Oscar Party Playlist

"Please Mr. Kennedy" from Inside Llewyn Davis
Today’s the day! Oscar party preparations are underway. I have catfish marinating to represent August: Osage County during the festivities (“Eat the fish, bitch!”) and I'm whipping up some cornbread in honour of the year’s best film, 12 Years a Slave. (Although I doubt either dish will top the white cake that I made for Django Unchained last year.) I’ll be busting out the American Hustle tumblers, too, but, unfortunately, I might not be able to celebrate Blue Jasmine with Stoli martinis. (Driving.) A little party never killed nobody, so toast to the Oscars if you can!

'American Hustle' tumblers for Oscar party style!
If you have your Oscar noms, your printed ballots for predictions (I switched a sound prediction from Captain Phillips to Gravity at the last second), and your drinks to make the night extra sassy, you’ll also need a decent playlist for the Oscar pre-show. 2013 was a great year for movies and it was a great year for music in the movies. The original scores themselves weren’t particularly memorable (no Atonement or Hanna this year), but the soundtracks to the films of 2013 were pretty great.

Make sure to honour the movie music of 2013 by setting your Oscar pre-party to the soundtrack of the movie year. As you nibble the popcorn you made in the science oven and say “cheers” to Philomena with some Guinness, set the mood for the show. Enjoy original songs (“The Moon Song”), vintage tracks (“Way Down Sally”) and songs inspired by the movies (“Shudder to Think”). Enjoy subtly effective tunes (“Blue Moon”) for the arty types at the party and offensively on-the-nose credits songs (“Heroes”) for those who prefer Broscars.

Likewise, rock out to “Please Mr. Kennedy” instead of lamenting the snub of Inside Llewyn Davis. Have a roaring party to the tunes from “The Great Gatsby” and ask how on earth “Young and Beautiful” isn’t winning the Oscar--it isn't even nominated! (One of the worst snubs of the year.) Show off your film snob side by talking up the wonderful Belgium bluegrass of The Broken Circle Breakdown. I limited myself to two BCB songs, but I recommend listening to “Wayfaring Stranger” while prepping your Oscar noms. (Note that the video contains spoilers.) Represent the fine soundtracks of documentary, too, by taking in a track from Muscle Shoals, plus a soulful tune from one of the subjects of the nominated doc 20 Feet from Stardom. Be extra academic by pausing as a group to discuss what “Gimme Shelter” might sound like without the haunting "Rape! Murder!" back-up vocals by Merry Clayton.

The Oscar party playlist can also be a fun game. As host, challenge the guests to pick out which of the songs on the playlist are the Oscar nominees for Best Original Song. They might recognize “Let it Go” from Frozen,” but will they know “Happy” or that love-it-or-hate-it song from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom? Finally, end the pre-party by offering the titillating bit of movie song trivia by noting to guests that the Oscar race of 2013 saw the rare overturning of a nominee, for Bruce Boughton’s much-derided title track for Alone Yet Not Alone had its nomination rescinded due to unethical campaigning. It's unfair to disqualify “Alone Yet Not Alone” from the Oscar playlist, though, since it might go down in history as the Oscar song of 2013 (albeit for all the wrong reasons). Enjoy it as bonus track away from the other Oscar-related songs, but still as a part of the pack. Alone yet not alone, one might say.

Oscar Party Playlist:

1. “The Boy who Wouldn’t Hoe Corn” from The Broken Circle Breakdown
2. “Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song)” from Inside Llewyn Davis
3. “Desperation” from 20 Feet from Stardom
4. “Young and Beautiful” from The Great Gatsby
5. “Let it Go” from Frozen
6. “10538 Overture” from American Hustle
7. “Lay Down Sally” from August: Osage County
8. “Roll Jordan Roll” from 12 Years a Slave
9. “If I Needed You” from The Broken Circle Breakdown
10. “The Moon Song” from Her
11. “Happy” from Despicable Me 2
12. “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” from Saving Mr. Banks (and, yes, Mary Poppins)
13. “Blue Moon” from Blue Jasmine
14.  “Pressing On” from Muscle Shoals
15. “Heroes” from Lone Survivor
16. “Take You Away” from Mud
17. “Please Mr. Kennedy” from Inside Llewyn Davis
18. “Gimme Shelter” from 20 Feet from Stardom
19. “Mrs. Robinson” from The Wolf of Wall Street
20. “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)” from The Great Gatsby
21. “Far l’amore” from The Great Beauty
22. “Shudder to Think” from Dallas Buyers Club
23. “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Bonus track: “Alone Yet Not Alone” from Alone Yet Not Alone

Enjoy the Oscars!