Best Picture Popcorn

Brooklyn's Nitehawk Cinema shares their witty (and wildly delicious) popcorn recipes inspired by this year's Oscar nominees

Chef Michael Franey's best-picture-themed popcorns at Nitehawk Cinema. Photographed by Genevieve Garruppo
Chef Michael Franey's best-picture-themed popcorns at Nitehawk Cinema. Photographed by Genevieve Garruppo
Franey's The Usual popcorn, inspired by best-picture nominee Whiplash
Franey's The Usual popcorn, inspired by best-picture nominee Whiplash

Does anything complement a movie better than a bag of buttery popcorn? We think not, and neither does Nitehawk Cinema’s chef Michael Franey who’s charged with dreaming up witty, thematic pairings—whether it’s a custom cocktail or an apropos entrée—for the films that play at the Brooklyn theater. With the Academy Awards coming up this Sunday, we asked Franey to share his special recipes for some of the best picture nominees, including Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Whiplash. Each starts with basic, stove-popped popcorn (see the recipe below) and builds from there. Scroll down to get all of the details to make these Oscar party–worthy snacks at home and impress your cinephile friends while you’re at it.

STANDARD POPCORN (base for all recipes)

Ingredients: 
1 cup popcorn kernels
1 tablespoon oil

Directions:
Over medium high heat, heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot until smoking. Add in kernels and cover with a lid. Shake pot vigorously, when popping has almost stopped, remove from heat and pour into bowl.

The Usual: "We pulled this directly from the movie. It's what Andrew and his father order when they go to the movie theater in some of the first few scenes of Whiplash." Click here to get the recipe.
Birdseed: "I used Birdman, the movie's title, as an inspiration for this one—mixing warm fall spices with butter and seeds to recreate a pumpkin pie in popcorn form." Click here to get the recipe.

Exceptional Service: "What is more opulent than truffles? When I saw the scenery and the grandeur of The Grand Budapest Hotel's sets, this is what came to my mind. Truffle butter and a mix of powdered citric acid and salt is tossed with the popcorn and creates a whole different kind of flavor profile." Click here to get the recipe.
Ol' Ball Game: "One of the key scenes in Boyhood is when Ethan Hawke takes the kids to the baseball game. What is more classic then some Cracker Jack? I start with a delicious caramel popcorn, then turn it into our version of Cracker Jacks by adding spices and more then just peanuts— some cashews, almonds and brasil nuts." Click here to get the recipe.

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