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How to Plan a Star-Worthy Viewing Party

And the award goes to … my friends … for throwing the best annual Academy Awards® viewing party around.

That’s right, celebrities don’t have to be the only ones having all the fun on the big night. All you need is a little technology and a spark of creativity to create an enviable red carpet experience or partake in a 21st-century ballot competition.

Here are a few ways you can make a viewing party fun this year:

Watch the movies beforehand

Watching the awards show is much more enjoyable if you’ve seen the performances that are getting honored. A handful of the nominated movies are out on DVD, while a number are also available for streaming. Check your local theaters to see if they’re holding special screenings of nominated films ahead of the big awards night.

Roll out the red carpet

Whether asking friends to wear their finest evening wear or fun pajamas, don’t forget to take pictures! Instant cameras like the Fujifilm instax Mini 8 can print photos instantly. That gives an extra pop to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook posts that document all the fun.

Mark the ballots

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has an online ballot challenge. Sign in via Facebook, mark your guesses and invite friends to join in the challenge. Instead of printing and handing out ballot forms, just pass around a smartphone or tablet.

Set the mood with music

Build a playlist full of Oscar®-nominated movie songs, past and present. And take notes from your friends, adding last-minute requests from a phone to a Bluetooth portable speaker. You can even update the set list based on movies that won before a commercial break for ultimate timeliness.

Commercials are a time for trivia

Speaking of commercials, pass the time during award ceremony breaks by hosting a movie trivia quiz. A little online research beforehand can give you the answers to a certain actor’s first award or the number of nominations a movie has received.

Make the most of your night, and happy viewing!