As queer-folk, we have an inalienable right to a good party. Everyone loves a good Pride/Halloween get-together, but what really separates the party-hosting wheat from the chaff is award season. January to March finds us in full swing: the Golden Globes, the Grammys and the big-daddy-top of them all, the Oscars! After last year’s behemoth, where the likes of Adele, Barbra Streisand and Shirley Bassey held us in thrall, it’s time to gear up both predictions and recipes. All queers worth their salt will either be attending or hosting a party.
A good award show treats its nominees with respect and class, but a good award-show party should treat its attendees with respect and humour. If you’re hosting on Oscar night, put some thought into your menu; if generous helpings of Bayou boeuf à la 12 Years a Slave seems likely to offend socially conscious guests, consider Gravity-defying cake for dessert. If you want a boozy night, get creative and serve up Blue Jasmine cocktails, Wolf of Wall Street whiskey sours, or Captain Phillips jolly roger shooters (complete with skull-and-crossbones shot glasses). For added messiness, have a shot every time some hapless winner or presenter does the “Now I’m going to turn the wrong way before they lead me offstage” dance.
Fortunately, oscar.com has a handy printable ballot sheet to help plan your party, so why not pick up a couple of movie passes to award whoever scores highest? Decent prizes liven up Oscar’s sometimes tedious proceedings, so non-official categories like First to Trip on Dress, Who Will They Leave Out Of the In Memoriam Section?, Fakest Tears and Best Shade Throwing (particularly fun during the red-carpet portion), will help your soirée be the belle of the ball.
Speaking of the red carpet, dress codes are de rigueur. Some choose black-tie formal, while others like to go with ideas from that years’ nominated movies. Depending on how savvy your friends are, dressing in costume as your favourite celebrity who died this year or as best Oscar-night fashion ever (you’ll get lots of Chers, Björks and Sally Kirklands) also work well.
Even the most devoted cineaste among us knows how ridiculous award shows are, but that’s all part of the fun; anyone expecting moments of importance needs to check herself. I was surprised at the recent outcry surrounding Jared Leto and Michael Douglas’s acceptance speeches at the Globes. Actors making speeches at the GGs are drunk and nervous, and even if they weren’t, expecting intelligence or activism at the Golden Globes is like expecting foie gras from McDonald’s. These are the people who gave Pia Zadora an acting award! Some of the voters don’t even cover film full-time, so it’s like accepting an award from the people who publish grocery-store flyers. Another key to a good award show party: don’t take things so seriously! We are celebrating make-believe, so make it fun and whimsical.
The Grammys, on the other hand, are notoriously hard to plan a party around. Think the Oscars run long? The Grammys have 82 categories, and even allowing for the ones that aren’t broadcast, that’s a helluva lot. When you factor in performances, tributes and in memoriam — in addition to nominees and speeches — it becomes an almost nightmarish abyss of award-show hell. My advice is to save your energy for the Oscars and invite only other award-show junkies and hard-core music fans . . . and open the bar early, because it’s going to be a late night.
Beneath the fun, frivolity, glam gowns and sappy speeches, what are all these silly award shows actually celebrating? It’s not movies or music; it’s our shared experiences in the dark. These are things best shared with others, so it’s only fitting we come together with friends to celebrate them. For the other days of the year, we do so in theatres, in clubs or bars, in the car with the radio, or by sharing stuff online; but now it’s time to break up the monotony of a Canadian winter with a little homemade glamour and revelry. Get those invites designed and sent, polish up the silverware and make sure you’ve got a big-screen TV! My fellow queers, it’s time to exercise our undisputed right. May I have the envelope, please?