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How To Host An Oscars Watch Party From Your Dorm

On March 27, the 94th Academy Awards ceremony (known as “the Oscars”) will take place at the historic Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the awards ceremony will highlight some of the past year’s most talked-about films. Historically, the gold and bronze “Oscar” trophy got its name from an Academy librarian named Margaret Herrick, who remarked that it resembled her Uncle Oscar. By 1939, the Academy officially adopted it as the award’s nickname. 

Due to press association scandals and the continuing pandemic, many awards shows have been canceled or postponed over the past year. The unpredictable nature of this year’s awards season makes the 2022 Oscars a highly anticipated televised event (you can stream it on ABC!). From speculation regarding who (if anyone) will be this year’s host to predictions about frontrunners, there’s no doubt that interested viewers will be tuning in to see how it all plays out.

For those who get a thrill out of red carpets and unscripted celebrity moments, the Oscars are the entertainment world’s version of the Super Bowl. You can even get in on the fun by hosting your own watch party! With a few helpful tips, you’ll be on your way to celebrating films and creating a night full of glamour without breaking the bank. Here’s how to host an Oscars watch party, even from your college dorm or apartment. 

create a star-studded guest list & hollywood-inspired invitations.

If you’re hosting a viewing party from your dorm or apartment, think about how many people you’d like to invite (and how many can fit comfortably in a smaller space). Once you have a good estimate, it’s time to plan the invite!

Use a design platform like Canva to create Oscar-themed invitations to send to your friends. On the invitation, include language that will fit the vibe of your viewing party. For something more elegant, use a phrase like, “Requesting your presence at…” Or for a low-key evening, try, “Join me for a night of film, fashion, and fun!” If it seems apt for your group, consider inviting friends to dress up or match a party theme. Finally, print out these invitations or send them via email, text or social media.

Plan an award show-worthy snack menu.

A good host will have plenty of snacks to go around, so start thinking about what snacks to munch on during your Oscars watch party. To keep things simple, you can’t go wrong with a well-crafted charcuterie board. Plan to visit your local Trader Joe’s (or any grocery store) for a mix of cheeses, chips, and other festive snacks. Pizza and flatbreads are also crowd-pleasers, and popcorn and veggies make for additional easy-to-create snacking options. You can even bake yummy cupcakes and add these cute Oscar-themed cupcake toppers for a fun touch. 

If preparing snacks feels overwhelming, remember, you don’t have to do everything yourself. Ask guests to chip in a few dollars or have everyone go “potluck-style” and bring something to share if it lessens the burden.

toast to the nominees with custom Cocktails & Mocktails.

Apart from yummy snacks, start the night off with a toast to the festivities by creating custom cocktails! If you’re of-age and interested in making cocktails for the party, consider offering champagne or Hollywood-themed drinks — the perfect complement to Oscars night. You can even buy a few mini-champagne bottles and pour drinks into elegant plastic flutes, or add these fun Oscars-themed wine charms to any glass for a unique touch. 

Creativity works well for mocktails, too. Guests who opt for non-alcoholic drinks can try Shirley Temples, Mocktail Mules, and more. Most ingredients for these can be found at your local grocery store, and you don’t need any cocktail expertise to make them. There are even some drink recipes that require only three ingredients or less.

To get your friends excited for the event, see who can come up with the most creative cocktail name that plays on one of the nominated films or actors! Think: “West Side Story Manhattan” or “House of Gucci Gimlet.” 

decorate your space with oscars-worthy items.

On Oscars night, bring the style of the red carpet to your living space! The decor alone can have a major impact on the ambiance of your space, so string up some fairy lights or add streamers, confetti, and banners to the room where you’ll be watching the show. Gold and black are a good color palette to work with but feel free to get creative and make your space your own.

Along with award show-worthy decor, consider creating a DIY photo booth for you and your guests to take pictures in front of. You can decorate a portion of wall space with a glittering backdrop, a quality ring light, and voila — a great activity for commercial breaks! To make the booth more engaging, add Oscar-inspired props, photo frames, banners, feather boas, balloons, and or even a knock-off Oscar statue. Etsy is a great resource for any festive Oscar party items.

Print Oscars Ballots & play games for Friendly Competition.

Now that nominations have been announced, visit Oscars.org or do an online search for printable 2022 ballots that list each nominated category. You can print out this one on Etsy, create your own from scratch, or even try an amusing game like Oscars bingo

Be sure to print enough ballots for everyone to fill out before the event starts and make sure they’re ready when the show begins. As each award is announced, guests can check off their correct guesses. Then, at the end of the night, whoever has correctly guessed the most awards, wins! Consider offering the winner a fun prize, like a deliciously scented candle or a decor item that will add to their living space. Nail polish, luxe face masks, and decadent chocolates are other affordable options — you can even create party favors or gift bags for each guest.

As you prepare for your watch party, remember that award shows like the Oscars are a marathon, not a sprint. The show usually lasts around three hours, so make sure you and your guests have plenty of snacks, drinks, comfortable seating arrangements, and charged phones so you can keep up with the award show conversations online. There’s always something memorable about each Oscars ceremony, and by hosting your own watch party, you’re sure to have an entertaining evening of your own! 

Abbey is an Ohio native currently caught between the charm of the Midwest and the lure of the big city. She loves all things politics and pop culture, and is always ready to discuss the intersections of both. Her favorite season is awards season and she is a tireless advocate of the Oxford Comma. Abbey will take a cup of lemon tea over coffee any day and believes that she can convince you to do the same. As a former English major, she holds the power of words near and dear.
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