Round 1: Red carpet This year’s pre-show hosts are Sherri Shepherd, Entertainment Weekly editor Jess Cagle, and model Kathy Ireland. A pretty blah line-up, if you ask us. You’ll want to take a swig every time Sherri makes reference to her colossal boobs, Ireland plugs her business empire, or Cagle makes a reference that goes over the heads of his co-stars.
Round 2: Supporting actress If any of the worthy performers nominated for this award cries in her acceptance speech, drink until she stops — because it’s going to be a long night. If Mo’Nique wins and dedicates the award to fat girls everywhere, raise a glass in her honor.
Round 3: Supporting actor This is kind of a boring one in 2010. If Matt Damon wins, slur “Matt Damon” Team America-style and do a shot. If Woody Harrelson gets the Oscar, you may want to switch substances altogether.
Round 4: Lead actress Lots of people think Sandra Bullock may actually win Best Actress for her role in the upsettingly mediocre The Blind Side. If she beats out her stellar competition — Meryl Streep, Gabourey Sidibe, Carey Mulligan, and Helen Mirren — finish your drink.
Round 5: Lead actor Nominees Morgan Freeman and George Clooney have already won Supporting Actor honors in this decade. If either snags a second trophy, take two sips. And if Jeff Bridges gets it, pay tribute to his iconic Big Lebowski performance and quaff a White Russian for The Dude.
Round 6: Animated film Pixar is batting .500 in this category, and Up may well be their most appealing film yet. In the unlikely event that they lose, raise your glass to the underdogs.
Round 7: Documentary This year’s documentaries are so serious and depressing that you’ll want to start drinking when the presenter begins to read the nominees and not stop until the winner’s speech is over.
Round 8: Foreign-language film A few of the foreign-language film hopefuls come from countries that have never won an Oscar before. Drink if first-time nominee Peru lands a statue for The Milk of Sorrow, and finish your glass if Israel — the Susan Lucci of the Academy Awards, with 8 nominations and no wins — clinches the victory with Ajami.
Round 9: Director For heaven’s sake: If Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first woman ever to win a directing award, pour a champagne toast (preferably recent nominee Sofia Coppola’s canned variety) in her honor. If, however, the Oscar goes to her overconfident ex, James Cameron, drown your sorrows in something harder. Take an extra sip for every Na’vi word he sneaks into his speech.
Round 10: Picture Tailor your drink choice to whichever film wins For Avatar: Something with Blue Curaçao For The Hurt Locker: A good, old American Bud for our boys in Iraq For An Education: A strong, British gin drink For The Blind Side: Natty Boh — a classy, Charm City beer in honor of Baltimore Ravens player Michael Oher, the film’s inspiration For Up: A virgin daiquiri — and one for the kids For Inglourious Basterds: German hefeweizen For A Serious Man: Manischewitz For Up in the Air: Scotch. That’s what businessmen drink, right? For Precious: A dark and stormy, in homage to its protagonist’s difficult life For District 9: The creepy-sounding but undoubtedly delicious Alien Secretion. Don’t know how to make it? No worries: There’s a video tutorial.
Bonus round: After party Just about every star is trashed in their Academy Awards exit interview. But you know who’s usually the farthest gone? Frequent nominee and grand dame Meryl Streep. If you’re not as drunk as she looks by the end of the night, keep chugging till you get there.