The day the Academy Awards airs is one of my favorite days of the year. As such, I always prepare as much as possible in order to make educated guesses about which movies the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will vote for -- watching every movie, pining through reviews, noting the most miniscule details of each characters’ nuance, and always thinking about a proper menu. (Look, I didn’t say my adoration didn’t border on obsession!)
This year, I sat down and watched all 8 Best Picture nominees in 2 weekends with the intention of enjoyment, yes, but also research: I wanted to know what foods had supporting (or leading) roles in 2014’s best movies. Many tissues, several naps, and countless hours on IMDB later, I completed my goal. Subject matters range from the Civil Right Movement to an ornate European hotel only Mr. Wes Anderson could dream up, but food is a constant: Here are recipes that play a part in each of the 8 films. You’ve got all your essential food groups to pull you through 3 straight hours of watching celebrities practice their most gracious “I’m just happy to be nominated” faces -- fat, alcohol, dessert (make that two), cheese, and carbs!
“You had a career before the third comic book movie, before people began to forget who was inside the bird costume. You're doing a play based on a book that was written 60 years ago, for a thousand rich old white people whose only real concern is gonna be where they go to have their cake and coffee when it's over.”
There’s no beating around the bush in Birdman -- Sam (Riggan’s estranged daughter) just exposes her fangs and goes straight for meat.
As their love story blossoms, a young Stephen Hawking invites his soon-to-be-wife over for lunch with his family. Much to Stephen’s embarrassment, his father offers Jane a coupe of his “(in)famous” elderflower liqueur.
On a particularly liberating night in Austin before he graduated high school, Mason plops himself down in the red vinyl seats of a 24-hour diner and pigs out on cheese dip and tortilla chips while talking about life and the future with his beloved. “More queso?” Yes, more queso.
“I'm not redneck; I'm Texas!” Chris Kyle is a blue-blooded American man who, after years in Texas aspiring to be a cowboy, enlists in the SEALS. This dense loaf of beer bread could satiate even a man of Mr. Kyle’s size and stature.
Before catching the eyes and ears of Fletcher, the most intense teacher in his ultra-competitive music conservatory, Andrew makes a tradition of going to flicks at the local movie theater with his dad. They always share a large popcorn and dump in a box of Raisinettes for the perfect sweet and salty snack.
Agatha’s confections for Mendel’s bakery are as adorable (and handy in a sticky situation…) as they are delicious. Instead of following a complicated instructional video, we’re opting for cream puffs with bourbon chocolate whipped cream.
Photo of biscuits by Izy Hossack; photo of beer bread by Bobbi Lin; all others by James Ransom