great ways to celebrate the oscars

This year will usher in the 83rd Academy Awards ceremony as movie lovers all over the world watch to see who will take home the gold Oscar statuette symbolizing the best of the best on the silver screen this year. While there are official and unofficial gatherings among the glitterati, you don't need to have a home in Hollywood to have fun with this festive celebration of the arts. We've been honoring Oscar for a good number of years, and have some suggestions for you on how to make the most of the occasion. Whether you want to stay in, go out, dress up, or wear your jammies, we've got an Oscar observance that's bound to suit your style.


1. Host your own Oscar viewing party. One of our favorite ways to honor this big screen tradition is to watch it on the small screen (though it's actually not that small any longer) with friends, family and others who love the movies. You can host such a party yourself with ease. One of the most important elements is to have a ballot on which each party-goer can vote for their favorites in all of the categories. You can get a printable version of a 2011 Oscar ballot courtesy of moviefone here. Next, you will want to create an ambiance that suits you and your crowd. You can ask everyone to bring an Oscar-worthy appetizer or provide the eats yourself. You can serve glamorous cocktails and mocktails, and give them names that suit the nominees. This year, for example, you could make a champagne cocktail called the Bubbling Black Swan or a fruit and vegetable smoothie called the Fighter's Juice. In addition to any appetizers or buffet food you might have during the red carpet pre-show, you'll want to have plenty of snacks on hand - nibbles such as popcorn, Junior Mints, Dots, Milk Duds, pretzels and other handy treats both sweet and savory - for the 3+ hour extravaganza. Make sure you've got ample seating for your guests as well. It would be difficult for anyone to stand during the whole ceremony. If you don't have enough chairs, throw some big comfy pillows on the floor. Determine a prize that will go to the person who gets the most correct votes for the winners on their ballot. It can be something extravagant or as simple as a couple movie tickets. If things get slow during the show, you can add other games such as movie trivia and give out other small prizes or gifts. And, of course, you can make everyone a fun goodie bag to be treated like they're at the Governor's Ball when they leave, if you like. You can have your guests dress the glamorous part and walk up the red carpet to your party or just make it a casual and have fun evening. Either way, it will be a fun reminder if you take photos of the guests and the event and share them with your friends when the party is just a memory.


2. Watch some of the previous Oscar-winning or Oscar-nominated films. This can be a great way to relax and remember why we love movies so much. You can create quite a romantic evening if you want to watch with someone special. Or, just have fun with the girls or guys. No need to dress up unless you want to - a big bowl of popcorn and comfy pajamas will do the trick here. You can find all of the Academy Award-winning films on Wikipedia here. Some of our very favorites include It Happened One Night with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, You Can't Take It With You starring Lionel Barrymore, James Stewart and Ann Miller, Gone With the Wind with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, An American in Paris starting Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, The Apartment with Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray, West Side Story with Natalie Wood, Rita Mareno and George Chakiris, Lawrence of Arabia, with Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn and Omar Sharif, My Fair Lady with Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison, The Sound of Music starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, The Godfather and the Godfather Part II, Gandhi, Amadeus, The Last Emperor, Rain Man, Driving Miss Daisy, Chicago and so many more! As you can see, you could easily make it a movie marathon if you like. Just get comfy and enjoy some of the best films ever to come out of the Hollywood hit machine.


3.  Plan an movie-themed gathering, whether a favorite old film or a new Oscar hopeful.  Here you can let your imagination run wild. Love the ballet? How about a Black Swan party. Enjoy the old west? True Grit might make things pop. If you're in the mood for romance you've got many choices from Titanic to Out of Africa to My Fair Lady or From Here to Eternity. Period pieces can make for a great party too. Why not try Hamlet or Gone With the Wind? Costumes could play a key part in a Lawrence of Arabia-themed party, Godfather fetes, or Gladiator-inspired festivities. For a modern twist, you could have a party focused on The Social Network and have all your guests post status updates to their Facebook pages and tell their friends what a great party-giver you are! It will be fun to make the food and drink portion of the evening fitting with your theme. For Godfather parties, you can go all out Italian, pizza, pasta, and lots of chianti. If celebrating the western such as Unforgiven or True Grit, you can serve items inspired by the old west, such as chuckwagon chili and cornbread. To celebrate the world inspired by a film, choose an ethnically appropriate meal such as Middle Eastern fare for Lawrence of Arabia or Indian food for Gandhi. Make sure you put up some fun decorations that celebrate the theme of the movie or just the cinema in general. Inspire your guests to play with their characters, whether Rocky or Tom Jones. And for added atmosphere, play some music that is appropriate to the theme as well. It will round out the evening and keep everyone in the mood to have fun.


4.  Go out to a public Oscar Party. Sometimes you don't feel like staying in on Oscar night. All around the globe there are Oscar viewing parties, from the most glamorous to the most relaxed. Decide whether you want to make it an evening of glamour, dressing up and sipping bubbly, or a fun and casual gathering with burgers and beer or the like. There's something to suit just about every taste, and not all of them happen in Hollywood. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has sanctioned 50 official Oscar parties, dubbed "Oscar Night in America." The parties are part of a nationwide network of fundraisers that celebrate the glitz and glamour of the star-studded event while also raising money for worthy causes. You can find an Oscar Night in America near you in places such as Atlanta, Providence, Charlottesville, Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, Chicago, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Raleigh, Nashville, Washington D.C., Miami, Tucson, and more. Visit the Academy's Oscar Night in America for more information and the party nearest you. New York's Grand Central Terminal, Vanderbilt Hall has a free exhibit open this week where the public can see actual Oscar statuettes and a display of Oscars in various stages of completion at the Meet the Oscars exhibit.

5. Celebrate "Famous Oscars" night. For anyone who's not as interested in the awards ceremony as having a fun evening on their own, how about paying homage to famous Oscars that are not little gold statuettes. You can either have the party at home or go out to a restaurant. Everyone is to pick their favorite famous Oscar and dress appropriately. This can be fun on Oscar night or any other night for that matter (you can always pick another name to emulate). Don't think that there are enough famous Oscars to go around? Think again. Here are just a few we've come up with: Baseball great Oscar Charleston, witty writer Oscar Wilde, boxing champ Oscar de la Hoya, historical hero Oscar Schindler, musical maven Oscar Hammerstein, basketball star Oscar Robertson, sloppy part of the Odd Couple Oscar Madison, fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, Sesame Street's favorite grump Oscar the Grouch, and of course, the lunch meat king Oscar Mayer, just to name a few.



So, no matter whether you feel like putting on the designer wear and prancing down the red carpet or donning your pajamas and eating popcorn in front of the tv, there's something for just about everyone to do on Oscar night. We hope you have fun whatever your choice. Please let us know who you're rooting for to win the awards as well! And the Oscar goes to...