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Oscars 2016: How to throw the ultimate viewing party (and no, it's not too late)

Oscars 2016: How to throw the ultimate viewing party (and no, it's not too late)

There's a reason "seat filler" is a legitimate job in awards season: No one wants to watch the Oscars alone.

So send the mass email – no, it's not too late – and follow this easy advice from top-tier hosts on both coasts.

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These last-minute decor, drink and snack ideas are sure to make your Oscar viewing party on Sunday one to remember:

Statuette luminaries: "Though your party is ultimately centered around the TV, candlelight brings instant ambience," says New York City event designer David Stark. "Print an image of the Oscar statuette (download graphics here), then cut and wrap the picture around a straight-sided glass cylinder or drinking glass. Seal the tube of paper with Scotch permanent double-sided tape and set lit votive candles within to create a shimmering glow." Guests without their own glam squad will appreciate the flattering light.

David Stark's homemade luminaries set a festive glow.
David Stark's homemade luminaries set a festive glow. (David Stark Design)

Popcorn bar: "People love eating popcorn while they watch shows – and it's super easy to prepare," says Mindy Weiss, Los Angeles event planner for the official Kohl's live-stream Oscar viewing party. "I like buying the traditional red-and-white cardboard popcorn boxes" -- Kohl's sells them -- "and filling them up for guests to grab. Then I create a little bar with bowls of different toppings like cinnamon, Oreos and M&M's, so everyone can personalize their snack."

Mindy Weiss dresses a snack from her popcorn bar.
Mindy Weiss dresses a snack from her popcorn bar. (Kohl's)

Classic drinks: "The Oscars make me think of the Old Hollywood era, so I love to include some classic cocktails, like a dirty martini, a Tom Collins, or a gin rickey," says Los Angeles event planner Yifat Oren. Bonus points if you serve in a gold-rimmed glass for a statuette-level hint of sparkle. (We like the gold-rimmed, stemless glasses at West Elm.)

A sampling of cocktails from Yifat Oren's drink menu.
A sampling of cocktails from Yifat Oren's drink menu. (Yifat Oren)

High-drama florals: "The Oscars are all about drama! Serve up large-scale arrangements of branches to instantly elevate your space in an upscale way," says Mat Sanders and Brandon Quattrone of Consort Design on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. A well-stocked florist will have their first choices: magnolia, quince branches and cherry blossoms. "Or, if you're shopping Whole Foods, pick up silver dollar eucalyptus. It's inexpensive, smells great, and has a confetti-like look. Perfect for celebrating Hollywood's biggest night!"

Consort's arrangement of silver dollar eucalyptus and their Oscar party cocktail, the "Hollywood Hooch."
Consort's arrangement of silver dollar eucalyptus and their Oscar party cocktail, the "Hollywood Hooch." (Consort)

"And the Winner is…" party favor: "Wrap gold paper around a chocolate bar, clipping the corners of the top to replicate the taper of an envelope flap," says Stark. Use an adhesive glue dot to stick a red, cut paper "seal" to complete your Oscars envelope, and send each guest off with one. "The show is long; they'll be delighted by this pick-me-up on their way home!" says Stark.

Gold paper-wrapped chocolate bars make for a clever party favor for guests.
Gold paper-wrapped chocolate bars make for a clever party favor for guests. (David Stark Design)
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