More than 10 ways to party Oscar-style at the last minute

Looking to party away from home Oscar Night?

Here are three options:

  • An Evening with Oscar: FilmDayton hosts its annual fundraiser, which includes live screening of the Academy Awards show, Oscar bingo, silent auction, cash bar and more. Hilton Garden Inn, 3520 Pentagon Park Blvd., Beavercreek. 7 p.m. $20 FilmDayton members, $25 non-members. $125 for a group of six. 937-554-0031 or www.filmdayton.com.

  • Seating for the THE NEON’s Annual Oscar Party begins at 7 p.m. Ballots are now available in the lobby of the theater located at 130 E. Fifth St., Dayton. They must be turned in before the first award is announced. Prizes will be awarded throughout the night for correct guesses. The grand prize is courtesy of Square One Salon and Spa and The Neon. Admission is free. ThinkTV will help provide the signal for the broadcast. Visit neonmovies.com for more.
  • Brauhaus Riegele beer and Archer’s Tavern will hold an Oscar party at the tavern, 9496 Dayton Lebanon Pike, Centerville, starting at 6 p.m. Guests are encouraged to dressed for the Red Carpet as favorite characters or actors. There will be drink specials, door prizes and trivia. Visit http://on.fb.me/1c9IyTd for more.

They are far less common than Super Bowl parties, but home Academy Award parties are certainty growing in popularity.

And like the Super Bowl day, Oscar night has a way of sneaking up on you.

Chef Matthew Hayden, the owner of Scratch Event Catering, said throwing a last-minute Oscar bash doesn’t have to be complicated to be classy. It all comes down to preparation and using what you have available in an unique way.

Hayden encourages hostesses and hosts to get as much as they can done in advance. “All you are doing at the end is a little assembly or pulling stuff out of the oven,” he said. “Otherwise it will ruin your party.”

Simplicity can be a party saver, Hayden said. Pantry items like store-bought puff pastry can be used in several different ways. “You can make a tart out of anything,” Hayden said. “Apples and cheese and brie and cranberry. You can put meatloaf and a little barbecue in puff pastry.”

You can reinterpret American favorites for an elegant and fun touch. Provide toppings like sour cream, bacon, chives and cheese for the mashed potatoes bar, Hayden said. Martini glasses can be used in the place of bowls. A gumbo bar or chili bar can be prepared in a similar fashion.

“You’ve taken some relatively mundane foods that people love and now you have reinterpreted them into something small and cute and sort of elegant,” he said.

Hayden said appetizers do not have to be fancy to be fabulous. Hummus dips made of either mashed chickpeas or garbanzo beans and tahini are also crowd-pleasers. Hayden has added everything from black beans to dried fruit and apples to his dips.

Now that you have inspiration for the menu, here are a few other easy thing to do:

Glam it up

A crimson runner, carpet or fabric can go a long way toward setting your party’s mood. Your guests should walk the red carpet when they enter the party, striking poses. Don’t forget the “paparazzi.” Assign one or more people photographer duties. Your paparazzi can snap photos of your guests as they enter.

Add a little candlelight or/and flowers to spice up your space.

Make it a game

Make the show interactive by allowing your guests to vote for who they think will win or should win Academy Awards. A list of Oscar nominees is available at oscar.go.com/nominees. There are several other ways to let your guests win in categories — best themed dish at the party, best dressed at the Oscars, best acceptance speech, etc. Don’t forget to award winners with a trophy, doodad or knickknack.

Stage the room

Like the Super Bowl, Oscar night is very much a TVcentric event. Position seating around the TV so you can maximize the number of people enjoying best seat in the house. If possible, entertain in a space large so that the talkers won’t be sitting on top of those who actually care about the show. Some people take Oscar night more seriously than others.

Make sure there is a place to set drinks and your delicious appetizers.

Contact this columnist at arobinson@DaytonDailyNews.com or Twitter.com/DDNSmartMouth

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