Vegan Oscars? Major Awards Party Announces 70% Plant-Based Menu

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In an announcement, the Academy of Motion Arts & Picture Sciences said that the food that will be served prior to the Oscars ceremony and at the afterparty held on the 9th February this year will be 70% plant-based. However, unlike the move made by the Golden Globes that chose to go fully vegan, 30% of the menu will remain composed of caviar, wagyu beef and smoked salmon dishes. While the decision is a positive step change, the choice to keep some of the most carbon-heavy foods on the menu is questionable, pointing to the authenticity of the Academy’s sustainability commitments.

The Academy, the host of the prestigious Oscars ceremony, has recently confirmed that all the food served in the lobby prior to the event this year will be entirely plant-based, while the extravagant post-ceremony Governors Ball will be 70% vegan. Among the 18 vegan dishes will be roasted cauliflower, sweet potato tempura, wild mushroom bolognese and avocado toast, while the remaining 30% of the menu will be made up of fish and meat dishes made from ingredients like smoked salmon, wagyu beef and caviar

For dessert, most of what is set to be on offer will be vegan-friendly. The plant-based fare of sweets will include salted caramel brownie cookies, ube and coconut cream pillow tarts and dark chocolate and yuzu raviolis. 

In the announcement, the Academy said that they are “committed to reducing [our] carbon footprint. For the past seven years, the Oscars show has had a zero-carbon imprint. We continue to expand our sustainability plan with the ultimate goal of becoming carbon neutral.” 

However, it is unclear whether the Academy’s plan to go carbon neutral will encompass the food served before and the prestigious post-Oscars party dinner–which is attended by 1,500 guests each year–will still include some of the most carbon-intensive and problematic foods on the planet. While beef production is well-known to use up vast amounts of land, water and is responsible for enormous carbon emissions, the aquaculture and fishing industry that catches and farms salmon and caviar wreaks havoc on ocean ecosystems, requires antibiotic use, and leaves behind a massive trail of plastic waste in the sea. Not to mention, seafood is also associated with a host of human rights issues, from child labour to slavery. 

Commenting on why the Governors Ball won’t be fully vegan, the 70-year-old celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck—who has catered the party for the past 26 years– said that while veganism is becoming more popular among guests, “still, the big majority eats meat and fish.” However, he did add that it is possible to “make vegan food taste really good and you won’t miss meat or fish.”

The decision of the Academy follows that of the Golden Globes organisers, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), who made a last-minute choice to switch to a 100% plant-based menu. While the original Golden Globes menu featured sea bass, it was later changed to king oyster mushroom “scallops” with vegetables and risotto. At the event, actor Joaquin Phoenix thanked the HFPA for “acknowledging the link between animal agriculture and climate change.” 

Other events have already made the move to go completely vegan. With meat and seafood still being served at the Oscars–albeit in smaller quantities–it begs the question of how committed the Academy really is to sustainability, or whether it’s a move to avoid missing out on a trend.


Lead image courtesy of Audrey Ma for Wolfgang Puck Catering.


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