By Robin Stevenson
It has been a tumultuous year for the Oscars telecast: Brett Ratner and Eddie Murphy were in, then out as producer and host (Ratner resigned after a series of public gaffes, Murphy stepped down when he heard “creative partner” Ratner was gone), and were quickly replaced by Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind) and eight-time host Billy Crystal. This year’s show must also help us forget the not-so-successful pairing of Anne Hathaway and James Franco as last year’s co-hosts (Anne was a trooper but James looked like he’d rather be anywhere else). Regardless, we love the glitz and glamour of the Academy Awards. And while your kids may not stay up late enough to watch the entire show on Sunday night (seriously, we barely make it to the bitter end these days), that doesn’t mean they can’t help celebrate Hollywood’s biggest event of the year.
Here are some great ideas for planning your own awards bash.
• Make your own invitations with an “admit one” motif or send out an awards-themed one from evite.com to friends, asking them to come red-carpet ready—even if that just means sporting sunglasses or some fancy faux jewellery. Have a selection of dress-up clothes or old Halloween costumes on hand for those kids who want to look the part.
• Plan the music for your party by downloading a selection of tunes that have won Best Original Song. Some past winners that kids might recognize include: “Fame” from Fame, “What a Feeling” from Flashdance, “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid, “Beauty and the Beast” from Beauty and the Beast, “A Whole New World” from Aladdin, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from The Lion King and “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire.
• Buy a piece of long red material from a fabric store to make your own red carpet. Be ready to snap shots of your guests as they wave to their throngs of fans. You can send the photos to them later.
• Tweak a couple of basic party games to the theme, such as Pin-the-Oscar-on-the-Celeb. Print out or buy a poster of a fave movie star (hello, George Clooney) and print and cut out an image of the Academy Award. Blindfold players and spin them around. Whoever gets their Oscar closest to the celeb’s hand, wins.
• Make a selection of easy-to-eat snacks. Kids will love these recipes for mini party foods. And don’t forget to pop loads of popcorn for munching— reusable popcorn containers from the dollar store add an authentic movie theatre touch.
• Have an Academy Award ballot (download here) on hand for adults and make one for the kids with the nominees for Best Animated Feature Film—A Cat in Paris, Chico & Rita, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots and Rango so they can play along.
• Finally, give guests their own coveted bag o’ swag. It can include movie snacks, dollar store finds such as a feather boa, or a DVD (most large retailers have great 2 for $10 buys).