So, to fully indulge in the fun and frivolity that is the week leading up to the Academy Awards®, I thought I’d provide you with an early edition of The P.S. Top Five to give you ample time and sufficient fodder to thoughtfully and thoroughly craft your Oscar® night experience. Whether you are watching from the comfort of your couch donning loafers instead of Louboutins, or you are one of the anointed few who actually get to walk a red carpet of some sort, this celebratory canon hits all the must-dos, from fashion and your face to food and film.

Get Educated: It’s an understatement to say that there are a lot of good films up for Oscar® gold this year—in fact, there are so many that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences allowed the Best Picture category to balloon from five to 10 nominees just to include them all. Thus, educating yourself on the movies of the night is a fabulous way to impress your friends and clinch that annual office Oscar® pool. First, get thee to a theater: The Princeton Garden (160 Nassau Street, Princeton; 609.683.7595 or currently is showing The Hurt Locker (nominated for nine awards, including Best Picture. Montgomery Cinemas (1325 Route 206, Skillman; 609.924.7444), known for its excellent selection of independent film, is showing not one but five of this year’s nominees: Crazy Heart (three nods, including Best Actor); The Last Station (two noms); A Single Man (one nomination for Best Actor, Colin Firth); The Young Victoria (three including Best Art Direction); and The White Ribbon (two, including Best Foreign Language Film). (And take note: These movies are showing now through Thursday, so be sure to check online for the new weekend schedules.) Now, if you really want to do your homework, head to Labyrinth Books (122 Nassau Street, Princeton; 609.497.1600 or and peruse the actual literature that inspired the Best Adapted Screenplays, including Push by Sapphire (a.k.a. Precious) and Up in the Air by Walter Kirn.

Get Your Food On: Now, Wolfgang Puck may have whipped up a six-course menu replete with delicacies like black truffles, espresso glacé, and brandade fritters to feed the guests at the annual Academy Awards® Governors Ball (it’s his sixteenth year as the official chef, by the way), but you certainly don’t have to go to all that trouble (I mean, who really needs a crispy potato galette, anyway?). Keep it simple so you don’t miss any of the red-carpet action: Order out. Me? I’ll be noshing on a 10-ounce Angus Prime burger, medium rare with bleu cheese, from Witherspoon Grill (57 Witherspoon Street, Princeton; 609.924.6011 or avec the most delectable fries in town, and washing it all down with some Diebolt-Vallois Brut Rosé ($55) from the Princeton Corkscrew Wineshop (49 Hulfish Street, Princeton; 609.430.1200 or And for dessert, true Oscar® inspiration: Thomas Sweet Chocolates (29 Palmer Square, Princeton; 609.924.7222 or has movie ticket stubs ($2.50), director’s clapboards ($2.75), and champagne bottles of all sizes (including a life-size one that runs $39.95) made out of their scrumptious chocolate. (Wolfie, you can keep your 24 Carat Chocolate Oscars®, thank you very much.)

Get Ready for Your Close-up: Although most of us aren’t at liberty to spend an entire day getting plucked, waxed, snipped, highlighted, massaged, tweezed, and Botoxed like the Hollywood celebs do in preparation of the big night, I think it isn’t out of the question to schedule a ceremonial facial to get your skin in top paparazzi form. I had one this past weekend at Metropolis Spa & Salon (301 North Harrison Street, Princeton; 609.683.8388 or, and it was lovely: Part skincare regimen and part stress release, the facial was a little bit of heaven. Brianna, my delightful technician, primarily used products from the fab SkinCeuticals line (the only lotions I use on my mug), and gave me a neck, shoulder, scalp, and arm massage that was second to none. And, if you have the time, try to squeeze in a quick manicure and/or pedicure and request O.P.I.’s D.S. Classic, a sparkly gold concoction that will give your mitts a lift.

Get Gussied Up: So many stores in town are getting into the spirit of awards season with a bevy of bling and couture to inspire your 15 minutes of fame. If you’re trying to achieve a classic spotlight moment, look no further than jane (my sister-in-law’s fabulous consignment shop/treasure trove; 7 Spring Street, Princeton; 609.683.5263 or She has a selection of gorgeous vintage couture, from Oscar de la Renta to Atelier Alyce, and is offering 20 percent off all things glitz and glam starting today through Sunday. Or, if an L.B.D. (little black dress) is what your fashion sights are set on, Rouge (51 Witherspoon Street, Princeton; 609.921.0280 or has some gorgeous frocks, including my fave by Daal ($268). Once you’ve got your “canvas” intact, pop on over to Lisa Jones (16 Witherspoon Street, Princeton; 609.683.8002 or to properly bauble yourself: a black faux reptile-skin ($38) and silver metallic ($42) clutch, along with fun cocktail rings including a black onyx dome ($24) that I particularly had my eye on, are among the Oscar®-worthy finds.

Get Plugged In: Now, I love nothing more than placing my bets on who’s going to walk away with all of those little gold statues—and being right, natch. So the new Vanity Fair Hollywood App has become the answer to my Oscar®-ballot prayers. Created by some über-savvy pals of mine (props to the great minds at Vanity Fair and Sanborn Media Factory), the Vanity Fair Hollywood App channels the magazine’s massive store of entertainment intelligence into an app that will give you all you need to know to win: You can browse information on all of the nominees; place your votes for your picks; invite your friends to get on board; and track your stellar progress on Oscar® night. And just think about the bragging rights when you take it all home at the end of the night. And don’t worry if you don’t have an iPhone or an iPhone app: You can play the game online at

The Oscars® Challenge: If anyone is interested in seeing how they stack up against yours truly, send me an e-mail at and I’ll get you in on the PrincetonScoop Oscar® pool action via the V.F. Hollywood App. Get ready to place your bets, people!  —JH

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