For Sunday night's Academy Award ceremonies, the simplest drink choice is Champagne. After all, what says celebration better than a glass of bubbly? But that seems like the easy way out, especially given cinema's memorable drinking moments over the years. None of the nine nominees for Best Picture this year has a particularly memorable drinking scene, but that doesn't mean they don't bring certain drinks or spirits to mind.
We've taken this year's Best Picture nominees and paired them with a drink that best matches the theme, era or location of the film:
Midnight in Paris
This romantic comedy written and directed by Woody Allen, is set in Paris, where the protagonist Gil, a screenwriter in a less than fulfilling relationship, finds a magical portal to other eras when the clock strikes midnight. In one scene, he's transported the 1920s, where he meets his idol Ernest Hemingway.
Hemingway lived in Paris in the early 1920s with his wife (when he left, it was with his a different wife, but that's another story). He wrote about his time in the City of Lights in his novel, A Moveable Feast, which was published posthumously.
The Drink: Saint James Rum, a high quality rum from Martinique, which Hemingway is said to have described as "smooth as a kitten's chin."
Tree of Life
This Terrence Malick film chronicles the origins and meaning of life through a middle-aged man's childhood memories of his family living in 1950s Texas. Sean Penn plays Jack, who is trying to reconcile his complex relationship with his father, played by Brad Pitt. It's interspersed with images of the origins of the universe and the inception of life on Earth. If you don't need a stiff during the movie, you'll definitely need one after it.
Set in 1920's Hollywood, this silent film depicts the film era, and one it's stars--Georg Valentin--as it transitions from silent movies to "talkies." This was during Prohibition however, and the film industry was also being censored from showing any drinking. Valentin however is shown trying to pawn a suit to get some cash to buy more gin.
The Drink: A Gibson. It's essentially a gin martini, but garnished with cocktail onions. Gin was readily available during Prohibition, and martinis remained popular. One origin story of the Gibson links it to a San Francisco businessman, and that's close enough to Hollywood for me.
Based on the 2003 book by Michael Lewis, Moneyball is the true story of Oakland A's General Manager Billy Beane, and the cash-strapped team's analytics-based approach to assembling a winning team.
The Drink: Hamm's. Beane was a notorious cheapskate and the A's were broke. Hat tip to Seattle Weekly editor-in-chief Mike Seely for the suggestion, plus bonus points, because Hamm's originates in Minnesota. Beane was a reserve outfielder for the Twins in the late 1980s.
This English war epic takes place before and during World War I. A young boy watches the birth of a thoroughbred foal and admires the growth of the young horse, galloping through the fields alongside its mother. The boy's father, a farmer, buys the colt at auction, despite a more suitable plough horse being available.
The Drink: Whisky, preferably Scotch. Dad has a bum leg from a war injury and is frequently shown drinking alcohol from a flask he carries.
George Clooney stars in this Alexander Payne film as Matt King, a Honolulu-based lawyer and the sole trustee of a family trust that controls 25,000 acres of pristine land on the island of Kauai. The trust is set to expire, so the family has decided to sell the land to a Kauai native for development. Just before family members are ready to sign the deal, Matt's wife is in a boating accident near Waikiki that puts her in a coma. Matt soon discovers his wife had been cheating on him.
The Drink: Mai Tai. Like Matt King, tiki drinks are not indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands. They're inextricably tied to Hawaii however, and after this movie, you'll want a drink that transports you to a warm and happy place.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
This film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Jonathan Safran Foer, centers around a young boy who's father died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The boy is convinced that his father left him a secret message that he's supposed to find. He searches all over New York for a lock to fit a key he thinks his father left for him.
The Drink: Manhattan. This classic cocktail is said to have been invented, and named for, the famous borough in the late 1800s.
The Help is set in the early 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi, and is primarily told from the perspective of three African-American women who work as maids and clean houses and care for the young children of various white families. While the civil rights movement has taken hold in much of the country, change is slow to come to Jackson.
The Drink: Mint Julep. While not closely associated with Mississippi, the mint julep has long been associated with the South. The earliest juleps--loosely defined as a mixture of mint, sugar and spirit--were served in the southeastern states as a morning pick-me-up for farmers.
This 3D film by Martin Scorcese is about a young boy, Hugo Cabret, who's been orphaned after his beloved father died in a museum fire. His uncle takes him in, only to wander off drunk and never return. Hugo is left to continue the uncle's job of winding clocks at the Gare Montparnasse railway station in Paris. He lives inside the station's walls, and explores 1930s Paris, seeking out the heart-shaped key to fit an automaton he and his father had been restoring before his death.
The Drink: The Sidecar. This classic cocktail make with cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice is said to have been created at the Ritz Hotel in Paris in the 1920s.