We love being transported to a land of make-believe, with characters, story and a beautiful backdrop to take us away. There are Christmas classics where kindness and generosity win out amidst the falling snow, historical dramas with danger lurking behind every door in large houses, and stories of redemption with a returning hero.
And then there are events celebrating films - coverage of the world's top actors and directors with a lot of the world watching (those that are awake). And they're the best of all.
Yes, it's awards season, with the 89th Academy Awards, more commonly known as the Oscars, not far away and the BAFTAs coming up soon. It may be cold outside, but the white heat of the film world enters our living rooms as Casey Affleck, Ryan Gosling and the like battle it out. How do you hold so many glittering diamonds, evening gowns and egos in one room?
Well as they burst from your screens, how about basking in their reflected glory? You might never be nominated for 'Best Actor', but 'Best Party' will do, with a sprinkling of stardust via the satellites. You'll be amazed at how many people actually turn up to your bash - there's very little competition at this time of year (those in Hollywood don't count) and people love an excuse to celebrate.
So act the part. Don that Godzilla suit or Stormtrooper get-up straight out of Star Wars. For a costume where people actually know who you are, put on Civil War-era garments favoured by Scarlett O'Hara and her admirers. Or make like Johnny Depp's Pirates of the Caribbean character - avoiding the pendant light as you swish the sword.
Don't forget the drink either, because the link between Hollywood and cocktails
is a strong one. Humphrey Bogart fixes a Champagne Cocktail for Ingrid Bergman at a critical moment in 1942 film noir Casablanca. So welcome your guests with the French 75
, a version where the main part is played by bubbly, but there's also a supporting cast of gin. Move onto the White Russian
before the snacks arrive, a favourite of the main character 'the Dude' in the Coen brothers' 1998 flick The Big Lebowski. Skip the tenpin bowling that he so loved in the movie and pour in Baileys to add richness and weight to the story, along with cream.
Then there's the Martini
. This cocktail is box office, with a simple mix of gin or vodka plus vermouth, shaken not stirred for a James Bond feel. There's no 007 film this year but its lesser-known sequel, the Vesper Martini
, from 2006's Casino Royale, is worth reviving. It requires a little casting around for some Lillet Blanc, but vodka and gin lead the way.
While all these delicious drinks are being served, make sure you cater for every member of your audience. The Fresh Shirley Temple
will please those on a West Coast-style alcohol-free approach. This delicious mocktail
is named after the screen actress and brings together pomegranate juice and ginger ale for a touch of widescreen-era Middle Eastern feel.
All that glitters may not be gold, but the Glitterball cocktail
recipe comes close. Based on a truly great whisky, Johnny Walker Gold, the quality continues with elderflower cordial because many great Hollywood films have a British edge. Then pour in soda water plus sugar and citrus for that ultimate bittersweet ending. You can catch the whole ceremony live from 11.30pm UK time on February 26th - the ceremony itself will begin at 1.30 but you can't beat the build-up!