This year's Oscar nominees are making it tough on those of us trying to come up with clever puns that still sound good enough to eat. Last year we had True Grits! And Blackened Swans! But never fear. Where there are moneyballs, there's hope. Also, go find yourself some Pop Rocks. As we've done since the Academy started nominating 102 films for Best Picture, we focus on that category, with a few lead actors thrown in where appropriate.
• Stuffed Peppys. The lead female character, Peppy Miller, is played by nominee Berenice Bejo. Honor her with some stuffed bell peppers or jalapeño poppers stuffed with cheese.
• Anything black and white. It's a black and white film, so black and white cookies, caviar and sour cream on blinis...
• Silent films. It's also a silent film. Put a bowl of those invisible, dissolvable Listerine breath strips in a bowl for after dinner.
• Mai Tais. Start the night with a classic Hawaiian cocktail. Really, anything Hawaiian works. Big slices of pineapple, drinks with umbrellas...
• Mahi Mahi. Serve bite-sized pieces on skewers with a chunk of pineapple and a cherry tomato.
• Grilled Cheater Cheese Sandwiches. The jumping off point for the action is chasing down Clooney's cheating wife's new boyfriend. Go for anything with cheddar (Beer and Cheater Cheese Dip, perhaps?).
• Hawaiian Islands. Make a pot pie with "islands" of biscuits floating across the top or maybe matzoh ball soup.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
• Extremely Loud and Incredible Toasts. Make some extra-crunchy crostini topped with a smear of hummus or dip and some crispy kale.
• Extremely Loud Manhattans. The movie takes place in New York. Why not serve a traditional Manhattan? BONUS: Rim the glass with Pop Rocks.
• Minny's Chocolate Pie. We can't not mention this pie. Here's the recipe used in the film, from Food & Wine.
• Hamburger Help-er. No, don't use the boxed stuff. But a ground beef pasta casserole or little sliders could be cute.
• Any Southern appetizer, like cheese straws or pimento cheese on crackers.
• Jugo! Spanish for juice (and yes, we know the movie isn't Spanish). Serve a fresh-squeezed juice with fancy straws or mix some with a little champagne.
• Clock pasta. Make a big dish of pasta or macaroni and cheese with wagon wheels, which look like little clocks to us.
Midnight in Paris
• Macarons. Or anything French, of course. Crepes, a French 75 cocktail, coq a vin if you want a main dish. Check out Emma's play-by-play on making macarons for the first time.
• Midnight cake. A deep, dark chocolate cake that would make luscious little cupcakes topped with ganache.
• Fig Bites in Paris. Go with us, here. (It really rolls off the tongue if you say it enough.) Try these Stuffed Figs with Honey-Balsamic Syrup. Or get ambitious with these Sesame Balls with Drunken Fig Filling from Epicurious (pictured above).
• Billy Beans. Brad Pitt plays real-life Oakland A's manager Billy Beane—a perfect opportunity to make a big pot. Maybe some baked beans to go with your...
• Hotdogs. Ballpark food, after all.
• Moneyballs. Meatballs, melon balls, popcorn balls, cake pops iced in dollar-bill green. Let your imagination run wild.
The Tree of Life
• Trees of Life. We're talking broccoli. Make a big bowl of this Sexy, Spicy Broccoli from Melissa Clark, which can be made ahead of time and is good at room temperature.
• Terrence MaLICKs. Pass out lollipops or ice cream cones in honor of the nominated director.
• Haystacks. Remember those butterscotch cookies made with chow mein noodles? (Here's a recipe from All Recipes.) It's horse food.
• War Bours-in Potatoes. Mix mashed potatoes with some flavored Boursin cheese; serve it in martini glasses topped with crumbled bacon.
We welcome any other fun ideas (especially for War Horse—that was tough). Let us know what you're planning for Sunday night!
Past Oscar Party Food
• 2011: Blackened Swan, Tom Colins, and Mark Zuckerburgers
• 2010: Avatartare, Blind Sidecars, and A Single Manwich
Related: How to Cook Beans: A Fast, Foolproof, No-Soak Method
(Images: Sony Pictures; Paramount Pictures; Pate Eng)