We are in the home stretch of awards season, with the 2014 Oscars just in front of us. And if you haven't already started planning your viewing party for this Sunday, then you are already a failure and you should just go back to bed.
OK, that was a little harsh, but we want to prove a point. Planning a viewing party, especially for one on the night of the Oscars, takes time. It doesn't have to be a stressful thing to put together (unless you are a perfectionist who gets off on that kind of thing), but it can go horribly wrong if you're not careful. So, because we care so much about you guys and your social lives staying in tact, here is our official guide to throwing a viewing party that people will actually show up to:
1. Go Big or Go Home: You've heard that phrase before, yes? Well, in this case, we mean you either go big with your party and have all the fixings (theme, dress code, catered menu) or you go super-casual with just some booze and snacks. Don't go halfway toward either of those. You could end up with a very confused party that's kind of fancy but people are wearing sweatpants and no one knows if they should bring wine or not. Make it really intricate or make it really casual.
2. Print a Ballot: It takes like nine seconds to find a ballot of nominees for the show and to print it off so you and your guests can predict the winners. What's the point of gathering friends if you can't compete with each other and shove it in their faces when you guess the correct winner for Best Foreign Language Achievement in Animated Edited Score?*
3. Make-or-Break Snacks: If you're going to splurge on one thing for your party, might we suggest splurging on the food? It can make your party awesome or make it totally awful, so it's very important. We have a general rule that if a party we attend has only frozen TGI Fridays appetizers that were just thrown into the oven, we punch out one of their windows and then leave. Don't be that host. Do a sandwich bar or have a breakfast-for-dinner theme. Remember: Food is the most important thing in the world. Don't screw it up.
4. Rules Are Rules: Are you OK with people talking during the show? Are you fast-forwarding past commercials or watching live? You're not sure, you say? You'd better get sure damn quick because that's the s--t that can ruin a party. If people are not allowed to talk during the acceptance speeches or whenever Jennifer Lawrence is on the TV, make that very clear or else someone will get a bowl of guacamole coming at their face. Just come up with some basic guidelines for watching the show at throw it in your Evite. Which reminds us…
5. No Evites: Jeez, just text people or send an email. If you are doing a big fancy theme party, you'd better have actual invitations that come in the mail. We told you not to half-ass this!
6. When in Doubt, Alcohol: This rule applies to most parties, events and basically any situation. Please make sure you have both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, because some people might be too hungover from the night before. You can even create a drinking game for the awards show. Just don't get drunk and do stupid stuff like throw eggs at a neighbor because that could lead to a SWAT team kicking down your door and searching your house.
7. Invite the Right People: Look, some people take awards season very seriously. They will talk about each category, each movie and each moment to death. They like to debate. They will give long-winded explanations as to why Tom Hanks is the greatest actor of our generation (which he is). The point here is that if those are the kind of people you hate at a party, or if your party is going to be more about just enjoying the show than actually caring about what happens, make sure you invite the correct type of people. If you have someone who only cares about the arrivals and someone who only cares about the winners, well, that's a recipe for disaster. That's how fights break out. That's how friendships are ruined. That's how you end up with zero people who will ever come back to a party at your house.
Follow these simple rules and your party will be a huge success! But don't get a big head about it, ya jerk.
*Absolutely not an actual category
(Originally published Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 at 1:34 p.m. PT)