Oscar Party Diary: Inside the Dolby Theatre, Governors Ball, Elton John's Fundraiser, Fox's Soiree and More

George Clooney at the Governors Ball
George Clooney at the Governors Ball
 Gettty Images

Even before the final Oscar was handed out Sunday night -- to Argo, which won best picture -- Hollywood was already out celebrating.

From the Night of 100 Stars party to the Governors Ball, The Hollywood Reporter catches all the action from Hollywood's hottest Sunday Oscar fetes:

PHOTOS: Oscar Red Carpet Arrivals

10 a.m.: Liam Neeson starts his day with brunch at Culina. 

12:45 p.m.: Alan Arkin struts through Culina wearing khaki pants and a black zip-up, seemingly unfazed about the events ahead.

4:45 p.m.: As hordes of guests file into the theater, the staff is madly steam-cleaning the carpet in the main foyer of the lobby on the first floor of the Dolby Theatre. Apparently, the bathroom flooded -- just as guests started arriving inside from the red carpet.

5:45 p.m.: At the Elton John AIDS Foundation viewing party in West Hollywood, Jim Carrey (wearing enormous prosthetic fake feet as a gag), Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler sit together and hold court all night. Among the celebrities who come up to say hello and hang out are Heidi Klum, Ian Somerhalder, Miley Cyrus, Gordon Ramsay (who designed the evening’s menu), Jane Lynch and Matthew Morrison.

5:57 p.m.: At the Night of 100 Stars party, Marty Ingels arrives in a wheelchair carrying a sign that reads "The Jewish FDR," trailed by his wife, actress Shirley Jones, a 1961 best supporting actress Oscar winner for Elmer Gantry.

6:22 p.m.: Zero Dark Thirty producer Megan Ellison is seen milling about the Dolby Theatre lobby sipping what looks like a vodka tonic. She's wearing a black suit jacket and black pants. She takes the elevator to the third floor with a male friend.

6:23 p.m.: Actor Ben Falcone wanders the lobby sipping whiskey by himself, while wife Melissa McCarthy presents animation awards with Paul Rudd.

6:24 p.m.: Zero Dark Thirty writer and director Mark Boal and Kathryn Bigelow (she is sipping champagne) chat intimately while nearby Sony Pictures Classics co-president Michael Barker is glued to the screen showing the Bond movie tribute. “OK, I get to have one drink before I have to get back inside for the best foreign film category,” Barker says of his entry Amour, which would go on to win.

6:26 p.m.: Just feet away, The Master nominees and co-stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman (best supporting actor) and Joaquin Phoenix (best actor) hug near the bar, and Hoffman helps deflect some reporters’ questions for Phoenix.

6:30 p.m.: 20th Century Fox TV co-chair Gary Newman is seen milling about the second-floor bar.

6:35 p.m.: Nominated Silver Linings Playbook writer-director David O. Russell chats with his The Fighter producer and Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh for nearly an hour inside the Dolby Lounge just off of the main lobby.

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6:40 p.m.: Bigelow and Boal are still glued to the lobby monitors as the second best picture package airs, showing their film.

6:42 p.m.: Fox Searchlight president Nancy Utley chats with her husband and friends inside the bar.

6:46 p.m.: Ellison re-emerges in the lobby, holding the hand of a brunette woman wearing a similar black-suit ensemble. The two enter the show together.

6:50 p.m.: Phoenix and his sister Rain leave the theater for a bathroom break.

6:51 p.m.: Last year’s best actor winner, Jean Dujardin (The Artist), mills about the lobby sipping champagne -- alone -- while standing near a group of 20 seat-fillers watching a larger monitor on which Catherine Zeta-Jones performs music from Chicago. “It’s very exciting to be here again,” he says, before depositing his glass on a nearby tray.

6:53 p.m.: Academy chief Dawn Hudson -- wearing a bright bronze top and orange skirt -- shakes hands and hugs friends.

6:55 p.m.: At Night of 100 Stars, past Oscar winners and nominees include Martin Landau, Bruce Davison, Michael Lerner, Don Murray, Seymour Cassel and Lou Gossett.

7:05 p.m.: Presenter and former Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon hugs her Walk the Line friend and co-star Phoenix near the bar.

7:07 p.m.: Hoffman and his young son take a bathroom break together.

7:28 p.m.: Harvey Weinstein briefly leaves the theater, speaks to a brunette woman and goes back inside.

7:30 p.m.: The Kardashians are in the house for Elton John: Kourtney, Khloe and Kim. The latter wore one of the weekend’s hot colors: white. Guests Miley Cyrus and Kelly Osbourne are also in the non-color. The K clan is sitting at a table with Molly SimsScott Stuber, Kyle MacLachlan and Desiree Gruber.

7:38 p.m.: The Invisible War director Kirby Dick (who lost best documentary to Searching for Sugar Man) wanders the Dolby Theatre lobby with a male friend, laughing.

7:40 p.m.: Universal co-chair Donna Langley, Isla Fisher and her husband, Les Mis actor Sacha Baron Cohen, mingle and drink in the Dolby Lounge.

7:41 p.m.: Paramount chair Brad Grey mills about the lobby.

PHOTOS: The Best Red Carpet Gowns

7:42 p.m.: Animated feature nominee Tim Burton -- arm still in a sling -- chats with partner and Les Mis star Helena Bonham Carter in the lobby.

7:43 p.m.: Actor Justin Theroux says hello to ABC correspondent Lara Spencer inside the Dolby Lounge.

7:54 p.m.: Jeremy Renner and Ang Lee leave the theater in sequence (but not together) for a break.

8 p.m.: McCarthy and Falcone get some whiskey at the bar. She orders her drink alongside Tommy Lee Jones. “I was trying very hard not to stare at him,” she admits, giggling.

8:25 p.m.: Best original score winner Mychael Danna (Life of Pi) high-fives Focus Features CEO James Schamus, and they hug. Danna goes to the bar and orders a beer. He takes a sip and says, “I don’t think beer is going to do it. I need a shot; something that will work faster!” The two men catch up, and Danna is overheard saying, “Yeah, I’m unemployed as of today.”

9:05 p.m.: The show is over, and people file out of the lobby into the street and Governors Ball entrance. Russell says he was just grateful to be at the show. “I’m happy to be here, very happy just to be here,” he says.

9:10 p.m.: Elton John and David Furnish play clips of the Oscar-nominated film How to Survive a Plague. “Ladies and gentlemen, activism works. That’s why I love this film, and that’s why this film is so important,” John says, going on to tell the crowd about the need for syringe access, youth education and improved policies for HIV-positive prisoners.

9:21 p.m.: Sotheby’s auctioneer Jamie Niven, son of the late actor David Niven, begins the live auction at the Elton John AIDS Foundation viewing party by noting the 2013 Oscars as “the 40th anniversary of the year my father got streaked when he was introducing Elizabeth Taylor.”

9:35 p.m.: At Elton John's party, Chelsea Handler and Dave Grohl are among a handful of people bidding up the price of a five-night stay at the Maui vacation home of Steven Tyler. Handler and Grohl drop out just before the bidding ends at $250,000. “It’s so secluded you can walk around naked for five days and no one would bust you,” Tyler says. The night nets a record $6 million.

9:40 p.m.: Barbra Streisand enters the Governors Ball and is offered an appetizer plate. "What's that?" she asks and moves on.

9:43 p.m.: Stuntman-turned-director Hal Needham, who received an honorary award at the Governors Awards and was acknowledged during the broadcast, slipped outside the Governors Ball for a smoke. "I had to sit there in the theater from 4:30 to 9 without a drink or a cigarette," he said. "The way I like to watch the Oscars is on my couch at home."

9:45 p.m.: Shawn Christensen, winner for live-action short film for Curfew, gets his Oscar engraved at the Governors Ball.

9:57 p.m.: Governors Ball attendees stand in awe of the triple chocolate fountain.

10:13 p.m.: Adele and Howard Stringer exchange cheek-kiss pleasantries at the Governors Ball.

10:18 p.m.: George Clooney is spotted with his Argo Oscar at the Governors Ball.

10:20 p.m.: Academy president Hawk Koch welcomes the crowd at the Governors Ball. He announces that he thought host Seth MacFarlane did a "helluva job" as host and introduces singer Michael Feinstein as the featured entertainment.

10:30 p.m.: Winners Christoph Waltz and Lee cross paths at the engraving station at the Governors Ball, both waiting for their names to be etched into their Oscars. Waltz grabs a champagne and toasts with agent Adam Schweitzer.

10:40 p.m.: Ben Affleck and wife Jennifer Garner greet well-wishers at the Argo table at the Governors Ball. Affleck's publicist fends off a journalist who had written some negative pieces about the film. Affleck is clearly annoyed.

10:50 p.m.: Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy's first vice president, and her husband, producer Stanley Isaacs, sit surveying the crowd. "It was incredibly entertaining," she says of the show. "And I thought Seth was just perfect — youthful, funny, and, god, he can sing."

11 p.m.: At the Governors Ball, Warner Bros. motion picture group president Jeff Robinov tells THR of Argo's win for best picture: "It's a huge win. We're so proud of Ben and the film."

11:11 p.m.: Flight writer John Gatins tells THR that Quentin Tarantino found him at the Governors Ball to tell him his movie is a classic ’70s-style drama.

11:15 p.m.: Oscar show producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan accept congratulations at the Governors Ball from Daniel Radcliffe, who was featured in the night's opening number. Zadan is asking well-wishers how they think the show went. "We were backstage with Seth the whole time and couldn't see what the reaction was," he says. "But we were aware that there were several standing ovations. I'm really proud of Seth. He was a dream to work with." Zadan then compares the Herculean task of mounting an Oscar show to "putting on the biggest Broadway show with no rehearsal period, and your opening night is also your closing night."

11:24 p.m.: The crowd is dying down at the Governors Ball, with the major winners already gone. The dessert bar remains, however.

11:45 p.m.: Danna says at the Fox party of his Oscar: "It's heavy. I pulled my back out carrying it around. But I'm not complaining!" His mother comes up and hugs him on the dance floor. Asked if she knew all along he'd wind up with an Oscar, she nods, beaming.

11:58 p.m.: Ang Lee hasn't yet arrived at the Fox party, but there is already one star at Lure nightclub: Quvenzhane Wallis is the belle of the ball, dancing to the hip-hop hit "Clique" with a large circle of onlookers cheering her on.

12:00 a.m.: Elizabeth Gabler, president of Fox 2000, who championed Life of Pi for years, says "it's a great night" to well-wishers at the event.

12:03 a.m.: Partygoers pass around Life of Pi cinematographer Claudio Miranda's Oscar statue for photo ops.

12:25 a.m.: Waaaaay past her bedtime, Wallis is still dancing her tiara off (with her mom) to Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Starting Something" at the Fox party. Her Beasts of the Southern Wild director Benh Zeitlin joins in, loosening his bowtie as he jumps up and down. Fox Searchlight's Utley dances nearby at her table as Life of Pi composer Danna plops his Oscar on the bar as he orders a drink. 

12:40 a.m.: After talking to the Chinese press, Ang Lee arrives at the Fox party with Life of Pi star Suraj Sharma and a huge entourage. He receives a rapturous reception on the last night of the Chinese new year. Much photo-taking ensues.

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