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Oscars Party-Ready Cocktails Inspired by Best Picture Nominees

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Paul Wegman

Throwing an Oscars party this weekend? Popcorn and party favors are nice, but if you want to be an award-worthy host, you’ll need something a little bit, um, stronger.

Portland, Ore., bartender Brandon Lockman is stirring up drinks inspired by this year’s best picture nominees at Hotel Monaco’s Red Star Tavern. “Finding inspiration for a new cocktail can sometimes be the hardest part. Translating movies into cocktails is a fun way to switch it up,” he tells PEOPLE of his cinematic muses. “There are different aspects of each movie to draw from.”

Lockman adds: “Plus, the research part is really fun.”

Time to roll out your own red carpet – and whip up these beverages inspired by Django Unchained and Life of Pi.

Django Unchained

Inspired by Quentin Tarantino’s epic western about a German bounty hunter and a freed slave, Lockman created “a southern classic with a little German twist.”

• 2 oz. rye whiskey
• ½ oz. amaro liqueur
• ¼ oz. kirschwasser
• ¼ oz. Royal Combier
• 2 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
• 2 dash Angostura Bitters
Stir all ingredients, and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with an expressed orange peel.

Life of Pi

This drink is “bright and exotic, like [director] Ang Lee’s vision,” says Lockman.

• 1 oz. gin (recipe recommends Tanqueray Rangpur)
• 1 oz. Aperol
• 1 oz. Lillet Blanc
Combine ingredients with ice and stir. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an expressed orange peel.

Brandon Lockman’s Life of Pi-inspired cocktail
Paul Wegman

The 85th annual Academy Awards will air live on ABC starting at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on Sunday, Feb. 24, from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.