10 Best Picture-Inspired Party Foods

by Anna Roth

Plan a party to celebrate Hollywood's biggest night.

Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Overview

Like everyone else, we love Academy Awards parties for the group commentary on everyone’s red carpet dresses, friendly jibes at the hosts and the betting pools around who wins the major awards. We also try to match party snacks (whether we're hosting or just contributing) with the movies getting the most buzz. Whether you’re lusting after Minnie’s fried chicken from “The Help” or those gorgeous croissants from “Hugo,” we’ve got a rundown on the foods you should serve to support your favorite Best Picture contender.

The Artist

Celebrate the glamor of old Hollywood by recreating a meal from Hollywood’s best hash houses and coffee shops. Think mini-steak sandwiches, twice-baked potatoes, creamed spinach, Caesar salad, open-faced sandwiches with gravy and other meat-and-potatoes classics. Don’t forget the gin martinis -- and make them strong enough to aid even the most disillusioned movie star.

The Descendants

This film’s lush Hawaiian landscapes made us long for past vacations full of shaved ice, malasadas, plate lunch and other Hawaiian delicacies (Spam is optional). Traditional plate lunch, like they eat in the movie, showcases the Hawaiian Islands’ Asian overtones -- it consists of two scoops of white rice, macaroni salad and a protein of choice that could include Korean-style short ribs, Japanese chicken katsu, Philippine pork adobo or Hawaiian kalua pork.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

For this oh-so-New York movie, recreate the foods of the Big Apple. Roasted nuts and warm pretzels will conjure up the sensation of street food (that kid runs all over the city!), while bagels and lox, pastrami sandwiches, and of course, foldable New York-style pizza slices will help you support the flick in proper style. And by all means dish up New York cheesecake for dessert.

The Help

“Frying chicken tends to make you feel better about life,” says Minnie in a particularly good scene. We tend to agree. If the audible crunch of her signature chicken didn’t make you want to start heating up the frying oil immediately, then the tables spread with old-fashioned Southern foods like collard greens, black-eyed peas and cornbread might. And don’t forget Minnie’s signature chocolate pie … minus the “terrible, awful” ingredient, of course. - in association with Rachael Ray

Hugo

How much did you want to fly to Paris to get a freshly baked croissant after watching them through the eyes of starving orphan Hugo Cabret? Make your own (or get them from your favorite French bakery and warm them up in the oven on low heat), and serve them alongside French bistro classics like French onion soup, steak frites, simple roast chicken, salad Nicoise and profiteroles.

Midnight in Paris

We’re pretty sure the characters ate some delicious bistro meals, but what we remember most from the movie is the wild post-midnight drinking. Capture the jazzy mood of 1920s Paris with cocktails from the time, like the French 75, named after a piece of World War I artillery -- it’s a delicious mix of gin, lemon juice and sugar, topped with Champagne. Or serve a sidecar, another popular Jazz Age drink, made with cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice.

Moneyball

Get some hot dogs, peanuts and a box of Cracker Jack, and take your guests out to the ballgame. Throw some brats into a slow cooker or Dutch oven with beer and your accoutrements of choice for a hands-off approach, or make a big platter of nachos on a baking sheet for a crowd. Don’t forget the beer -- whether you’re going for microbrews or Budweiser, make sure you buy American.

The Tree of Life

A concept dinner of molecular gastronomy may capture the spirit of this out-there movie, but you could also capture the feeling of the family around the dinner table in 1950s Texas. Think Tex-Mex foods like burritos, chimichangas, enchiladas, chili and Mexican casserole -- nachos and fajitas weren’t invented yet, technically speaking (supposedly first served in 1964 and 1973, respectively), but we won’t tell anyone if you cheat a little.

War Horse

We’re not recommending that you go all out with soldiers’ rations -- hard tack and fried mush might be authentic, but we’re guessing it won’t please your guests. Instead, channel the British home cook to recreate the mood of this World War I picture. Rationing was in effect, so plan your meal around limited quantities of butter, sugar, meat and cheese -- think home-style dishes like veggie pies, corned beef and cabbage, and cakes made without eggs (dense fruitcakes were in vogue then).

Photo Credits

  • Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

About the Author

Anna Roth is the managing editor of eHow Food and author of "West Coast Road Eats: The Best Road Food From San Diego to the Canadian Border." Her work has also appeared in "Sunset" magazine, "Edible Seattle," Citysearch and "Seattle Weekly." Roth holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and American Studies from the University of Southern California.