For the actors, directors, costume designers, and, of course, sound mixers, the Oscars are all about winning a miniature gold statue. For us, Sunday night is solely about dreaming up cleverly-named finger food. We're covering all 10 Best Picture nominees below, so if your menu is still (drumroll...) up in the air, read on. We've got some tasty ideas.
Some of these movies lend themselves to food that's a play on words; others need a dish that embodies a time period or place. Some deserve both. And since a few nominated actors and films were just crying out for a specific dish, we included some extra credits.
• Avatartare. This could be tuna or steak; both are easy to throw on some toast rounds. We've made this Tuna Tartare from Ina Garten before, and it's delicious.
• Anything blue. The indelible image from this film is clearly the blue people, so why not roast some bluish-purple potatoes (like purple majesty, if you can find them) or dye some sugar cookie dough blue and use a gingerbread man cutout?
• EXTRA CREDIT: In honor of James "King of the World" Cameron, some king crab legs. Expensive, yes, but Cameron would certainly approve of a big budget.
The Blind Side
• Blind Sidecars. This could be your cocktail. Here's a variation of the sidecar made with Applejack.
• Pulled pork mini sandwiches. The movie takes place in Memphis (my hometown!), and pulled pork barbecue is the official food of the city. Here's a how-to on making the pork and an easy BBQ sauce to go with it.
• EXTRA CREDIT: Pecan Sandras. A mature-sounding version of Pecan Sandies (recipe from Martha Stewart).
• Prawns! The aliens in this movie are referred to as prawns. How perfect is that? Try this Spaghetti with Prawns and Rocket from Jamie Oliver (if you want a big main dish) or these simple Grilled Lemon Prawns from Gourmet. You can always use jumbo shrimp, FYI.
• Macarons. A trip to Paris is a big turning point in this movie, and macarons really capture the beautiful, romantic, too-good-to-be-true sweetness that the main character feels while she's there. Read this post for inspiration and recipes. Too complicated? Open several bottles of champagne.
• Or, serve tea. After all, the setting is England.
• EXTRA CREDIT: Carey Mulligatawny. We loved Carey Mulligan in this movie, and we love peppery Indian soups. Try this recipe from Bon Appétit.
The Hurt Locker
• Chocolate Bombe. The soldiers in the movie disarm bombs. Not a feel-good film, but this is one way to lighten things up (emotionally, not healthfully). This Frozen Caramelized Banana and Chocolate Bombe recipe from Emeril looks good.
• EXTRA CREDIT: Kathryn Figelows. In honor of director Kathryn Bigelow, some Stuffed Figs with Honey-Balsamic Syrup.
• Assorted Brad Pitts. True, he's not nominated. But this is a tough one! Have a lovely display of olives and label the dish for pits in a creative way.
• Inglourious Bratwursts. Hey, it's catchy. And hot dogs are crowd pleasers.
• EXTRA CREDIT: Christoffee cookies. Christophe Waltz is the front-runner for Best Supporting Actor. We suggest some toffee as a sweet reward. Here's a recipe from this week that looks amazing.
• Sapphire and tonics. The movie is based on the novel Push by Sapphire, so why not break open a bottle of Bombay Sapphire and make some gin and tonics?
• Fried chicken and collard greens. Both make cameos in the movie.
A Single Man
• A Single Manwich. Ok, you don't have to serve actual Manwich. Homemade sloppy joes should get the point across. Serve small ones on individual plates.
Up in the Air
• Mini bags of pretzels and peanuts. Bonus points if you dress like a flight attendant.
• EXTRA CREDIT: Farm-raised anything. Vera Farmiga has one of the coolest names on the list. You could take this in several directions: Farmiga-raised meats, Farmiga-fresh eggs, Farmigastead cheeses...
• Cake pops! We can't think of a more appropriate food to mimic the cluster of balloons in this movie. Dip them in white chocolate, then coat in various primary shades of sprinkles.
And one more EXTRA CREDIT:
• Crazy Artichoke Hearts. Sorry, but we love Jeff Bridges too much to leave out his movie. Stuff some fresh artichoke hearts with cheese and breadcrumbs, then bake and top with "crazy" red pepper flakes. Or make a pizza with canned artichoke hearts as a topping.
Related: Frosted Nixons, Benjamin Button Mushrooms, and Revolutionary Rolls: Oscar Food from 2009
(Images: Oscar.com; Emma Christensen; Avatar Official Movie Website)