Since I was raised on movies, the Oscars ceremony is my Super Bowl. I look forward to it all year long and always try to watch all the contenders. Of course I’m in it for the films, the celebs, and the clothes. But I also love a good theme party—who doesn’t? My ideal Oscars party has a handful of friends and a huge smattering of food. The menu is meant to be fun.
So line your table with a rich red tablecloth and present your guests with an array of bite-size options allowing them room to eat while giving commentary. Below are some dishes for this year’s Oscars menu. Some of these recipes are more intricate than others, and some make use of pre-made grocery store items to save you time. But all of them deserve an award.
Pictured above: Party Time Snack Mix
Let’s start off with this movie about a bunch of women in a barn talking about their sexual abuse. I haven’t had the chance to watch it yet but…I’m assuming food was not top of mind for this crew. In which case, we can use this opportunity to load up the drinks, you know, to get the Women Talking.
And I think ‘cause we’re celebrating the movies of 2022, we gotta go with the drink of the year: Negroni Sbagliato. This cocktail went viral last year when House of Dragon costars Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke were chatting about their favorite cocktails. Joy’s version is a light and bubbly take on the classic bitter Italian drink. It’s perfect for a party because batching it is a breeze. Joy suggests mixing together several cocktails worth of Campari and sweet red vermouth in a jar and setting it on the bar with a 1 or 2 ounce jigger. Then you fill an ice bucket with ice and leave out a chilled bottle of Prosecco. Let guests measure and pour their own cocktails with ease.
Top Gun: Maverick
Top Gun: Maverick is pure fun and my favorite scenes took place not in the sky but at the Hard Deck bar, where you could feel the camaraderie of the pilots and ponder what fountain of youth Jennifer Connelly discovered.
I feel like the original bar that inspired Hard Deck, would serve some killer onion rings. And Joy’s recipe for Beer Battered Onion Rings with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing fit the bill. She suggests making the dressing before the onion rings ‘cause the flavors need time to settle in the fridge. These are crispy and flavorful and the beer adds a welcome depth and bite to the batter. It would never occur to me to make onion rings at home but she insists they’re super-easy. So go ahead and give them a whirl without a second thought, ‘cause you think up there and you’re dead.
The Banshees of Inisherin
Without giving too much away, you’re gonna want some FINGER food in homage to this film about a damaged friendship off the coast of Ireland. Joy’s White Bean Skillet Crostini is party-ready for its comfort and simplicity and its function as both an appetizer or side dish. Take a small, crusty loaf of bread from the grocery store, some finely diced pancetta—or you can keep the dish vegetarian by adding extra olive oil and sun dried tomatoes—and whip this together then bake it for just 8 minutes. Skillet service at its finest. That’s true friendship.
All Quiet on the Western Front
The best scene in this WWI film is when two soldiers band together to steal a goose from a French farmhouse then enjoy the fruits of their labor. I’m not suggesting you cook a goose for your Oscars party, but how about these Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sweet Rolls? They’re goose adjacent and 100 times as likely to satiate your guests’ hunger.
Start with a package of Hawaiian Sweet Rolls then either shred a poached chicken or take the easy route with a grocery store rotisserie, toss in some celery for crunch, mayo and spicy wing sauce for tang, blue cheese for strength, and chives for class. The shredded chicken mix will be hot and the sweet doughy rolls are the perfect compliment to the spice. This recipe is way easier than sitting through 2+ hours of trench warfare.
Everything Everywhere All at Once
Everything Everywhere All at Once follows Evelyn Wang (the amazing Michelle Yeoh) through an infinity of universes where, “I got bored one day, and then I put everything in a bagel… everything. All my hopes and dreams, my old report cards, every breed of dog, every personal ad on Craigslist, sesame, poppy seed, salt, and it collapsed in on itself. ‘Cause you see, when you really put everything on a bagel, it becomes this… the truth. Nothing… matters.”
Enter: Everything Fried Pickles with Buttermilk Ranch Dip. Now, maybe you’re thinking this is a crazy idea in addition to the onion rings. But to that I say, Hey, this is a party. And what better way to celebrate than with copious amounts of fried food? You can streamline the process by making a double batch of the ranch dip and using it for both items. That stuff is so good, you could even bathe in it. Let’s make it that kind of party. These fried pickles are sour and bright, crisp, exciting and—due to the addition of the Everything Bagel seasoning—downright clever. Just like the movie.
Tár is a character study of an orchestra conductor, played by Cate Blanchett, who is condescending, manipulative, and cutthroat. This is a woman who watches what she puts into her body. She’s a runner and she likes her clothes to be tailored to perfection. If she wore an Apple Watch—instead of a classic leather band—you can bet her rings would be closed before 9am every morning.
Passing on the fried items and Buffalo Chicken, Lydia Tar would zero in on Joy’s Avocado Grapefruit and Edamame Salad. With fresh avocado, segmented winter citrus, shelled edamame, crunchy celery, leafy greens and a honey and mustard dressing, this salad is as bright as a Hollywood starlet. You can use grapefruit or blood orange, which is especially fitting for Lydia.
Triangle of Sadness
If anything, this film about a group of wealthy castaways endorses eating the rich. But, unfortunately, Joy doesn’t have any of those recipes on file. So let’s go with these classy Black and White Chocolate Dipped Pretzels. A bag of pretzels plays a key part in the group of stranded tourists’s survival. But let’s make it a little more festive.
Joy used a black nonpareil sprinkle but she said you could consider dipping your pretzels into a crumbled chocolate cookie. Cookie.Dipped.Pretzels. Either way, these mostly sweet and slightly salty treats are a class act. Line them up as parting favors by arranging them in bags tied with red ribbon. Or just eat them straight off the cookie sheet like a bunch of beautiful animals.
If you really want to lean into this one, you could serve everything on paper plates ‘cause Mitzi wouldn’t have it any other way. But, in this day and age, your friends might turn on you for being an eco terrorist. Since this film is all about the art of film, why not offer a collection of gourmet popcorn?
In the instructions for Buttery Salty Marshmallow Crunch Popcorn, Joy says, “Just go for it: sprinkle and marshmallow everything today.” Then her Furikake Kettle Corn Popcorn is more aggressively-flavored with Corn Pops, finely chopped bacon and a variety of other exotic ingredients. It’s intriguing and unstoppable, like Spielberg’s illustrious career.
Avatar: The Way of Water
So I’m not the biggest Avatar fan. But I’ll admit the movie was pretty to look at, especially if you love the color blue. For this one, you’ll want Joy’s Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream. It’s cream cheesy and rich to mimic cheesecake flavors. The berries are included because they’re purple-blue and delicious, and chunks of graham cracker crumbs are thrown in to simulate the all-important crust. Dreams do come true.
The Elvis biopic is one long sugar rush. Baz’s camera work and relentless pacing left me feeling woozy at times, but I couldn’t stop watching. The obvious choice here is to serve Joy’s Banana Bon Bons in homage to The King’s favorite peanut butter banana sandwich. These frozen treats are mini banana peanut butter sandwiches dipped in chocolate and topped with peanuts. They’re cold, crunchy, and chocolate-y. I can’t help falling in love with you, Banana Bon Bon.