5:44am PT by Scott Feinberg
Oscar Fav 'Argo' Attracts Massive Turnout of Movie and Media A-Listers in New York
Just one night after Lincoln dominated the New York film scene, one of its chief rivals for the best picture Oscar arrived on the east coast and had a huge night of its own.
The Warner Bros. dramatic-thriller Argo -- which had its world premiere in Telluride last month and its U.S. premiere in Los Angeles last week, and will open nationwide on Friday -- had its first screenings in Gotham City on Tuesday evening. Two screenings of the film, which seemed to go over just as well here as they have everywhere else, were sandwiched around a dinner at the Columbus Circle hot-spot Porter House New York, so attendees either caught the flick before or after chowing down. All in all, the occasion, which was coordinated in partnership with The Peggy Siegal Company, drew an A-list crowd of movie stars and media personalities that was of a quality and quantity rarely matched at an east coast event of this sort.
In attendance on behalf of the film, which revolves around a little-known aspect of the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-1981, were co-producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov; director/star Ben Affleck; supporting actors Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, and Tate Donovan; and screenwriter Chris Terrio.
They were joined, from the Hollywood side of things, by Matt Damon, Affleck's childhood best friend with whom he wrote Good Will Hunting (1997) and won an Oscar 15 years ago; Wall Street compadres Oliver Stone and Michael Douglas, who chatted together in a booth; Glenn Close; Barry Levinson, the Oscar-winning director whose horror film The Bay is now playing at the New York Film Festival; Bette Midler, who rarely hits the social circuit anymore; Girls stars Alex Karpovsky and Zosia Mamet; writer-director Oren Moverman; and actors Adam Arkin (Alan's son and Clooney's former costar on E.R.), Bob Balaban, Golden Age beauty Arlene Dahl, Peter Riegert, and Patrick Wilson.
Representing the New York media were former Nightline anchor Ted Koppel (archival footage of whom appears in Argo, alongside that of Diane Sawyer); NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams (who dined next to Clooney); The View co-host Barbara Walters; 60 Minutes reporters Steve Kroft and Bob Simon; ABC News reporters Dan Abrams, Cynthia McFadden, Brian Ross, and Bob Woodruff; CNBC's Jim Cramer; gossip columnist Liz Smith; and News Corporation advisor Joel Klein.
A few other guests didn't quite fall into either of the above categories, including rock star Sting and fashion mogul Tommy Hilfiger.