Planning a party can be exhausting--especially one for the most anticipated night of the year. But who better to help you host the definitive Oscars banger than the Fab Five? As Netflix unveils its reboot of Queer Eye, we've enlisted its new team of experts (who've left New York to work their makeover magic in Atlanta) to help us sort out all the details--from what booze to serve, to what threads to wear, to how to keep your guests from killing each other over who gets the best seat for Meryl's speech.
Bobby Berk, Design expert
Spring for a Red Carpet
"I always say if you're going to go all out, then go all out. For me, a good Oscar party starts with making sure you're throwing a bash that's as glitzy as the real thing. Encourage your guests to dress for the red carpet--you can even order one online. Whether you set it up in your front yard, entryway, or building hallway, it's the perfect way to set a festive mood. If your budget allows, have a step-and-repeat. Personalize it by including an Oscar logo and your name, and then take snaps of everyone who attends--it's great for social media."
Soup Up Your Decor
"Keep the decoration simple but glam. I like to use an inexpensive gold lame and lay it over coffee tables and other surfaces to set the mood. You can also purchase replicas of Oscar trophies and customize them for your guests with categories like Best Dressed or Best Supporting Friend in a Drama."
...And Your Table
"It's the Golden Globes that are known for their food and round tables, but borrow a similar layout for your Oscar party to create the ambience of a reception. Rent round tables from a party supplier if you can, and add a gold tablecloth to create some of the glamour synonymous with the awards show. A simple satin gold tablecloth won't break the bank."
Karamo Brown, Culture Expert
Your Secret Weapon: Bingo
"I know what you're thinking--but hear me out. Create blank Bingo cards and ask each of your guests to write in the blank spaces the culturally relevant issues that they think will be brought up during the Oscar speeches (Times Up, Black Lives Matter, Trump, LGBTQI awareness). Each time a celebrity brings up an issue a guest wrote down, they mark their card. The first one to have all of their issues addressed during the ceremony will call "Bingo" and get a prize. Trust me, this game will give your less politically active and more politically active guests an entry point for interaction. They can mingle and feel comfortable sharing the views that are important to them in a way that isn't heavy or divisive. Plus, who doesn't love to win swag at a party?"
Antoni Porowski, Food & Wine Expert
"For cocktail parties revolving around a televised event, prepare a spread of food in advance. This way, both you and your guests can enjoy the show and refill your plates and glasses during commercial breaks."
Cheese: Absolutely Mandatory
"Done right, cheese and charcuterie platters can look impressive as hell. Start with an oversize cutting board, and pick your cheeses. Vary them in type and firmness, from soft and creamy (like St.-Andre) to sharp and nutty (like a cave-aged Gruyere) and everything in between. Have a small jar of cornichons to pair with the sharp cheddar, and get dried Mission figs for the Gorgonzola. Roll some ribbons of prosciutto into little nests for easy access. Do as Michael Bay does with his special effects: Go over the top. Fill every nook on the tray with stacks of crackers, sprigs of rosemary, and salted cashews. This is your chance to be really extra."
Don't Get Too Boozy
"Keep the drinks simple and chic. Steer clear of hard liquor--it's a Sunday night, after all. Everyone deserves something sparkling, though, so have a bucket of ice with bottles of Champagne and La Croix."
...But Splurge for Dessert
"Affogato is a simple, traditional Italian treat that literally means 'drowned.' Buy the best vanilla gelato you can find, put two scoops in small glasses or stemless martinis, and pour hot espresso over it. For the Lush Lucys, top it with some Frangelico or Kahlua."
The Recipe: Fennel and parmigiano crisps*
From Vetri Cucina in Philadelphia
Slice fennel as thinly as possible and spread it on a parchment-lined baking sheet or Silpat. Top each slice with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano, a very light drizzle of olive oil, and fresh ground pepper. Place it in an oven at 375 degrees and let it cook for 25 to 35 minutes. It's ready when the edges begin to brown. The result is a crispy, sweet, cheesy, caramelized fennel crisp that's simple and decadent.
*Courtesy of Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski
Tan France, Fashion Expert
Rock Something Timeless
"As the host, it's important that you strike that perfect balance of style and comfort. Dress in something formal, but when the party gets going, whip that tux jacket or blazer off for a more relaxed look. If the host is comfortable, so are the guests. Keep it classic. You'll want to look back on your Instagram in five years and not regret your outfit choice."
...Or Just Go Crazy
"If you're planning a themed Oscar party, loosen the parameters for guests by letting them choose a look from one of their favorite Oscar movies or red-carpet moments. My look would be Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Duh."
Don't ask Guests to take off their Shoes
"Your friends have dressed to impress, and we all know shoes complete the look. You may want to keep your floors clean, but a formal party isn't the time for that. Consider investing in a great doormat, so guests can wipe their shoes before entering."
"Have your A/C on at all times. Hosting can be a stressful, sweaty time. And if you think you'll be running around a lot, get some underarm sweat pads. The best hack for staying dry is to insert them into the armhole seams of your shirt. You'll be comfortable all evening long."
Jonathan Van Ness, Grooming Expert
Get a cut Early
"Good hair isn't an accident, so schedule an appointment with your barber or stylist for a few days before your party, and book it at least a week in advance (barbers and stylists can get busy during awards season). Also, take 15 minutes the morning of the party to trim your beard or shave so that you don't have to worry about it that night. If you have longer hair, or hair that requires blow-drying, style it before bed the night before the party to save yourself time on the big day."
...And Don't forget your nails
"Use a nail brush in the shower to clean under your nails, and then trim them right after when they're soft."
Set some Face Time
Product wise, I love, love Dr. Dennis Gross C + Collagen Brighten + Firm Eye Cream (.5 oz., $65). It really depuffs the under-eye area. To double the pleasure, rub it in with an Herbivore Jade Facial Roller ($25). It's a little tool that has extra depuffing power, and you can also use it to apply facial moisturizer and decrease facial tension. Also, having hair in your face is a drag, but so is crunchy hair, which you often get from using hairspray. My new favorite light-hold, buildable spray is Oribe Free Styler (9 oz., $42). Whether you have long hair or short hair, it lightly sets the shape of it without making it stiff and untouchable."