Sprue Stories: The Oscars 2014 Edition (86th Academy Awards nominees gone gluten-free, with viewing party menu ideas)

Roll out the red carpet, because it’s time for a new Academy Award! The Oscars are this weekend, and I’ve been anticipating them with all the fervor you’d expect from someone who has only seen three of the nine Best Picture nominees (plus the animated shorts) and would be hard pressed to name one out of every twenty gown- or tux-clad stars walking that carpet on Sunday . . . but loves any opportunity to make a ton of themed snacks.

Oscars red carpet and stairs

Lovely, though my celiac-induced eyesight problems seem to be acting up again. (Yeah, it’s really a thing, though probably not for me.)
Photo © Rachel | Flickr

By the way, I’m a bit disappointed with the blogosphere this year. I didn’t expect much—only enough gluten-free, vegetarian, not-too-hard recipes inspired by the Oscars 2014 nominees to fill out my menu without me having to come up with anything brilliant on my own—but alas, everyone must be busy, I don’t know, watching movies. (I did find a punny list on Chowhound, and a not-very-special-diet-friendly set of menus on Epicurious.)

I don’t have a full menu plan for you either, but I do have what I’m sure you’ve been anticipating as eagerly as those incredibly overengineered and overpriced envelopes: the first annual Academy Award for Best Gluten-Free Picture.

The award, of course, recognizes the film best suited to being stuffed full of celiac in-jokes in a parody on my blog. It’s an honor few filmmakers will receive in the course of their career, primarily because I don’t watch enough movies.

The nominees, coincidentally, are identical to the Best Picture nominees. Cue the elaborate montage sequence, and let’s take a look. [Note: Light spoilers throughout.]


American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street, so far as I can tell from trailers, are the exact same movie. The lead characters in each would likely find their glitzy lifestyles somewhat curtailed by a celiac diagnosis. In other news, Jennifer Lawrence—nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her work in American Hustle—probably doesn’t have celiac disease, because her upper-intestine endoscopy came back clear, but she does get an award for being the celebrity most forthcoming about her bowel issues (with Tyra Banks as a close runner-up).


Gravity doesn’t have much to do with food—though as much as we gluten-free people may complain about our food options, they’re surely better than what astronauts get stuck with—but if you want to escape cross-contamination for good, your options are pretty limited to outer space.


Nebraska, I have a feeling, would be much more cheery if the main character had given up alcohol (and gluten) to take care of stomach problems earlier in life. He’d be happy enough to stay in his own state with gluten-free corn aplenty, and most of the movie would probably never have happened. 

[3/1 Edit: I started watching Nebraska last night and realized my skimming of the plot summary put me off track. The father’s not from Nebraka, but rather trying to escape his wheat-growing state of Montana to find refuge in the Cornhusk State. This would make the movie a neater fit for GF Best Picture, except that I disliked it so much I didn’t watch more than twenty minutes.]


Dallas Buyers Club focuses on AIDS, and although heavy, is certainly also “darkly humorous,” which is how I’m convincing myself it’s okay to include it in my roundup. In a GF rendition, Matthew McConaughey’s character would be told he had at least 14,600 days left to live, but 0 gluten left to eat. Facing the food options available to the gluten-free community in the eighties, he just might get involved in a risky scheme to smuggle gluten-free baked goods into the country from more enlightened locales. His desperate celiac fellows would literally eat it up.


Philomena is all about Ireland, and—as I’ve previously discussed—celiac disease is often (wrongly?) associated with the Emerald Isle. AIDS makes an appearance in this movie, too, but I am not about to compare celiac disease to AIDS, even if they are both autoimmune. However, if Phil’s son had turned out to have celiac disease instead, our plucky protagonist would have had a somewhat less exciting human interest story, and the movie a much happier ending.


12 Years a Slave—I haven’t seen this, but I know it’s another sad one. In the one food scene I’ve heard about, the main character Northup eats meat, johnnycake, and blackberries—and since johnnycake is often made entirely of cornmeal, that’s a naturally gluten-free meal. (Epicurious came through with a menu inspired by this scene, though with wheat flour in the johnnycakes. Way to ruin everything.)


Captain Phillips had a pretty tough time during the 2009 hijacking of his ship by Somali pirates. That said, like most things, getting kidnapped by pirates would definitely be even worse with celiac disease. Along with being terrified, wounded, and disoriented, you’d probably have a bad stomachache from the food scraps they gave you.


Her is my favorite for the win. I’ve seen it, for one thing, and for another, it’s obvious that the real reason Theodore and Catherine divorced was food. Theo went gluten-free, Catherine didn’t, and they grew apart. Happens all. The. Time. (All those sad, lonely meals we watch him eat in his living room? My celiac heart totally went out.)

Luckily, computers don’t need to eat, so Theodore was able to skip over the Gluten Free Singles stage of his life and start dating someone who suited him immediately. Yes, yes, I know there’s a scene where Samantha—his “girlfriend”—makes him get a slice of pizza, but come on. She’s an operating system. If anyone knows where to find wheat-free pizza by the slice, it’s her.


And the Oscar goes to . . . you tell me! Which of the Best Picture nominees have you seen, and which was your favorite?

large gold Oscars/Academy Awards statue on truck

This Oscars statue is recovering from a rather bad glutening. Hope he’ll be ready for the festivities.
Photo © Rachel | Flickr

Menuwise, Sprue Jr. and I are leaning towards a black and white theme (as in tuxedos, which make an appearance in several of the nominated films, not to mention in the live audience at the ceremony).

We’ll have chocolate-drizzled popcorn, black bean dip with white chips, white bean dip with black chips, and whatever else the spirit moves us to make—including, possibly, gluten-free black and white cookies a la Lisa Horel’s Nosh on This and my mom. I also really, really want to make these “evil nun” cake pops in honor of Philomena, but sis says they’d be too hard.

Are you hosting or attending a viewing party? What are you making?

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14 thoughts on “Sprue Stories: The Oscars 2014 Edition (86th Academy Awards nominees gone gluten-free, with viewing party menu ideas)

  1. cav513 says:

    Well, I hadn’t even realized this was the weekend for the Academy Awards, but I probably see fewer movies than you do. However, it is Carnival weekend so there is no end to the foods you could find for a Carnival/Oscar mash-up.
    And while most people don’t look forward to it, Lent starts Wednesday, so Chez Cavanaugh will be going mostly vegan til Easter. But before Lent, we have to hurry up and use our dairy and eggs.

    While next week is jumping ahead, here’s a recipe for Mardi Gras (aka “Pancake Tuesday”) for the GF crowd; mom and I had this a few nights ago).

    Baked Apple Buckwheat Pancake
    1 Cup Buckwheat flour
    1 Cup Millet flour
    1 tsp salt
    2 tsp baking powder
    2 Apples (thinly sliced)
    1/3 cup oil
    2 eggs
    3/4 cup milk (or almond milk, etc.)

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    Slice the apples thinly. the wide slicer on the side of a box grater works great for this. You can leave the skin on

    Combine the dry ingredients and blend thoroughly. Add apples, mix, then add oil/eggs/milk. Stir until well combined then pour into a greased 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet. Bake in preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes.

    We slathered this with apple butter, but maple syrup, agave, honey or sorghum syrup would work just as well. As did sour cream on the slightly drier leftovers the next night.

    • Molly says:

      Thanks for the recipe! We have tutoring on Tuesdays and get home late, so if we do celebrate we may stick with a stovetop pancake or crepe recipe rather than wait for the oven to preheat. But this definitely sounds like something to try soon.

      I’m actually doing a version of Lent for Atheists this year and giving up alcohol again for a while (though I started early, in mid February, and might finish early, on April 1st). Giving up a vice or two a few times a year is not a bad thing for any of us!

  2. Your black and white menu sounds tasty to me! I’m all in for American Hustle to win best picture because it’s the only one on the list I’ve seen…

    • Molly says:

      And was it good? You know, we almost rented that on Amazon last night to watch, but we went for Nebraska instead—not a good choice, because we hated it. Actually have no idea how it got nominated. But I guess that’s why I’m not in the Academy.

      • Glad to know about Nebraska because I wanted to see it. Now will avoid – thank you! I thought American Hustle was great – especially the actors. A bonus was all of the fabulous fashions from the time. It’s a safe rent next movie night!

        • Molly says:

          Good to know! After watching the show, the only films we really think of as must-sees are American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave. Gravity…….not interested.

  3. Mary Kate says:

    I have officially seen none of these. But then, I’ve seen only two movies that came out last year.

    Mint chocolate chip coconut milk ice cream is remarkably black and white …

    • Molly says:

      Philomen, Her, and Dallas Buyers Club are worth seeing (though all very heavy). I’ve had that ice cream, too. You’re right, very black and white. Weird, because I think it should be green…but I guess that’s just food coloring usually?

  4. Laurie C says:

    Maybe your next blog post should be about why people who have to be on a gluten-free diet don’t go to movies. Too many shots of people eating gluten-containing foods? No time to watch anything over an hour at one sitting because food prep takes too long? Too much of a risk that someone might sit beside you and eat a hotdog? Safer to wait for the movies to show up on Netflix!

    • Molly says:

      Too much of a bummer to feel like the popcorn, though it should be naturally gluten-free, is too big of a risk! (Though actually movie theater popcorn is pretty gross anyway, when you think about it, whether you’re gluten-free or not…even if it is tasty.)

  5. So creative as always, Molly. :) I haven’t seen any of the movies (I’m not really a movie girl) but I like Mathew Mc so I hope he and his movie win.

    • Molly says:

      He did a great job in the movie (he really transformed into a whole new person), so I wouldn’t mind if he won either! Thanks for the comment. :)

  6. jsherwin2013 says:

    Molly, For a gluten-free recipe go to my latest post on heart health and scroll to the end for my pesto recipe. It doesn’t fit your black and white theme, but it may be useful on St. Patrick’s Day.

Your turn!

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