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How to Throw a Red-Carpet Ready Awards Party

Here in Southern California, the annual movie awards season is more celebrated than any of the four meteorological seasons. There are multiple awards shows, culminating in a big Hollywood awards ceremony that usually occurs in February or March.

People throw all sorts of viewing parties, ranging from casual gatherings in front of a TV, to lavish sit-down meals, to competitive events where you try to guess all the night’s winners. But no matter what kind of party you decide to throw, once you’ve hammered out the menu and guest list there are still a few simple ways to elevate the evening without expending epic amounts of energy.

Here are some of the best ways to throw a picture-perfect party.

Best Way to Make an Entrance

Roll out the red carpet. Literally. You can buy an inexpensive carpet runner in a glamourous shade of red and roll it out like a long welcome mat, so guests will feel like mini-celebrities. If you have a front walkway, all the better for creating a grand entrance. But a red carpet will work just as well right inside your front hallway too.

Best Way to Sound Like an Insider

It’s all about who you know even if you don’t really know anybody. Maybe you’re not into the whole movie scene as much as you’re into throwing a movie-themed party. You’ll still want to be able to hold a conversation with your guests. So here are a few must-know categories for this year’s awards ceremony:

  • Best Picture Nominees:
    • Call Me by Your Name
    • Darkest Hour
    • Dunkirk
    • Get Out
    • Lady Bird
    • Phantom Thread
    • The Post
    • The Shape of Water
    • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Actor in a Leading Role Nominees:
    • Timothée Chalamet: Call Me by Your Name
    • Daniel Day-Lewis: Phantom Thread
    • Daniel Kaluuya: Get Out
    • Gary Oldman: Darkest Hour
    • Denzel Washington: Roman J. Israel, Esq.
  • Actress in a Leading Role Nominees:
    • Sally Hawkins: The Shape of Water
    • Frances McDormand: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
    • Margot Robbie: I, Tonya
    • Saoirse Ronan: Lady Bird
    • Meryl Streep: The Post

And if you really want to impress your guests, power up your favorite search engine for the nominees in these categories:

  • Directing, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Bonus Points if you can show off by knowing: Writing (Adapted Screenplay), Writing (Original Screenplay), and Music (Original Song)

It takes a village to make a motion picture and all of the year’s nominees across all categories are to be equally applauded for their recognition. In the awards “off season” it’s fun to stream the award-nominated films you missed. You’ll find gems among all the categories.

Best Way to Serve Snacks for a Movie Crowd

Popcorn is the perfect snack choice for a movie-themed party. Serve guests individual bags of popcorn rather than one community bowl that might be hard for everyone to reach. Likewise, offer up pretzels and chips that come in individual serving packages. Single servings also help cut down on food-sharing during flu season.

Sweeter snack options include serving cupcakes rather than a cake that requires utensils and plates. Rue La La® offers up a recipe for cupcakes that look like little bags of popcorn, complete with mini marshmallows masquerading as popped corn. You can find the instructions here, as well as tips on how to make red bow tie napkins (which would also look great in a black tie incarnation), and how to create a faux gold chandelier: Rue La La DIY Projects

And speaking of decadent napkins, if you really want to go the extra mile, order personalized napkins with the names of all the Best Picture nominees. It’ll add a nice touch to your table décor.

Best Way to Play Along

Watching the awards telecast can be a three to four-hour time commitment. Why not supplement the on-screen festivities with an at-home game of Awards Bingo? If you want to create your own cards, there are plenty of online sites for inspiration. Or if you’d rather someone else do the work for you, Punchbowl offers this fun Bingo Card.

Another great way to make the awards show interactive is to have your guests cast their own ballots. Design an official voting ballot with the nominees from all/some of the categories and have guests predict the winners. The person with the most correct picks wins a prize (or gets to make an acceptance speech!).

Best Way to Entertain Fidgety Kids

For kids who can’t sit through the long awards show, take a cue from the Animated Feature Film category and download one or two movies for the kids to watch in another room during the show. Just vet the film before you stream, sometimes animated films are not made exclusively for kids.

Whether you’re hosting a small gathering or a big soiree, these tips will help ensure your awards party is ready for its close-up.


A.J. Bowker is a contributing writer to From House to Home. She has lived on the East Coast, in the Midwest, and is now settled in Southern California. One thing she has learned from living in various parts of the country: home is a state of mind.