For Your Consideration: 2017 Oscar Nominated “Best Picture” Inspired Party Dishes

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s that time. Roll out the red carpet and pop the bubbly because it’s the mother of all awards. The Academy Awards, that is. Tomorrow evening will bring all the talk of “who wore what” and “who was best dressed”, as Hollywood glitterati migrate to the Dolby Theater to celebrate cinema elite as they find out who will take home the highest honor in show business. Officially named, The Academy Award® of Merit, he weighs in at 8 and ½ pounds and stands 13 and ½ inches high. And, with such an esteemed awards show upon us, I wanted to share with you our dishes inspired by the nominees for Best Picture in 2017 to make for your own home Oscar viewing party!

The film follows two brothers who carry out a series of bank robberies to save their family ranch, which will be foreclosed upon in a matter of just weeks if the boys can’t raise the funds to save it. Two Texas Rangers played by Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham, follow hot on the trail of these bank robbers across Texas in an attempt to predict their next bank hit. In a laughable scene when the rangers stop for dinner at an old-time Texas diner, a sassy, elderly waitress replies to Jeff Bridges about what’s good to eat at the diner with a salty response - that The T Bone Steak was the only damned thing TO order. We turned this main-course dish into easy to eat party food with “Stick ‘Em Up Steak & Potatoes” Shish Kabob Style! We love THIS recipe from Delish!

La La LandChicken On A Stick 


When mysterious spacecrafts touch down across the globe, an elite team - lead by expert linguist Louise Banks (played by Amy Adams) - is brought together to investigate, and to learn why they have come to be on planet Earth. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers - and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity. In her interactions with the spacecrafts, and, the beings living inside them, she is charged with learning to communicate with the other life form. The challenge is, they communicate via symbols, which closely resemble fried calamari! No plot spoilers here (if you haven’t seen this blockbuster sci-fi yet), but we will give you the skinny on this great Calamari dish from the Food Network to honor this Best Picture Nominee!

Pssst…Getting overwhelmed with recipes? Expert host tip: Call this one in to your local restaurant that does great Calamari. It usually travels well and can be reheated in the over to take the time and effort out of preparing it, but still serving a restaurant quality dish!

Manchester By The SeaMini Manchester Pizzas


This is the story of Lee Chandler, a maintenance supervisor living in Quincey, Massachusetts, whose life is changed for a second time, when he gets the sad call that his only brother has just suffered a heart-attack and dies as Lee makes his way to the hospital to see him.  As Lee goes back to his hometown of "Manchester-by-the-Sea" to break the news to Joe's teenage son, Patrick, he's fraught with the idea of being in this town that haunts him. Staying in Joe's home while arranging Joe's funeral, Lee is shocked when he learns that Joe named him as Patrick's guardian at the reading of Joe's will. It is shown through flashbacks throughout the movie that not so long ago,  Lee had a happy life in Manchester with his wife Randi and their three young children.  One fateful night, an intoxicated Lee throws a log on the fire and walks to the local convenience store, only to return home to his house on fire and his children trapped inside. After the devastating loss of his three children and a divorce from his wife, he no longer can remain in Manchester. As his history with Manchester is a pained and tumultuous one, he is torn between staying in Manchester to serve as his nephew’s guardian or to leave the town where he has experienced such immense pain.

In our humble opinion, the acting is incredible, the writing is superb. The movie is heart-wrenching throughout. The one staple meal that is a go to for Lee and his nephew is pizza. In times of such turmoil, we can see how easy it is to turn to the ever-reliable comfort food. So, mini-pizzas serve to honor this nominee. We are hitting up this easy, kid-friendly recipe from One Little Project this year, which are sure to be a crowd pleaser. 

Hacksaw Ridge: “Just One More….Bite....Of Tomato Salad”


This incredible true story of Desmond T. Doss, an American Soldier and Conscientious objector who saved 75 men in one of the bloodiest battles of WWII on Hacksaw Ridge in Okinawa. Desmond Doss, believing that killing was wrong, joined the army because he believed in the conviction of the war, and in order to serve his country, became a medic. He chose to service in battle without a weapon, at the dismay and distrust of many of his infantry. His resolution and strength showed through by saving 75 fellow soldiers well after the rest of the platoon retreated.  As depicted in the movie, Desmond Doss cries, "Just one more...Please Lord, help me get just one more". Desmond Doss was the first conscientious objector to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. Incidentally, Desmond Doss was also a vegetarian, as portrayed in a scene where he offers his tin of meat to another soldier to eat, because he doesn’t eat meat. To honor Corporal Doss’ home state of Virginia, we are serving this fresh tomato salad, courtesy of Ree Drummond and the Food Network, as tomatoes Virginia ranks third in US tomato production.

Moonlight: Arroz Con Pollo


In the heartbreaking tale of human self-discovery, we are shown the struggle and personal growth of a young boy during three periods of his life. Navigating the pitfalls of a childhood in a rough Miami neighborhood and surviving a drug addicted mother, Chiron battle to find adult role models to trust during an already challenging stage in life of exploring one’s sexuality, Chiron battles to find his way in the world. As an older Chiron, now living in Georgia, receives a call from a one time friend, Kevin, who happened to be his only sexual experience thus far in his life. He returns to Miami to visit Kevin, who now works as a chef at a diner. Kevin makes Chiron his “Chef’s Special Dish”, Arzo con Pollo, and brings a bottle of wine over for them to share. We love this recipe from Food & Wine and we’ll be making a batch and serving in individual ramekins for guests to enjoy.

No, we didn’t forget the cocktails & desserts! With 9 Best Picture Nominees, we saved three of our favorites to cover the cocktails and dessert dishes of our featured movies.

Fences: Troy’s Payday Punch


An adaption of the 1983 play by August Wilson, Fences explores the life and disappointment of Troy Maxson, an African-American sanitation worker in 1950’s Pittsburgh, who dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player, but was too old when Major League Baseball began admitting black players. What would have been haunts Troy every day of his life and leads him to make certain decisions that jeopardize all that he has worked for. Reliably, in the film, directed and starred in by Denzel Washington, Troy Maxson comes home from work every payday with a bottle of Gin for his enjoyment. Our cocktail inspiration comes from Troy Maxon’s favorite elixir, so, for you imbibers out there, we recommend trying Denver bartending legend and award winning mixologist, Sean Kenyon, Cucumber Gin Cocktail, which we are borrowing to re-name Troy’s Payday Punch!

2oz Woody Creek Distiller’s Gin  |  .5oz 1:1 simple syrup  |  .75oz lime juice  |  2 basil leaves  |  2 cucumber slices

In a mixing tin, lightly muddle the cucumber and basil. Add all other ingredients. Shake with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a basil leaf and cucumber slice.

And now for dessert!!!

Lion: Saroo’s Jalebi


This heart-wrenching true story of a young boy in India who, while on an expedition for food and coins in the evening hours with his brother, accidentally finds himself trapped on a high speed train and carried thousands of miles away from his home. When he arrives alone in the town of Kolkata, he has to navigate the streets until he is taken into the system, and ultimately adopted by a couple in Australia. More than twenty years later, all the while haunted by dreams of finding him mother and his siblings in India, he is inspired to dedicate himself to tracing back his travels to his home village after memories overwhelm him when he eats a traditional Indian dessert, Jalebi, that inspire the memories he long thought were gone. We’ve never cooked Indian Jalebi before, but we are thrilled to try this recipe rom SoFabFood 

We saved the sweetest for last!

Hidden Figures“Out Of This World Coffee Budino”


This incredible story of three African-American women who, while working as mathematicians at NASA in 1961, helped with critical computations and math theorems that helped launch John Glenn into orbit during the world wide Race To Space during the Cold War. Katherine G. Johnson, played by Taraji P. Henson, has recently been promoted as the first black woman to work with the “Space Task Group” team. Her colleagues are initially demeaning and belittling toward her during her early days with the group, even going as far as bringing and extra coffee pot, just for Katheryn, so that she would not share the coffee pot with the rest of the group. We won’t spoil what happens here, we’ll just tell you that since nothing sustains a group of NASA Mathematicians like coffee - we decided to honor these fine women of history with an “Out Of This World Coffee Budino” like the recipe featured here on Former Chef.

We hope you enjoyed our recommendations for cooking your way through the Oscars. Now, pop that corn, pour your Gin cocktail and enjoy the 89th Academy Awards celebration!

Sofia Boyer