15 Tips For Throwing Your Own Oscar Viewing Party

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Dear Preston:

I am planning to host an Oscar Viewing party and want to do something a little out of the ordinary. Do you have any tips for making it a fun night (the telecast can go a little long, as you well know).

And the winner is…

Dear Winner:

I completely know what you mean and I think a good viewing party should be interactive and fun. Take a look at the decor we did for an Oscar party on Good Morning America and take a look at the tips below. I hope you find some of them useful.

Set The Tone Immediately: Whether it’s a red carpet made of flower petals, a “Walk of Fame” highlighting the names of your guests on cutout stars, or a door draped in fabric, guests should feel like they are entering an event the second they arrive.

The Big Screen: There are all kinds of small projectors on the market now that can be hooked up to your cable and allow you to project the show on a large white wall or on white fabric draped over one.

Fun Accents: We found photos of all the nominated actors and actresses of their profiles (side view) and created silhouettes for them. We printed these onto dark fabric transfers with a regular inkjet printer and cut them out. We ironed them onto inexpensive pillow cases and placed name cards revealing who each person was on the back flap of the pillow. We thought this was a cute game where everyone could guess who is who. It could also be done much more simply, by printing side profile photos of the actors, tracing their silhouettes on colored construction paper, cutting them out, and gluing them to a sheet of card stock. This is a more flash-cards version (and less expensive) for this game.

Go for The Gold: Use gold lame accents for throws, pillows, and buffet colors and pair these accents with  (theatre curtain color) burgundy. For flowers, deep burgundy red roses in gold containers work well.

The Envelope, Please: Another idea similar to what we did on the screens but easier for viewers could be to make envelopes with winners for the best director, actor, actress, picture for the last 5 or 10 years. Written on the outside of the envelope: Best Actor: Al Pacino. Then have someone guess what role or roles he won for. The card inside would hold the answer. For added fun, you can add a dare for a wrong answer and a prize for the right one.

Food and Drinks:

Go Easy: You want to have a menu that offers a variety of foods, but it’s best to avoid foods that require the use of more than one eating utensil. The finger food route is usually the safest.

Yet, Glamorous: This is Hollywood at its most glamorous. Think champagne and caviar, shrimp cocktail, sushi, scallops wrapped in prosciutto, and Shish Kabobs. Those who don’t want to to go too crazy can serve favorites like pigs in a blanket and place a lovely cheese and fruit plate on elegant trays.

A Toast: I don’t drink alcohol, which is why I love the idea of a fully-stocked juice bar with a “mocktail” list. Sparkling cider is a nice treat for smaller guests and those who do drink can enjoy champagne, prosecco, cava, or golden cadillacs.

Take a Stand: Foods and desserts placed on cake stands of different heights can be a lot of fun.


In order to provide incentives to be invested in the games, there should be prizes. For the GMA show, we wrapped up some cookies and small flower arrangements. You could also do “glamorous gifts” such as a bottle of champagne or sparkling cider and a little box of chocolate truffles or even a spa treatment of some kind.

Who is going to win? The point of an Oscar Party is to watch the Oscars. Have everyone cast a vote for who they think will win in select categories and see how well the group or individuals do.

If you divide the group into teams, the team with the most correct guesses could receive little Oscars or scratch off lottery tickets. The votes should be submitted in Oscar-style envelopes.

A Bit of Trivia: Print out 10 questions relating to the show and movie history and have guests fill them out throughout the evening. At the end of the evening, give the answers “Bingo”-style but have them say “Oscar”.  The guest with the most right answers will win a prize.

Best (and Worst) Dressed: Do like my dear friend, Joan Rivers,  and have people vote on the Best and Worst Dressed celebrity and guest. This could be a lot of fun, especially if you make them talk about what they are wearing.

Speech! Have guests prepare a 1-3 minute Oscar speech to give during commercials.

Lastly, Be Selective With Your Guest List: You want to invite people who will enjoy the show and will enjoy the show and embrace the vibe and celebrity chatter, otherwise it’s counterproductive.

Let me know what you end up doing. I would love to see it.



(Photo Courtesy of Sanaw Ledrod)

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