Genia Shapira Image by: Genia Shapira
1. Don't let the TV rule. Yes, it's an Oscar party, but let's get real. It's just another excuse to have the gang over to share fun food and cocktails. Jack the volume up toward the last few nominations—Best Actor/Director/Picture—but let's not kill the buzz to hear the entire speech from the Best Film Editor (sorry, my editor friends).
2. Everyone's a bartender. No guest should ever suffer the travesty of an empty glass. Have your guests bartend themselves. Keep plenty of wine out in a large ice bucket and spirits on your kitchen island or dining/coffee table. Guests don't mind doing it—trust me. Also, take a cue from Japanese entertaining: Everybody is responsible for the person's glass next to them.
3. Make a mess. Cleanup's a killer. You either feel guilty that dishes are stacking up, which pulls you away from your guests, or your guests feel obliged to dive into sink duty. Disposable plates have come along way from your party-store plastic variety. Bamboo plates and cutlery are the new thing, offering eat-and-toss elegance, completely guilt-free.
4. Get involved. I'm often the one who's dragged in kicking and screaming when it comes to filling out the Oscar ballot. But once I do, I'm hooked. The fun factor is undeniable. It's also surprising how competitive people get! I didn't say it here, but a few side bets spices things up, too—not with real money, of course (insert wink here).
5. Gimme some tunes. This seems obvious, but it blows my mind how many people don't play music during a party. I'm not talking about turning your joint into a nightclub—just something light in the background during the lacklustre nominees and ad breaks. Sometimes, I'll even fire up iTunes and let my guests take part in creating a playlist. Everybody picks a few songs and we hit random. Super fun!