Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Host With Class, Literally

James Franco is an odd duck. Don't get me wrong; I'm a fan. I enjoyed him in Spiderman and Pineapple Express, he broke my heart in Eat, Pray, Love, and his cameos in Date Night and The Green Hornet were the highlights of those films. That said, he's still a bit of a nut (his stint on General Hospital, the videos with his grandma), but one that continues to fascinate me. 
However, I'm not sure that's fascination enough to persuade me to take a college course on James Franco, by James Franco. Yes, it really does exist. Columbia College Hollywood (AV Club adds, "School Motto: No, not that one." Hee.) is in the process of launching a course entitled, “Master Class: Editing James Franco…with James Franco." Students will work to compile 30-minute documentaries on Franco, using footage from Franco, while discussing said footage with Franco, via Skype. A close friend of Franco's, Tyler Danna, will monitor the class. In addition, all classes will be videotaped for possible future inclusion in another Franco project. Franco.
Now, unusual as this undertaking may be, unusual seems to be the norm for Franco. As both Academy Awards co-host and nominee (Best Actor, 127 Hours), he'll be only the seventh person to pull double duty on Oscar night. If he wins, he'll be the fourth in that group to bring home gold.
I'm not a football person. My mom loves to remind me of the time we were at a game, and I asked what inning we were in. It wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't been a cheerleader for one of the teams playing (in my defense, I was only in the fourth grade). Anyhoo, sports don't do it for me, so the Oscars are kind of like my version of the Super Bowl. I curl up on the couch, critique dresses, mock speeches, and generally just have a good ol' time. I remember one year where I watched the show over the phone with a friend, and we spent the entire three hours trying to perfect our British accents, to properly poke fun at The English Patient.
Okay, so maybe our boy James isn't the only odd duck.
In any case, if you're like me and enjoy watching the really big shoe, I have a couple of scenarios for your Oscar night:
1. Alone (Or With Your Significant Other)
Photo Credit: Victoria's Secret
If you're by yourself, you're going to want to be comfy. If you have your spouse/partner/whatever over, you'll want to be cute. Leave it to Victoria's Secret to fit the bill for both. I'm in absolute love with their Tee-Jamas, and cannot recommend them enough. You get a super-soft fitted tee (much like you'd wear with jeans), and cotton/sateen pajama pants with velour trim. Sexy enough to be interesting, but still the most comfortable jammies I've ever worn. $35 (sale price), Victoria's Secret.
Of course, you'll want something to munch on while you watch the show, and what's better than some homemade (right out of the box!) linguine alfredo? Romantic for the two of you, and decadent enough for a solo evening in. Even better, the Macaroni Grill at Home website gives suggestions for wine pairings and additional courses. Twenty minutes, a pound of chicken, and absolutely zero culinary talent required. Prices vary by store, but kits tend to fall in the $3-$4 range. If you don't like their wine selection, I'm a fan of Relax riesling. Again, prices vary, but around $12.
Now, for the mood. I say, if you're by yourself or with your sweetie, go for relaxing and light some candles and find a cozy blanket. Keep the lights low for the feeling you're right there in the audience (but with way better company, snacks, a nearby bathroom, and much less confining clothing).
Scenario #2. Oscar Party!
Photo Credit: Frederick's of Hollywood
What to wear? Anything sparkly! I'm a big fan of this dress by, of all things, Frederick's of Hollywood (really). This stunner of a dress is hot enough for Oscar, but sophisticated enough to wear again to an office cocktail party. What I love is that the bandaging sucks in curves that shouldn't be there, and shows off the ones that should. Plus, the bodice is lined and lightly padded for a little extra oomph. Leave it to the lingerie store to finally understand how "outside" clothes should fit! $59, Frederick's of Hollywood.
For snack food, I'm a fan of this black bean dip. It takes no time to make, costs almost nothing, and feeds a crowd. Plus, it tastes amazing!
1 large can black beans (I'm an idiot and tossed my cans before I looked at the sizes. I'm sorry)
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 small can corn (drained)
8 oz. light sour cream (may substitute light cream cheese for thicker consistency)
1 cup cheddar cheese
Combine all ingredients, and bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes. Dip will thicken as it stands, reaching thickest consistency and full flavor after spending the night in the fridge. Reheat in the oven just prior to serving. Serve with tortilla chips. Believe it or not, this is actually pretty darn low-cal (between 1300-1500 for the entire batch) and full of fiber, so it's okay for dieters. Also, you can drain all the canned items, but I prefer a thinner consistency, so I only drained the corn. There's no wrong or right way to make it, though.
Now, to set the stage for the party, I suggest this party pack from Oriental Trading. For $16.99, you get invitations, plates, napkins, cups, and cutlery for 8 guests, plus a tablecloth, balloons, streamers, and confetti, all movie night themed. 
Now, who are your Oscar picks? Let me know in the comments.  

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