This is really, really not a good year to joke around about what you’re going to do at your Oscar watch party. Creed director Ryan Coogler, Hannibal Buress, Ava DuVernay, Janelle Monae and Jesse Williams are skipping the show altogether to essentially provide humanitarian aid to the people of Flint, Michigan. Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith and Spike Lee won’t be with them in Flint, but they won’t be at the Oscars either. Lee said he won’t even watch the show, surely pleasing all of the Civil Rights activists calling for a national tune-out to protest #OscarsSoWhite and #OscarsSoMale. Even when the Academy moved to change things to prevent a repeat of #OscarsSoWhite next year its own jilted members revolted in the press and threw around words like “ageism.”
But, but, but…the Oscars are supposed to be fun. Well, not so much for the actual people in attendance. As Deadline’s Peter Bart recently wrote, “The show is too long, the audience too white, the security too languid and the women complain that their gowns, which look flashy on the red carpet, are miserable to sit in for three hours plus. No wonder their escorts complain obsessively about alcohol deprivation.” However, for thus of us movie-loving fans at home this is supposed to be our Super Bowl. We’re supposed to have fun watch parties. Play games. Take bets on who will win. Critique the fashion on display. Roll our eyes at the bad jokes and inane awards banter. Applaud when a good joke or moment of genuine human emotion squeaks through.
Here’s the thing: the Oscars only carry as much weight as we give them. The people nominating and voting on the awards are still predominantly older white males. A lot of them don’t even watch all of the nominated films and performances but cast their votes anyway, an appalling fact for those people whose careers can be made or broken by an Oscar win. Millions of dollars are sunk into nakedly transparent political campaigns for awards. The Best Picture winners are usually the types of movies most of us will never feel inclined to re-watch. Many of the best movies and performances not only don’t win but don’t even get nominated in the first place.
But when you sit down for the Oscars telecast with friends and family you want to have fun. You want to throw the best Oscar watch party possible, and the following infographic from TheRugSeller.co.uk has some great suggestions you can pick and choose from. For example, there’s no way I’d give my guests gift baskets to leave with, but I like the idea of a game where someone draws a movie name from a hat and then has to act like the main character from that movie until the rest of the group guesses the name of the movie. For example, if I drew Trumbo I’d jump into the bathtub and pretend to have a typewriter in front of me. Then I’d look up and remember that nobody saw Trumbo.
Here’s the infrographic: