How to Throw a Low-Key, Casual Oscar Watch Party

The Oscars may be one of the most glam events of the year, but your watching party doesn't have to be! We got tips from film and entertaining experts on hosting a fabulous but low-key Oscars party that won't break the bank. From red carpet arrivals to the very end, we've got you covered with the best food and entertaining ideas from the pros. It'll be so fun the stars on the screen will wish they were at home with you!


The Invite

If you want a casual party, keep it casual. Use! Apryl D. Roberts of Norfolk, Virginia-based Memorable Events by Apryl says, “The one thing to keep in mind is how many guests you are going to invite. Make sure that you have enough room for all of your guests to sit comfortably. Make sure that your television is large enough and in a well-viewed area of the room. Remove any unneccessary furniture in the room (i.e. coffe tables) that may clutter the room.”

The Red Carpet

Experts agree: don’t do dress up! Faking glam isn’t nearly as fun as watching it, so forget the fancy attire and focus on fancy ballots. Patricia Mendez, author of Easy Entertaining for Beginners, suggests that hosts visit to download a printable ballot and give one to each guest as they arrive. Have fun prizes for those who guess each award correctly, or have a gold statue for the person with the most overall correct choices!

The Show

Gary M. Kramer, film critic, perennial Oscar party host, and author of Independent Queer Cinema: Review and Interviews, says, “I've found that most people tend to care more about how the celebrities look rather than who wins. The red carpet is the highlight for most folks—and that's the key to the party. Get everyone there early and settled so the opening monologue can be heard uninterrupted and all the folks who 'don't care' can leave after the first supporting award is handed out.”

The Food

“I'm not an ‘expert’” says architect Lisa M. Chronister, but I do suggest fondue for the watch party. It’s perfect: it's kind of time consuming to prepare and eat so if the entire meal takes 3-4 hours, it works out great with the telecast. Start with a cheese fondue, then do a hot oil, then you can be on the chocolate fondue around the time the biggest awards are announced. Fondue is also easy to eat in the living room while you're seated around the coffee table.”

Kramer says, “My fave tricks are to incorporate food for the films ... Check out this Best Picture Inspired Menu

Whatever you do, make sure food is snackable! A great dessert idea is Cointreau Chocolate Truffles, get the easy recipe here. For a fun, if time-consuming, dessert idea, check out Bakerella’s fabulous Awards Night Sugar Cookies.

The Drinks

Kramer says, "I haven't done specialty drinks because it's usually a 'school' night, and most folks tend to leave early for that reason. It's not a big drinking party."

But Mendez suggests a casual cocktail: “Serve fruit sparklers. Fill a sugar-rimmed champagne flute halfway with sparkling wine and top with guava fruit juice.”

The End

Quickly hand out your own award or awards for the ballots your guests filled out earlier. Once the show is over, your party is too. Enjoy your successful Oscars Watching Party!

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