Oscars: How Actor Adam Shapiro’s Shappy Pretzel Co. Made It Inside Host Jimmy Kimmel’s Curated Food Boxes

When Jimmy Kimmel last hosted the Oscars in 2018, the TV vet made sure ticketed guests were prepared for the show to go long (as it typically does) by delivering curated “lunchboxes” packed with snacks under each seat inside the Dolby Theatre. Inside were gourmet chips, cookies, gummy bears, cookies and snack bars while the outside featured artwork from one of nine nominated best pictures.

As Kimmel returned to the Dolby on Sunday night for a third outing as host, he made sure the night was just as charming on the snacks front. He and his staff along with the Academy offered up another round of food boxes for the 2023 Oscars audience, expected to be at capacity of 3,400.

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The boxes — covered with a caricature of a bearded Kimmel holding an Oscar — featured Shappy Pretzel Co., eco-conscious aluminum bottles of Open Water, boxes of candy and another “handwritten” note from the host himself. “Isn’t this a nice surprise?” reads the slip of paper, along with the heads up of a charity element. “P.S. — A donation in my name has been made to the L.A. Regional Food Bank.” (It was a nice surprise for Oscars presenter Halle Bailey, who The Hollywood Reporter spotted cracking open a food box before showtime.)

While the boxes may have come as a welcome surprise to hungry Oscar attendees, two boldfaced names seated inside the Dolby definitely were not shocked.

Actor couple Adam Shapiro and Katie Lowes attended the ceremony thanks to Shapiro’s Shappy Pretzel Co. making the cut in Kimmel’s food boxes. The host is known to be a longtime fan of Shapiro’s soft pretzels that have become a phenomenon in Hollywood and beyond. In turn, they are huge fans of Kimmel after Lowes has appeared on the show multiple times, even announcing the couple’s two pregnancies on the weeknight talk show.

Shapiro, who hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, launched the company in 2020 after a pandemic cooking experiment took off and kept rolling thanks to the popularity of his doughy delectables. In short: Shapiro just missed his hometown’s speciality so much that he started making them himself before offering up batches to friends and soft pretzel-lovers via social media.

Soon, there was a demand that skyrocketed, and in the past two years, he’s steered a Shappy Pretzel Co. expansion that includes catering (movie and TV sets, wrap parties and bar-mitzvahs have come calling), in-store availability at Diamond Bakery on Fairfax Avenue and the just-added online sales option with Gold Belly. He’s also made up many a batch for the staff at Kimmel’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Shapiro and Lowes even offered up a “soft” launch of the food box news while walking the champagne-colored carpet at Sunday’s Oscars and posing with Shappy Pretzels while Shapiro also showed off his custom pretzel-shaped cufflinks. Beyond keeping Oscar attendees full and happy, he tells THR that they are just stoked to be making it to Hollywood’s biggest night.

Katie Lowes and Adam Shapiro attend the 95th Annual Academy Awards on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California.
Katie Lowes, in 1997 Donna Karan from the Albright Fashion Library, and Adam Shapiro, in Tom Ford, Mr. Porter and custom pretzel-shaped cufflinks by BadCrumble FX, pose on the carpet ahead of the 95th Academy Awards on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood.

“I’ve always said that the pretzels and the acting are all part of the same train that continues to move forward,” explains the actor, known for work in such projects as Mank, The Good Lord Bird, Never Have I Ever and the upcoming The Continental opposite Mel Gibson. (He was also hoping that his most recent big screen effort, Maria Schrader’s She Said, would make it to the Oscar dance.) “And it’s funny that the pretzels got to the Oscars before I did. And Katie loves it, she said, ‘I love how our first Oscars is going to be because of the pretzels.”

Not that either are complaining. It’s just another blessing on this dough-filled journey that includes nine full-time employees and a future that is still being written.

“This is just the coolest because the film industry is why Shappy Pretzel Co. survived. They were the ones ordering pretzels to sets and out of last year’s Oscars, I think we catered six out of the 10 nominees so there will be a lot of people sitting in those seats at the Dolby on Sunday that will be like, ‘Oh wow, Shappy Pretzels!'” explains Shapiro. “It’s been such an insane ride and I just continue to let the universe kind of take it where it wants to go.”

Who knows, maybe a pretzel could even make it to the podium tonight.

The Oscars are taking place at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood and will air live coast to coast on ABC starting at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET.

See the star-studded Oscars red carpet arrivals.

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