oscar hi-def slam

My favorite bit of the Oscars, aside from what she wore, is who died and hearing how loud the applause gets for each face of Hollywood.  It must say something about me, something morbid, maybe.  I’m not sure how the in memoriam works.  Is it like a tax year, where come time, all that matters is what happened in a finite year?  Is that why Don Knotts wasn’t in the who-died-and-done-it montage?  I’m assuming so because you don’t just forget Don Knotts.

Not exactly HBO Comedy Jam, the Oscars last night from my crowded apartment sofa were more than I’d asked for.  We watched them in high-definition, so you could see when their faces didn’t match their necks.  Jennifer Lopez looked dirty.  Not spank-me dirty.  In-need-of-soap dirty.  I wanted to wash her forehead.  Salma Hayek could read this year (and she looked like what a woman should look like), and I was pissed for Lauren Bacall.  They could have made the font bigger.  Salma’s breasts were where they belonged; too many of the stars had their breasts seemingly in the wrong spot (Charlize Theron).  Yes, I liked the addition of pockets in formal gowns, liked the smokey eye on Keira, loved her vintage Bulgari necklace.  Yes, yes.  We know.  Most importantly, I realized an alarming similarity between Jon Stewart and Zack Braff.  I’m not sure if it’s their delivery or resemblance in appearance, but they look like brothers.  And, I bet neither of them wear falsies.

Jonstewart2 Zach_braff_1
You’d think with the crisper view, I’d glean more emotion.  Was it just me, or was there a lack of emotion this year?  Aside from the Mafia boys, George Cloony was the only one to make a heartfelt, moving, speech.  Reese Witherspoon, while very much a lady whom I adore, seemed too together.  I guess I just wanted to see someone lose it, to see someone unglued.  "Someone" meaning an actor, not the one who won for best art direction or sound mixing.  I wanted to cry for someone, the way I had when Halle took it as a bigger moment than herself; she took it for Dorothy Dandridge.  Or when Roberto Benigni climbed over the chairs in delight.  I wanted to see someone shocked and moved to tears, someone blown away by the gesture and recognition. I didn’t see it, and it wasn’t for lack of screen.  I wanted to see God push through.  Not in a religious freak way, just in a, this moment is bigger than me, way.

As for the menu, my menu, I pulled together a last-minute gathering.  We hit Costco, and I raided it for ready-pac mango slices.  I hoarded them for myself, though.  Here’s what we ended up serving:

New Zealand rack of lamb with organic mint jelly, Baby back ribs, Jumbo tiger shrimp with cocktail sauce, Spanikopita triangles (I am Greek and have grown up making these my whole life), Crab Slammers with jalapeno, Fresh warm garlic bread, Organic baby carrots with Greek Tzatziki, Meyer lemon hummus, Potato latkes with apple sauce, Smoked Nova salmon with crème fraiche, dill, and salmon roe over mini waffles, Egg salad with smoked paprika over cucumber discs, Lobster salad stuffed grape tomatoes, Chicken pineapple meatballs, and of course, Pigs in a blanket with Dijon mustard.  As for dessert, an assortment of French pastries, decadent peanut butter walnut brownies, and white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies. 

Then, of course, there was swag.  No one leaves without a goodie bag, filled with personalized swag including books, slang flash cards, nu-bras, girdles, essie nail polish, manicure kits, am/fm radios, kabbalah bracelets, and a bit o’ bling.  Then we sang along to “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.”  No, we didn’t.  View some of our quick photos >>



  1. Three 6 Mafia gave genuine emotion when they won! They were thrilled. That is truly a breakthrough when rappers enter into the lexicon that is the Academy…were we watching the same Oscars?

  2. Who could forget Roberto Benigni or Julia Roberts? I didn`t like Reese`s speech. It was too…something and there was no real emotion behind it.

  3. Maybe it's just me, but I did a double-take when I read you hit up Costco – I didn't even know NYC had Costco's out there! Kinda makes me think of Wal-Mart, but much better. That's cool, especially since you like to cook so much!

  4. I agree completely regarding lack of emotion. well the word around town is that Reese is so incredibly serious (read: cold)so that accounts for her response to winning over the amazing Felicity Huffman. I did not care for Keira's dark eyeshadow I must say- she is far too young for that at her first Oscars. She should have left her gorgeous eyes natural!
    is it true, as per awfulplasticsurgery.com that salma actually had a lift/implant- like jessica simpson?
    All in all too many black dresses!
    Your menu sounds fantastic- although not to be snotty- spanakopita is pronounced spanA, …
    teen eee yaa sou! (to your health)

  5. Wow you really know how to spoil your friends! Do they reciprocate or are you always the hostess?

  6. I think that what some people read as 'cold' in Reese, is just that she is really smart and really prepared. She probably expected to win, but was prepared to lose. And when she won, she already knew what her reaction was going to be, and what she was going to say.

  7. I fell asleep watching the Oscars, but then again I wasn't at your party . . . I do have to put my vote in for Phillip Seymour Hoffman. He may not have brought tears to my eyes, but the way he talked about his mother did move me. I also thought he was incredible in Capote and deserved to win. Any chance you will share any of your recipes? that was one hell of a menu, stephanie. your friends are very lucky. but hopefully they already know that.

  8. All I can say, is I love my Tivo. Love, love, love it. Watching them announce the winners, fast forwarding through the stumbling up to the stage, and the trite and ever more boring acceptance speeches, to get to the next announcement is utter bliss.

    I thought Reese looked gorgeous…same with Keira. And I'm glad that (who was it…Jennifer Garner?) didn't totally fall down. That was amusing. Worth rewinding and watching a couple of times.

  9. I've said it once, and I'll say it again. Salma is hot. However, I want Charlize more. Even though I think Salma would be a more passionate lover.

  10. Yes, the awards just weren't as exciting this year, and I couldn't tell if Lauren Bacall couldn't read or was just bombed! If I was at your apartment, I would probably have just eaten and not paid attention to the Oscars. I hope you had help! Would love, love, love to try your Spanikopita recipe…it looks more creamy than mine which seems to be too spinach-y for some reason. That Linus is so photogenic in his pictures, the floral arrangement with the unflowers in photo 25 is HUGE and gorgeous, and I could not believe my eyes, a phone on the wall with a cord! What is that?!?!

  11. My mouth is watering….the food looks delish! Im so hungry right now and i havent had one of those Spanikopita triangles in so long that im gonna go and make them tonight….damn Stephanie my diets just gone out the window! LOL

  12. The awards were lacking – it wasn't that exciting. I did like how Jack mouthed "WHOA" when he announced that Crash won for best pic over Brokeback. I love reese – she's a classic beauty. Clooney is old hollywood handsome. Salma is sexy – she's got a body to die for. I felt so so badly for Lauren Bacall. And you just know that J.Lo snickered a bit when Jennifer Garner tripped.

    That being said – you could absolutely be a private chef or high end caterer – not only does the food sound delicious – but the presentation is spot on. Next time you're having a party – let me know and i'll do the floral for you. Cooking to you is floral design to me :)

    Oh, and I LOVE your rug. Gorgeous.

  13. Darling, Darling, Darling . . .

    "Pulled together last minute"????

    While I know you mentioned a Costco run, you are, me thinks, taking too much credit for your cooking endeavors. Granted it looks like you only served about 8 people, but I know the effort that it takes to make spanikopita from scratch . . . hours . . . and how about making latkes from scratch with all the shredding, sauteing? Add to this lamb chops, baby back ribs, chicken meatballs, pigs in blankets?

    I give you credit for the appetizers . . . even these must have taken a couple of hours to prepare. Though relatively easy, I KNOW the work that it takes for your beautiful presentation.

    But admit it . . . you ASSEMBLED your dinner. You didn't cook it. Not being critical, but take honest credit. About twice a year I "cater" a party for my friends . . . with about 100-150 attendees, so I know the work involved. There are foodies that cook and foodies that ASSEMBLE.
    Perhaps, I didn't learn the EASY BUTTON approach, but I cook.

  14. don knotts wasnt in it, i think bc he died last week and this is the 2005 academy awards?! just a thought.

    reese got a little conveluted somewhere in the middle of her speech but came back fantastically at the end…

  15. Only a nit-picking comment: DO you mean Nova Scotia smoked salmon? I only say that because I am from Nova Scotia and that sentence just caught my attention!

  16. The protruding, embarassing turd that is Batman and Robin aside, has anyone more consistently than George Clooney shown a conscience and a heart and — at the same time — come off more cool and more "I wish I was friends with/screwing that guy" than he? Mebbe Jack Nicholson — but I doubt it. No wonder Jon Stewart kept saying how often George gets lucky.

    I think everyone up there was very contained and the impassioned pleas and reactions seemed more focused on getting people to come to the movies and stop pirating the DVD's thereof.

    And Phillip Seymour Hoffman — very classy not to thank your girlfriend or Truman Capote's legacy. All in a day's work, thankyouverymuch.

    It was a "nice" telecast, but I'm not sure which moment I enjoyed more: Jon Stewart's Bjork/Cheney joke or seeing Nicholson announce Crash as the best picture and then seeing him mouth the word "Whoa!" as the music began to blare. We're still debating whether he just decided to change the Best Picture Oscar from Bareback to Crash on his own on the fly. Mebbe not.

  17. While I never would have thought to combine latke eating while watching Clooney in a tux, that really makes sense. That is as close to heaven as it gets! Stephanie, you are smarter than us all. :) Bravo, bravo! Speech, speech!

  18. Just one question. How can I get an invitation
    next year? I'll bring great red wine and
    Oscars for everyone.

  19. Jon Stewart was as good as can be hosting for an assembly of jaded/nervous attendees (granted only a handful should be nerv ous- the nominees). Pass the vicodin, thx. I especially loved the internet candid 'hilights' such as a slumped-in-her-chair Catherine Keener texting someone on cell behind the macro-enceph (but talented) P. Seymour Hoffman. Panning the crowd more during the Three 6 Mafia's sluggish performance would have added more bite. I mean, let's see Bacall's face on that one. I wanted to hug Stewart more than once when he didn't get much reaction, it was worse than watching my kid brother at open mic night.
    And the superb Tom Hanks mutely cursing the band for playing the theme for Forest Gump as he walked onstage. Apparently it was agreed beforehand that they'd play something else as T bone had 'passed that' role long ago.
    Funny, funny. Once again it is always behind the scenes stuff. Still waiting for secret hand cam footage of Graydon Carter in his 'neat' plaid tapered 'slacks' at the VF party making a mess of things.

    On the food, well done. Lucky friends. Did the guys get girdles too though? I would be easily about 3 bills if I ate like that, damn you woman.

  20. Having been at an Oscar party myself, I have way too many comments I could write, but I wont. However, I did notice the Jon Stewart/Zack Braff similarity. And sad to say, but Pride and Prejudice was a terrible movie and Keira was awful. No idea how she got in the category. I agree, she is young. She will have many other options. Jessica Alba looked gorgeous. Like I said, I could go on. I won't. But damn that Pimp song. Made me tie for the pool. I actually picked foreign language film, but got the damn song wrong!

  21. Agreed. George Clooney showed some personality. Stewart had his moments (dreideloff). Gay Brokeback theme got old quick. Someone tell Dolly it's OK to age. Lauren Bacall was sad and I'm sure I felt as helpless as the entire Oscar Audience watching her live. What were they thinking? Enjoyed Mafia's unbridled enthusiasm. Weak crop of movies this year, IMHO.

  22. I'm with Joey B. I loved Reese's speech. I think she is one of the warmest and most genuine people in Hollywood. I definitely think she knew she would win, and she was well prepared for it. Hello, her company is called Type A Productions.

    Stephanie, it's funny that you mention spanakopita as I was literally just reading a scene about it in Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex. The food all sounds amazing and I love that you did swag bags for your guests. Just fabulous!

  23. Thanks Amanda, I thought it was just me ;)

    I will say this though; PSH is a great, great actor. He was great in Boogie Nights, he was great in The Big Lebowski, he was great in Magnolia…Mr. Ripley…even in Along Came Polly. He is a great actor. Needless to say, I think he knows it and I think he knew — as did 99% of the viewers — that he was getting this award. But Reese "Legally Blond" Witherspoon went up there looking more prepared and more like a real person than he did. I hope it's just that he was nervous (and debating whether he should fulfill a college promise to Capote's writers and bark his acceptance speech) and not that he was above giving credit and thanking people he should have.

    I know it might sound a bit cliche, but unless you make your way up that stage by doing monologues, it's a team effort and you're only as good as the weakest link. Them's my $0.02 :)

    Oh, and incidentally, I'm straight and I still think George Clooney is my generation's Jack Nicholson, aka One Cool Dude. I caught (for the 73rd time) The Peacemaker on late-night Showtime Saturday night and every time I see it I think "Gawd dayem we'd be a lot better off if we had guys like that in the field." Although I'd think a lot of the ladies might replace "field" with "bush." ;)

  24. Good one Boogie, ragging on someone for forgetting to thank someone at the most pressured moment of your life. If only we had your composure.

  25. What a menu! Last minute? It sounds like you spent the whole day in the kitchen. Maybe I should learn to cook like that and then I could live the glam life you do:)

  26. I think if I were ever going to get Botox, I'd ask them to make me look like Zach Braff.

    Your food looks delicious.

  27. Boogie- good comments. I caught that "down with DVDs, you gotta see films in the theaters" crap too. Nice call on P.S. Hoffman's failure to mention Truman Capote himself. I didn't even think of that. Maybe he just wasn't prepared. "Thank Mom" seemed to be his only mental note.

    I love George Clooney. So sad that he may very well never procreate.

  28. We have triangles here, too. No wonder, as Serbian and Greek cuisine (and culture) are quite much familiar. Your food, all together, looks awsome.

  29. Roxie…good call — it's not as if Phillip Seymour Hoffman was been getting awards for the past six months and was expected to win or anything. And it's not as if Reese Witherspoon, who was in Felicity Huffman's shadow for the entire build-up to the Oscars, was being insincere when she praised everyone involved with the film — lord knows she wasn't pressured at all.

    It reminded me of Michael Bolton being "pressured" when he was getting Grammy awards for covering Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding and not thanking them either.

    Good call.

  30. Hi Stephanie

    I am a big reader of your blog and I always find myself amazed how you can come up with great cooking ideas for the major events you and your friends have. It looked amazing for the eyes and very tasty!!

  31. Kat-Reese said probably the smartest thing I ever heard from Hollywood. She said that if you don't find yourself yelling at your kids sometimes, then you're not spending enough time with them.

    Costco-there is also one on the Major Deegan (RT 87) about five miles north of the city in Yonkers. They also have a Stew Leonard's there which can be kind of fun.


  32. right you are Boogie, right you are…. Oscar night is just like any other night for actors, no reason to feel any other pressure. and the fact that he said how terrible he felt for not mentioning his girlfriend, probably just more acting!

    if only he hadn't wasted all that time with that emotional blather of thanking his mom. sure he looked like he might lose it, but what a jerk.

    by the by boogie, nice reference to Brokeback as Bareback. classy.

  33. Back to Reese (and her hubby) for a second – I was a little taken aback by their complete lack of emotion toward each other. Did anyone else see that? They looked as though they wanted to be sitting next to anyone else in the theater right then but each other.

  34. Nia, I also noticed the stiffness btw Reese and Ryan. I love Reese. She has very good manners. Did anyone notice the camera on Ryan while Reese thanked her family and the movie crew, her co-star. Ryan looked a little miffed. And then at the end, almost as an afterthought, she thanked her husband. Who knows. Like any couple, they probably quarreled in the limo on the way to the show. Big deal.

    Magnolia, as a cook, I was not the only one wondering how in god's name SK "cooked" all of that. Costco is great for parties.

    SK–did you actually make the spanikopita this time? Would you please post a recipe? Also, do you have have your own recipe for tzahziki? Thx.

  35. You must must must try the Poseidon Bakery on 9th ave between 44th and 45th for fantastic spanikopita. this is my Aunt & uncle's bakery, its been there for 75 plus years, and is the only bakery left in the city that makes their own phyllo! its one of the last family run joints in hell's kitchen, as higher rents and "yuppification" take root. dont miss out kiddo.

  36. just a few stray thoughts…
    1. stripping away all the superfluous stuff (not terribly easy to do), the oscar "combatants" are doing one thing – they are, ummm, winning a prize. sure, it can figure in the public's/industry's perception of them, and can certainly help in lots of ways (though never a guarantee of either result), but, at base, that's all it is. winning a prize. and sure, the winners should be happy, it's a wonderful thing to be appreciated. but i'm not sure i really get the supposed gravitas of the event.
    2. the prize is awarded to people who compose their art partially by memorizing/rehearsing/speaking hundreds, if not thousands, of words. is it alot to ask that they perhaps prepare something lucid, on the off-chance they might actually win the prize, and speak it maybe as they would if it were part of their prize-winning performance, i.e., with some coherence and balance and readable honest emotion? sometimes i think the equivalent would be a musician receiving a prize, and totally blowing the performance of their prize-winning material, saying that they were "too nervous", or "too excited", or "unprepared" for winning. which doesn't happen too terribly often. and by no means does this random thought apply to all winners – the gulf between those who are gracious, or prepared, or well-spoken, and those who do the flop-sweat or hugely over-the-top bit, is enormously apparent. one would think that more would try to bridge that gulf.
    3. in that same vein, i would imagine that many, if not the majority, of those involved have, as they have often stated after receiving their prize, "dreamt about this moment", often from the very beginnings of their practice of the craft. personally, i know i've had my "secret" grammy speech ready for ages, edited and refined throughout the years. so for me, "unprepared" is kind of a bogus excuse. prepare for the art, prepare for the role, prepare for whatever may come, so that one is ready. the beauty of preparation meeting opportunity, as they say.
    4. and maybe from a slightly jaded perspective…it's hard to tell (though not in some cases) what's real and what's unreal. these are, after all, really good actors/actresses. it's kinda what they do. i suppose if we buy in, we buy into pretty much all of it. though, thankfully, we still get to comment at length…
    5. and nice spread, stephanie, sounds like it was a blast.

  37. It's one thing for a great actor to soil his reputation by blathering on about how deep his love is for Katie Holmes on a couch on Oprah's set; it's another for him to win an Oscar and not bother to mention his girlfriend or the actual human being on which his Oscar-winning performance was based. Yep, I'm sure he was nervous and I'm sure he was full of the moment. But that argument doesn't apply solely to him because each first-time Oscar-winning actor doesn't hide behind that excuse. Reese Witherspoon wasn't the odds-on favorite that PS Hoffman was and she managed to give credit — a lot of credit — to others, not just her mom.

    It seems to me that anyone making excuses for one needs to make excuses for all; lots of people have won awards and not forgotten to mention the people in their lives and the people on whom the roles were based (or who they emulated to win said awards). It doesn't change the fact that as good an actor as he is on film, he reminded me of Michael Bolton in that he should at least have made the effort to give credit to those who helped get him there.

  38. I don't know why, but I found it very interesting that a number of people asked for Steph's recipes, but I'm pretty sure none of them tasted her food. I was just imagining going into someone's house and saying, 'you have to give me your recipe for the chocolate cake', and them responding, 'but you haven't even tasted it yet'.

    It just struck me as funny.

  39. I think that although the job of an actor is to be in front of an audience and speak, many of those actors are not comfortable doing live and/or personal performances. They can be great when they are reading something somebody else writes for them, or when they have multiple takes to get it right before it goes out to millions of people. I don't know PSH's background, but usually actors with stage experience are better when it comes to awards shows and David Letterman type shows.

  40. Regarding the Nova question-
    It's a Jewish thing. I have never heard a Jew ask for "Nova Scotia salmon" in a deli/ bagel store. It's just "Nova". We don't mean to offend Canadians in any way- it's just a term that has evolved into an essential part of our vernacular.
    Steph- I'm so hungry after reading this post that I need to go home and eat dinner VERY soon. Sounds like it was a great party- even if it did take a little arm twisting to get The Suitor to go along with it.

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