered snack from the vending machine. Technically called gougères, these French puffs are tweaked, by using Manchego and Parmesan instead of Gruyere cheese, and the addition of black pepper is not exactly traditional. Get our Black Pepper-Manchego Cheese Puffs recipe.

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

All featured products are curated independently by our editors. When you buy something through our retail links, we may receive a commission. For more great hand-picked products, check out the Chowhound Shop.

This post was originally published by Meredith Arthur, Jeremy LaCroix, and Eric Slatkin in 2009; updated by Amy Sowder in 2017; updated by Jen Wheeler in 2019.


Header image by Chowhound.

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