Take it from Dani Janssen, who has hosted A-listers Jack Nicholson, Clint Eastwood, Oprah Winfrey and Barbra Steisand for Oscar night: Food is the way to a guest's heart. Shriftman said Janssen cooks her partygoers' favorite foods and then sends them home with a goody bag of leftovers.
Shriftman said even if you're not cooking, you can present the food in a chic way. She likes to put out big containers of popcorn, candy and chips and let guests create their own snack bags to eat during the show.
She recommends keeping the décor simple, sticking to one color theme -- she likes gold -- and splurging on either renting a big-screen television, a photo booth or even a masseuse for the people less interested in watching the show.
"Make it as wacky as possible," she said. "You can't just have people over watching the show."
Even at the party's new location, DuVernay's guest can expect to get their Polaroid picture taken with Oscar -- from a prop store as they stand on the red carpet (a towel placed strategically next to stanchion ropes). "Everyone wants to go home with a picture of themselves with an Oscar," she said.
In the past, DuVernay has made "theme food," named after the nominated films. This year, she has bought out the concession stand, so there will be free popcorn and Twizzlers for everyone, as well as an open bar.
And, as always, she will have the Oscar pool. Instead of the usual dollar that is required to vote for all the categories, she has created the "recession-proof pool," for just 50 cents.
DuVernay's parties are fun. Her guests watch the celebrities' red carpet arrivals on the cheesiest stations they can find -- one year it was Korean TV. "I always make it a point to invite the comedians, so there's some very callous comments about the dresses," she said.
But when it comes to the speeches, she expects her guests to pipe down. "You have to respect the speech," she said. "I don't care if he is a sound editor, when he gets up and thanks his wife, you've got to listen. He just won the Academy Award."
Each year, Wade sends out formal invitations with a poem incorporating the five Best Picture nominees. This year's read:
THE READER will note that it's that time again! The Best Party of the Year soon will begin!
Despite the FROST lying all around on the ground The excitement for good movies continues to abound!
No need to be a MILLIONAIRE to have lots of fun! There are plenty of great prizes waiting to be won!
You'll be as cute as a BUTTON in costume or gown But highlight your ballot or Kimberly will frown.
So drink plenty of MILK to build up your stamina And help you look great as you smile for the camera!
Wade decorates her house inside and out for the occasion. "It looks like a movie scene spit up all over it," she said.
A red carpet leads up to her front porch where there are two large Oscar statues for her guests to pose next to. All the pictures are collected in an Oscar party scrapbook.
She drapes with red velvet curtains to make it look more like a movie screen and rents fold-up chairs to create rows of seating for her guests; she gets between 10 and 20.