February 04, 2020
Host a memorable Oscars party using our curated menu, based on the 2020 Best Picture nominees.
Whether hosting a few friends or a houseful, choosing the perfect menu for your annual Oscars party can be daunting. Food plays a large role in many of this year's Oscar nominees for Best Pictures. From pivotal scenes ("Parasite") to character favorites ("Once Upon a Time"), here's a menu filled with nods to each of the cinematic treats being recognized at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards.
As our heroes run through the French countryside to save 1,600 fellow soldiers — including a beloved brother — they face many trials, including the desperate need for nourishment. Create an authentic charcuterie board by blending French cheeses and sausages (which would have been country staples) with the modern version of “hard tack," a Huntley & Palmers biscuit that was a staple of mess kits. For a modern recreation, try Sailor Boy Pilot Bread Crackers, which can be found at most grocery stores. A more festive version relies on Classic McVitie's Digestive Cookies, which are much tastier and sweeter than military fare. You can also make your own modern version, which will also offer an updated, sweeter taste.
While not featured in the movie, a classic Sidecar cocktail makes for the perfect featured cocktail. The drink's creation dates to World War I Paris, where it was the signature sip of a charismatic French officer who would drive up to local bars in his motorcycle and sidecar. The cocktail's blend of citrus and whiskey will please a modern palate and help you enjoy the festivities in style.
Menu Item: Gingerbread Women
Gingerbread is a favorite of the March girls and is mentioned throughout the novel, in a variety of recipes. Add a bit of sugar and spice to your party with a cadre of gingerbread women, and let your guests decorate their little women to celebrate the unique personalities of Jo, Amy, Meg and Beth.
"Ford v Ferrari"
Menu Item: Spicy Sliders
Spicy sliders are fast, furious, bite-sized perfection. Honor speed and ingenuity with the classic All-American fast food. More high octane than the typical burger, these spicy sliders have a complex, engineered twist, thanks to jalapeños and chili peppers. Use pepper jack cheese for an extra turbo boost.
It all starts with a steak. If you've seen the three-hour Netflix gangster epic, you'll remember young Frank's declaration: “I don't go near Choice. I only do Prime. That's it." The Bobby Flay recipe for prime steak and the garlic prime rib will have your guests tucking in like a happy Skinny Razor, one of the movie's hit men.
“This table is Switzerland" announces Rosie Betlzer (Scarlett Johansson) as she “eats some grapes" (aka, drinks wine) while her son, JoJo, eats the day's ration of soup and bread. JoJo's beloved mother, who serves as the film's moral center, is hiding a secret for which she pays dearly. At your Oscars party, raise a glass to the bravery and heroism of all the Rosies who “did what they could" during the dark days of World War II. The recipe for the Rosie is an aperitif blending Campari, citrus flavors and sparkling wine. Or, go for a Spatgunder, the German equivalent to Pinot Noir, to pay homage to what Rosie sips throughout the movie.
Menu Item: Vegan Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cake
"Joker" is, in a word, dark. As our nod to the notorious villain, we went in search of an equally dark and complex menu item (if much less sinister) with a symbolic gooey red center. With great ingredients and a satisfying finish, this dark chocolate raspberry cake will be a fan favorite at your party. We've selected a vegan version in honor of actor Joaquin Phoenix, who recently lobbied the Golden Globes to add vegan options to the event's menu. Notice in this tutorial, crushed frozen berries are placed as a crescent garnish, mimicking the infamous smile. Go one step further and use powdered sugar and blue sprinkles to create a full joker-face.
"Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood"
Those viewers with eagle eyes will notice that the movie's heroes, Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), start and end the fairy tale imbibing their favorite drinks. Have your friends belly up to the “Bounty Law" bar and enjoy Whiskey Sours and (bottomless) Bloody Marys.
Looking for an alternative menu item? Go straight for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, a la Cliff Booth. You can, of course, make your own version, perhaps with a crunchy twist, or even a “grown-up" version. Whichever you choose, it will be even more popular than "The 14 Fists of McCluskey," the fictitious film within the film.
Menu Item: Easy, Tiered Wedding Cake
From Adam Driver's many sheet-pan dinners to tea with manuka honey to pecan pie, the characters eat and drink their way through "Marriage Story." But the most emblematic — and show stopping — menu option for your Oscars event is a classic wedding cake. While this may sound daunting, these tutorials demonstrate just how simple it is to make a three-tier version at home. Keep in mind, the cake — much like the fictional marriage — doesn't have to perfect.
Menu Item: Steak Jjapaguri aka "ram-don"
"Parasite" is full of nuanced social commentary on class and status, using food as symbolism throughout the movie. No more so than in a scene involving ramen. The tense meal has actually propelled a new food combo — Steak Jjapaguiri, or “ram-don" (ramen + udon) — the word translator Darcy Parquet invented for Western audiences. The taste profile is unusual but straightforward: a mix of two popular, inexpensive ramens, Chapaghetti (black bean) and Neoguri (a spicy seafood flavored udon), topped with sirloin steak.
Food bloggers and YouTube home chefs are taking to the combination with enthusiasm, showing the rest of us how to prepare the quick dish. The meal is simple to prepare, makes enough for a large party and is the perfect nod to the first Korean film ever nominated for Best Picture.
Now that you have a menu in hand, you'll be ready to host an Oscars-worthy affair. You can make many of the recipes in advance, so you'll have plenty of time to prepare for your own red carpet and enjoy the 92nd Academy Awards on ABC, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020.