THR was on the scene at all the A-List events giving detailed accounts of what's going on inside the hottest Oscar parties.
Film stars and network execs took over the red carpets leading up to Sunday night's 90th annual Academy Awards. The Hollywood Reporter's team went past the velvet rope to take you inside this year's hottest Oscar parties (see the complete party guide here).
Below is a rundown of all the action.
Party: Vanity Fair Oscar Party 2018
Players: Hosted by recently installed editor Radhika Jones, there were winners (Jordan Peele, Gary Oldman, Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Allison Janney, Bryan Fogel, Kobe Bryant, Sebastiàn Lelio, James Ivory, Roger Deakins); nominees (Greta Gerwig, Timothee Chalamet, Margot Robbie, Willem Dafoe, Daniel Kaluuya, Octavia Spencer, Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon, Richard Jenkins, Saoirse Ronan, Rachel Morrison); previous winners (Emma Stone, Halle Berry, Jared Leto); family members (Zoe Kravitz and Lisa Bonet; Grace and Mamie Gummer; Quincy and Rashida Jones; Danny and Jack Huston); couples (Matt Bomer and Simon Halls; Sarah Paulson and Holland Taylor; Armie Hammer and Elizabeth Chambers; Francois-Henri Pinault and Salma Hayek; Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fischer; Emma Roberts and Evan Peters; Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde; Zendaya and Tom Holland; Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann); activists (Tarana Burke, Monica Lewinsky, DeRay McKesson, Cecile Richards, Janet Mock, Patrisse Cullors); moguls (James Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch, Jeff Bezos, Robert Kraft, Robert Iger, Anne Wojcicki, Bill McGlashan, Ron Meyer, Jon Feltheimer, Scott Stuber, Jim Gianopulos, Alan Horn, Donna Langley, Paul Allen); creators (Shonda Rhimes, J. J. Abrams, Brian Grazer, Ava DuVernay, Damian Chazelle, Michael Mann, Luca Guadagnino, Sean Baker); and supermodels (Naomi Campbell, Joan Smalls, Kate Upton, Adriana Lima, Martha Hunt, Alessandra Ambrosio, Taylor Hill, Jasmine Tookes, Stella Maxwell, Toni Garrn, Sara Sampaio, Cami Morrone, Heidi Klum, Nina Agdal, Ashley Graham).
Place: A custom-designed space (by Basil Walter, Brenda Bello, Ayvind Kalrsen of BW Architects) that connects the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts with Beverly Hills City Hall in the 90210.
Spread: Chef Thomas Keller and the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group — back for a fifth year — handled the menu for the viewing dinner which included avocado Louie, dover sole, ricotta and crème fraiche gnudi and chocolate gateau followed by roasted beef ribeye sandwich, gulf shrimp cocktail and Vegas fava bean hummus tartelettes for the reception after dinner. But really, during the late night party scene, it was all about the buttermilk fried chicken bites, French fries, mini corn dogs and the two ever-hot Vanity Fair Oscar party classics — In-N-Out burgers, and Bouchon's mini sugar donuts. But what about the booze? Stars toasted with Dom Perignon (vintage 2009), Peroni beer, and specialty cocktails by Belvedere and Johnnie Walker Black Label. The latter include the Lady Jane, using Johnnie Walker Black Label the Jane Walker Edition, with elderberry soda, ginger beer and fresh lemon; Oscar's Dram and the Ruby Mule with Belvedere vodka, lime juice, angostura bitters and ginger beer. One more cocktail: Volcan De Mi Tierra served a Paloma using Blanco, grapefruit, lime and soda.
Inside Dish: There is such a thing as being in the right place at the right time, but at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, every moment is like a little gift from the party gods. Or goddesses.
That's probably the word that Frances McDormand would prefer, but she'd settle for a hero in Fox Searchlight publicist Barry Dale Johnson. After McDormand's Oscar was briefly stolen during the Governors Ball (by a man who was arrested on felony charges), it was Johnson who hand delivered the statue to her at Vanity Fair just after midnight when McDormand was in the thick of revelry -- and a bucket of chicken bites.
More on McDormand and gifts of the cigarette variety later, but after landing inside the VIP scene at 11:15 p.m., THR first caught up with Radhika Jones, making her first Vanity Fair Oscar party appearance after taking over both the editorship and party hosting duties from outgoing boss, the legendary Graydon Carter.
Jones, who could pass for a supermodel thanks to her runway-ready height and a dress by Prabal Gurung, looked relaxed. Some might even say elegantly chill for being the boss in a room stacked with Hollywood bosses. Over her shoulder, Zoe Kravitz snaps a pic of her mother Lisa Bonet with a Broadway boss, Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Though some people do actually dance at this party (in the Apple Music lounge featuring beats by DJs Zane Lowe, Charli XCX and Kaytranada), you're much more likely to see a famous person taking a photo with another famous person. Or a famous person (Halsey) bump into a photographer (unnamed) who is taking a picture of another famous person (Hari Nef). Also common: Seeing a famous person introduced to a boldfaced name, like when THR witnessed Emily Blunt introducing Miranda to CAA partner Kevin Huvane. Miranda shook hands, then used his other hand to grab an In-N-Out burger.
Faye Dunaway didn't look to have any burgers on her table where she was posted up in a lengthy conversation with agent Chris Andrews. But she did look to be enjoying herself on a night when she and Warren Beatty completed a clean sequel to presenting best picture. Just as Andrews led Dunaway to another section of the party, the duo passed by Olympians Mirai Nagasu and Adam Rippon.
Nagasu was clutching her shoes and walking barefoot through the party, following Rippon who was being introduced to Shawn Mendes. "May I have a photo," Rippon asked the pop star. The two posed for a quick pic as Nagasu told THR that their first Oscars outing has been surreal. And they were hoping to close it out with a real Cinderella ending.
"If we could get invited to Beyoncé or Madonna's party that would be amazing," she said with a smile, referring to the two other major after parties of the night belonging (actually) to Jay Z and Madonna with Guy Oseary. With no major controversies to dissect (aside from the Oscar thief news, which had yet to break here by this point), most party chatter centered on the night's agenda, as well as Vanity Fair's RSVP list. "It feels like a new party this year," said one veteran attendee. "Young, hip, diverse — like the show."
Back to McDormand.
She wouldn't have any trouble getting into either Jay or Madge's respective parties, not only because of her resume but also thanks to the way she navigates through a line. After greeting her rep Simon Halls and his husband Matt Bomer (as he's mid-bite into a burger), the best actress winner darts through the terrace, passing by Laurel Canyon costar Kate Beckinsale ("Congratulations!" Beckinsale shouts), the Hustons, Colin Hanks and even Jon Hamm. McDormand's destination? The bar where she asks the white jacket-clad tender if he has any tequila. "Of course," he answers, and as he pours a glass of Volcan De Mi Tierra on the rocks, McDormand notices another gift from the Vanity Fair party pros at just the right moment.
"You have American Spirits?" she says, reaching for a pack of freebies on the bar next to Marlboro Reds and Lights. She takes out a metal cigarette holder and restocks it with the pack of free cigs. Tequila in hand, McDormand looks up and offers a "cheers" to THR as she takes a sip. Just then, a female guest gets up the guts to rush the two-time Academy Award winner by saying, "Congratulations! I love you! You inspire me."
"I'm old. That's my job," McDormand says without missing a beat. Their convo is interrupted by Willem Dafoe who has just arrived. McDormand hugs The Florida Project star tightly and then tugs at his arm to walk over and meet her son who is standing with husband Joel Coen.
Back inside, French Montana took Mary J. Blige by the arm to send her towards Diddy, who has also just arrived with a large entourage including Naomi Campbell. Michael Jackson blares over the speakers as Drake is locked in a close conversation with Tiffany Haddish. The Girls Trip star, who had yet another breakout night, bounced around the bash, and at one point photo bombed a photo Icarus winner Bryan Fogel was taking of a friend holding his Oscar. "I'll get home when I get home," laughs Fogel to THR. "I have no bedtime tonight."
Coco winner Adrian Molina also revealed that he didn't have any plans to sleep any time soon even if parts of his night still sort of felt like a dream. "That was a trip to meet Adam Rippon," Molina gushed.
In a room full of movie stars and moguls, the breakout athletes of last month's Winter Olympics — Rippon, Nagasu, Gus Kenworthy and Lindsay Vonn — seemed like the main attraction. "To come from the world stage in an area of my life that I know very well to a completely different kind of world stage, is surreal and amazing," a Ralph Lauren-clad Kenworthy tells THR. After Vanity Fair, he and boyfriend Matthew Wilkas (accompanied by publicist Nicole Wool, who also worked with Bryant on his Oscar winning short Dear Basketball) were heaed to host Jimmy Kimmel's late night bash. But not before hanging out with Ricky Martin. "He posted about me on Instagram, so I'm looking forward to spending some time with him."
Minutes later, a crowd formed near the main exit as flash bulbs lit up the midnight sky. "Yeah!" yelled an excited reveler as Diddy, Naomi Campbell, Mary J. Blige and Bryant all posed together with a giant entourage. As the group made their way toward Santa Monica Boulevard (where a crush of stars stood in front of a tent where Vanity Fair hosted an Uber stand and even electric getaway bikes courtesy of Genesis), fans across the street zeroed in on Blige. "Mary J.! Mary J.! Mary J.! I love you!" screamed a Blige superfan.
Over her shoulder under the tent, Oscars performer Andra Day exclaimed that she had no love for her stilettos. "I hate them so much!" she sighed to Betty Gabriel and two female friends, all of whom were seated on the sofa waiting on a ride. In the far corner, hiding out from plain sight of fans on the street, were Zendaya and Holland who were locked in a serious-yet-affectionate-looing conversation. Just then, Diddy, Campbell, Blige and friends jumped in a giant black SUV, off into the night, heading towards West Hollywood where Bey and Jay were waiting.
Party: Oscars' Governors Ball
Players: More than 1,500 guests from the Dolby Theater poured into the Ray Dolby Ballroom upstairs from the actual show at the Hollywood and Highland complex, including presenters (Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd), ex-US Senator and ex-MPAA chief Chris Dodd who arrived early, plus nominees such as Diane Warren — who lost best original song for the ninth time and was later applauded by fellow nominees for work with some saying they would like to team up on the next project — Timothee Chalamet and winners Kobe Bryant, Gary Oldman, James Ivory, Sam Rockwell and Frances McDormand, Jordan Peele, among others.
Place: A glistening gold-themed Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood and Highland was decked out in gold accents throughout the exclusive space.
Spread: Wolfgang Puck was back for this year's Governors Ball where he will prep 60 plates including his popular smoked salmon made in the shape of an Oscar, plus wagyu beef tartare on black rice, white asparagus soup topped with caviar, and black truffle chicken pot pie. Guests enjoyed a sushi bar, raw seafood station and caviar parfaits sprinkled with 24-karat gold — natch. Libations were served courtesy of limited-edition Oscar wines from Francis Ford Coppola Winery, plus Piper-Heidsieck champagne. Others sipped on tequila cocktails made by Don Julio mixologist Charles Joly and topped with edible flowers.
Chocolate Oscars at the Gov Ball. pic.twitter.com/MXNakdhtCS— Matthew Belloni (@THRMattBelloni) March 5, 2018
Inside Dish: As winners got their trophies engraved, others mixed and mingled while most of the room was set on congratulating the big winners of the night including Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri's Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and the Shape of Water cast including Richard Jenkins and director Guillermo del Toro.
I think I witnessed Gary Oldman accidentally dent his new Oscar on his way to having it engraved... pic.twitter.com/fD7dvUQtu3— Scott Feinberg (@ScottFeinberg) March 5, 2018
In response to online rumors that Tiffany Haddish should host with Maya Rudolph next year's Oscars, Haddish told THR, "Well I agree with those people!"
As he walked in, Oscar nominee Timothee Chalamet was crowded by a group of young female admirers. James Ivory made a bee-line to the food stations and sat for dinner, while using his Oscar as a table centerpiece.
The praises and well-wishers were all around — Sam Rockwell was congratulated by Richard Jenkins, a fellow nominee in his category and yet the spoke for a larger portion of the evening and Rockwell even allowed Jenkins to hold his trophy. Kobe and Roger Deakins congratulated each other. Bryant, who is the first person to have played in the NBA and won and Oscar, was first in line and in awe as he watched his statuette get engraved.
Party: Twentieth Century Fox & Fox Searchlight Picture
Players: Guillermo Del Toro, Andy Serkis, Alexandre Desplat, Barry Keoghan, Michael Stuhlbarg, Stacey Snider, Tommy Wiseau, Martin McDonaugh, Phoebe Waller Bridge
Spread: A full service taco bar (steak, chicken, mushroom), sushi platters with ahi tuna and california rolls, scallop skewers, bread pudding donuts with caramel sauce, cheesecake bites, French fries, and more
Inside Dish: Fox had a lot to celebrate on Sunday night in Hollywood. Between The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the studio pulled in big Oscars wins.
Three Billboards director Martin McDonaugh arrived at Tao with Fleabag creator and star Phoebe Waller Bridge, making the bar their first stop. The specialty drink of the evening was the Fox Fizz, which is cucumber vodka, sparkling water, cold pressed lime juice and mint.
Killing of a Sacred Deer actor Barry Keoghan (in the same outfit he wore to yesterday's Indie Spirit Awards) was in attendance at the Hollywood restaurant/lounge, which was playing a mix music, everything from Cardi B to Oasis to Jackson 5. The raging music was so loud that many chose to dance rather than chat.
Holding court at a table overlooking the dance floor was Andy Serkis, who told THR that he’s about six weeks from wrapping work on his directorial project Mowgli. Also at his table was Joe Letteri who worked on Apes and was nominated for visual effects and shared the booth.
Paul D. Austerberry, who won the Oscar for production design on Shape of Water, sat at a booth at the top of the party, posing for photos with his Oscar and the spending some time with his parents who had joined him for the show and party.
Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero, of The Room fame, were peppered with requests for photos and also asked J Miles Dale, producer of Shape of Water, for a photo. Dale, with Oscar in hand, brought his daughter as his guest for the night.
The man of the hour, Guillermo del Toro and his two Oscars finally arrived after midnight to a round of applause. It was a nonstop barrage of well wishers and fans who wanted to take photos with del Toro and his Oscar. Among them: Jordon Vogt-Roberts, who helmed Kong Skull Island, who took selfie with him. The director and his two Oscars were accommodating to every request.
While the majority of the Three Billboards gang, including Oscar winner Sam Rockwell and Frances McDormand, didn’t show up, it didn’t matter because del Toro, Dale and Doug Jones were each holding court at the packed event. Del Toro left about 30 minutes later among a flurry of camera flashes. On his way out, del Toro even went across the street to greet fans standing out in the cold. Mia Galuppo, Rebecca Ford, and Carolyn Giardina
Party: The Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party, sponsored by Bulgari and BBVA Compass. About 950 guests helped raised $5.9 million for EJAF.
Players: A New York City subway-like announcement boomed from speakers on the white carpet at about 2:45 p.m. warning press to get into place: “Please prepare for the arrival of Elton and David. They will be here in 15 minutes.”
Elton John and David Furnish appeared at 3 p.m. but after about a dozen television interviews, the Rocket Man retreated to a director’s chair just off the carpet because he was in pain from a recent “regeneration” procedure on his knee. “I’m 71,” he told The Hollywood Reporter as press in groups of five were escorted to John to complete his interviews. “I didn’t want to ignore you so It’s better that I sat down and saw you...I just couldn’t stand up.”
Shortly thereafter, the guests began trickling in at about 3:30 p.m. On the list? Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth, Ricky Martin, Heidi Klum, Judith Light, Don Lemon, Gladys Knight, Andie MacDowell, Sebastian Stan, Spike Lee, Robert Kraft, Elizabeth Perkins, Ryan Kwanten, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Justin Mikita, Jane Seymour, Joan Collins, Caitlyn Jenner, Bellamy Young and Darby Stanchfield. Janet Mock, who was one of the activists standing on stage during Common and Andra Day’s performance of "Rise Up" made an appearance as did Ross Matthews, Queer Eye star Tan France, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy alum Jai Rodriguez and the Disaster Artist himself Tommy Wiseau.
Place: An elaborate tent in West Hollywood Park divided into a main ballroom, two bar areas and a dancefloor with an enormous mirror disco ball.
Spread: Served during the Oscar telecast, which was projected on several large screens throughout the ballroom, a four-course dinner by chef Joan Roca of El Cellar de Can Roca in Girona, Spain included poularde cannelloni in a truffle source followed by vegetable soup. For the main course, guests were given the choice of sea bream in a chardonnay sauce with lemon, truffle and hazelnut gnocchi or filet mignon in red wine with olive oil mashed potatoes and veggies. Dessert was an orange chromatism. Later, a buffet of ropa vieja sliders, chicken sausage pastry rolls, flat bread, spinach and cheese empanandas, chicken meatballs and salt and pepper steak fries was offered in one of the two bar areas. Dessert trays featured fruit tarts, coconut cream tarts and Dulce de leche macarons. The cocktail menu included specialty drinks like The Beach, a mix of Chopin vodka, fresh pomegranate juice and infused pear juice with orange bitters and pear garnish. The wine selection was from Bertaud Beleu.
Inside dish: The tent where the main events (the viewing, auction and performances) was draped in black with large vases of red roses in the center of each table. John held court at a table in the center of the room at a table that included Lionel Richie, Cyrus, Hemsworth, Lemon and boyfriend Tim Malone, Martin and his artist husband Jwan Yosef. Lemon shared a pic on Instagram with the “Livin’ La Vida Loca” singer making silly faces with the caption, “Do I really have to sit next to Ricky Martin.”
Within about an hour, Cyrus was already wishing she had different shoes on. “These are f—king killing me,” she said. But she kept them on because she explained, “I always look too short next Liam.” Miley also plucked out some of the Bobby pins holding her hair in place because, she said, “there are driving me crazy.”
John took to the stage to welcome guests during the first commercial break of the Oscars. “We thank you guys,” he said. “We thank you all for supporting us and the foundation’s urgent work. It’s going to be a great night.”
Furnish told the crowd that they hoped everyone would make donations via a text to a special number set up for the event. Donor messages from the texts were displayed on the screens during later commercial breaks. “No one’s carded me yet!” read a message by Glee alum and best-selling author Chris Colfer. “Woo-hoo! $5000. Xo.”
A message later on from Cyrus said she was donating another $5,000 because she had a “drunken ‘spell check’” error in her original donation “Thanks Elton for all you do!” she also wrote. “#DontBeeCheap everybody. Donate! Love, Miley. Have Fun.”
Other commercial breaks included on-stage donation asks from Colfer, Lea Michele, Andie MacDowell, Eric McCormack and Judith Light. “Borrow money from the person next to you if you have to,” Billie Jean King said during one of the last commercial breaks.
Many didn’t pay much attention to the Oscars telecast although there were lots of applause and shouts for James Ivory’s win for best adapted screenplay for Call Me By Your Name and Jordan Peele’s win for best original screenplay. There was more than one “You go, girl” shouted when Francis McDormand gave her acceptance speech followed by a lot of people Googling “inclusion rider.”
Peter Fonda didn’t realize his sister Jane Fonda was presenting until he returned to his seat after a photographer took a photo of him with MacDowell and Jennifer Tilly.
Martin was taking a photo with Gus Kentworthy and his boyfriend when his husband jumped out of his seat and into the shot. Kentworthy was also spotted chatting with Michele and Colfer. Exes George Hamilton and Alana Stewart were walking through the ballroom but stopped to talk to attorney Robert Shapiro.
One male guest insisted to a table mate that he spotted Jackie Collins.
“You didn’t see Jackie Collins,” the table mate said.
“Yes, I did,” the man answered. When he was informed that he must have seen her sister Joan Collins because the novelist had passed away some time ago, he exclaimed, “Well, they look so much alike!”
Busy Philipps told The Hollywood Reporter that it’s not always easy going to the bathroom in evening gowns (she was wearing Christian Siriano). She recalled a story about an actress she wouldn’t name who would have her husband join her in the stall to hold a cup under her dress so she could relieve herself without having to worry about hiking up her gown.
Cyrus and Hemsworth left before the Oscars were even over.
When they show was over, a live auction was held with a Heber Ritts photo going for $25,000 and a Queen Elizabeth II portrait by artist Chris Levine selling for a whopping $270,000. A one-of-kind heart-shaped Lalique sculpture designed by John sold for $80,000. The final lot, two tickets to attend the legendary Vanity Fair Oscar later in the night with John and Furnish, took in $52,000.
This year’s live performance was by up-and-coming rock band Greta Van Fleet. “Whoever said rock was dead is completely wrong, John said, adding that he believes Greta Van Fleet “is going to be one of the biggest new bands this year.”
While John did join them to belt out his classic, “Saturday Night Alright,” more than a few guests wondered aloud why John chose such a hard-sounding rock group to be the night’s entertainment. “Remember when he had Grace Jones and Florence + The Machine?” one guest reminisced.
The evening was capped off by a dance party. Paulina Rubio danced to George Michael’s “Freedom” and a remix of Donna Summer’s MacArthur’s Park.
Kentworthy was also on the dance floor, but the Olympian wasn’t showing any fancy footwork. Instead, he chatted with friends and took selfies with fans.
“We hope that by the year 2030 — and I’ll be long in the ground by then — the disease will go away,” John said. “But I hope our sons will inherit our fundraising and philanthropy ideas. As long as I could stand up and breath or sit down and breath, I will be raising money for this cause.”
A truly surprising guest at the gala was Farrah Abraham of MTV’s Teen Mom. The reality star told THR that she’s studying acting and hopes to win an Oscar someday. “I am kind of done with reality TV right now,” she said. “I don’t enjoy being villainized as a mother anymore so I think scripted work and focusing on my acting career is much more beneficial for my heart and my happiness.”
But what about her porn past? Does she worry it will negatively impact her Meryl Streep aspirations? “You know what, I think women shouldn’t be shamed for their sex lives,” Abraham said. “I actually think it’s a good time for me to get into scripted work, focus on my work and my profession and be surrounded by like-minded women so time’s up and amen to that.” — Marc Malkin
Party: Second Annual Entertainment Studios Oscar Gala hosted by Byron Allen
Players: Comedian-turned-TV and film producer Byron Allen, the night’s performers Katy Perry and Jamie Foxx, guests Louis Anderson, Garcelle Beauvais. Matthew Modine, Quincy Jones, Jon Lovitz, Paris Hilton and Chris Zylka. Viola Davis made a post-Oscars appearance with husband Julius Tennon.
Place: Beverly Wilshire Hotel
Spread: Waiters carrying trays of mini quiches with a cranberry on top, crab cakes, lamb chops. The menu consisted of salad with charred Humboldt Fog goat cheese, a duet of pommery mustard and herb crusted chicken breast and branzino fillet with potato gratin and a passion fruit mousse with vanilla crémeux, raspberries and blackberries for dessert.
Inside Dish: While guests like Matthew Modine, Louis Anderson, Tom Arnold and Jon Lovitz checked in early for the viewing party, host Byron Allen told THR that the real party starts after the telecast. “It’s just fun,” said Byron. “Last year we had Babyface and Tony Braxton, two good friends, and they did an amazing job, so we said, let’s keep it going.”
After raising a little over a million dollars last year for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Allen’s ambition was to do better the second time around. “This year we’re going to beat that because we’re walking in with about a million dollars in sponsorships,” he said.
Allen wasn’t wrong. After the Best Picture was announced on screens surrounding the Beverly Wilshire ballroom, Allen’s longtime friend Jamie Foxx grabbed the mic and encouraged people to donate to the cause. By the time the musical performances began, the event had already raised $1,499,065.
While guests of the viewing party were busy chatting throughout most of the broadcast, they burst into applause when Best Actress winner Frances McDormand asked all female nominees to stand up in the auditorium. Foxx didn’t miss an opportunity to mobilize the female guests by grabbing hold of the mic and pulling women up on the dance floor to celebrate McDormand’s win and the 25-year anniversary of Entertainment Studios. By the time the Best Picture was announced the dance floor was packed with people clapping above their heads for The Shape of Water.
At just before 9 p.m., Foxx got into his performance, which had him singing and rapping over crowd pleasers like Whitney Houston’s "I’m Every Woman," Michael Jackson’s "Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough," and Aretha Franklin’s "Respect."
At a few minutes past 10 p.m., Viola Davis (still in her hot pink dress) arrived and while taking pictures with random guests she made a motion with her hand that she needed a drink. Once at the bar, ordering a red wine, she told a female guest “Girl, you’re working it tonight!” Back at her table, in the bar section of the party, Davis, her husband Julius Tennon and two friends dug into a platter of sliders.
Around 10:30 p.m., Katy Perry took the stage for a concert that included well-known hits like Chained to the Rhythm, Teenage Dream, Hot and Cold, Last Friday Night, I Kissed a Girl, Dark Horse, Extraterrestrial, One That Got Away, Part of Me and Roar, mixing them with lesser known songs from her new album.
“This is not meant to be a concert. We’re having a really good time,” Perry told the crowd, who were enjoying the performance as if it was a full on stadium concert.
An hour later Perry was still performing her “small show”, culminating in the hit song, "Firework."
“Ladies don’t stop using your voice,” exclaimed the singer as she ended her gig. “It’s the movement.” No one was about to argue with that, as those who still remained – eight hours after the party started – were completely chained to the rhythm. — Carita Rizzo
Party: Mercedes Benz Oscar Viewing Party
Players: Anthony Anderson threw it back to the 80s with a black turtleneck and gold-link chain combo. Jamie Foxx danced his way down the carpet. Christoph Waltz eschewed black tie and came college professor chic in a comfy red sweater and blazer. Jon Hamm, Skeet Ulrich, Jane Lynch, Ralph Sampson, Tan France
Place: Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
Spread: Lobster rolls, smoked salmon, fried chicken in a waffle cone, chicken quesadillas, Chocolate covered strawberries, and churros
Inside Dish: A chrome gold G-Wagon was the first thing guests saw when they made their way into the lavish party. Much like a high-end luxury vehicle, this party came fully loaded. A light wall served as the perfect backdrop for guests to take glam selfies against and a beauty bar sponsored by Orlane, was ready with a half-dozen touch-up stations in case guests needed a fresh look.
Jamie Foxx brought the party with him and made the evenings biggest arrival by dancing, grooving and voguing his way down the black carpet. Jon Hamm, the official voice of Mercedes Benz, was more lowkey and came solo, while Skeet Ulrich brought his teen daughter as his date.
The Four Seasons ballroom was dressed up like an elegant club, with dozens of dark couches and lounge chairs for guests to watch one of the twenty big screen TVs that were broadcasting the awards.
Once inside, guests could indulge their sweet tooth at a well-stocked Sugarfina table, which featured Champagne Bears and chocolate candy filled with a small shot of Casa Amigos tequila. There was also an endless supply of Chandon Champagne and speciality cocktails, like the Red Carpet Ready, made with strawberry basil infused vodka.
Inside the energy was relaxed and the stars were able to enjoy themselves. Queer Eye stylist France had a quick bite to eat before heading back out into the night for a long night of party hopping. Foxx was seen talking basketball with NBA legend Ralph Sampson at the bar, while Lynch and Anderson shared a couch in the VIP area and discussed their Oscar favorites.
Get Out was definitely the night’s emotional favorite. The party gave its loudest cheer for Jordan Peele when he won the Oscar for best original screenplay and several shouts of “Yes!” rang out when he gave his acceptance speech.
Skeet Ulrich was visibly excited to see Gary Oldman win the best actor award and Lynch cheered loudly when she saw Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty come out to present the best picture Oscar.
The after party featured a DJ but no dance floor. Jane Lynch busted a few saucy moves on her way out the door and 13 Reasons Why star Anne Winters twirled around the ballroom with her date, but that spark wasn’t quite enough to start a fire as the party thinned out.
Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero were the night’s final guests, coming straight from the Dolby Theater. Wiseau was decked out in his signature black shades and silver chains. His energy was still upbeat despite seeing The Disaster Artist get shut out at the awards and he was surrounded by guests seeking selfies. Wiseau said that it was “sureal” to be in the room at the Oscars and he loved that the public had still embraced his film, even if they ultimatley didn't come home a winner. — Alex Cramer
Party: Armani Celebrates The Shape of Water
Players: Giorgio Armani’s niece Roberta Armani hosted the fashion house’s annual soiree for the Oscar-nominated Fox Searchlight film. Director Guillermo del Toro attended as did did some of his cast, including Sally Hawkins, Richard Jenkins and Doug Jones and the film’s composer Alexandre Desplat. Versace was in the house—no, not Donatella, but American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace co-stars Darren Criss and Ricky Martin. There was a Twilight reunion with Nikki Reed and Peter Facinelli, who arrived early with his beautiful actress girlfriend Lily Anne Harrison. Also on the guest list were Martin’s artist husband Jwan Josef, Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Ray Liotta, Matthew Modine, 13 Reason Why’s Tommy Dorfman (who had just flown back to L.A. from a quick business trip to Europe), Nina Dobrev, Seven Seconds star Raul Castillo, Miss J Alexander, celebrity medium Tyler Henry and his boyfriend Clint Godwin, Barbara Davis and her MS activist daughter Nancy Davis, The Leftovers actor Jovan Adepo, Alessandro Ambrosio, Eiza Gonzalez, Teddy Sears and Veep’s Reid Scott.
Place: Giorgio Armani on Rodeo Drive
Spread: The hunky and handsome wait staff weaved their way through the crowd offering party-goers salmon on miniature pancakes topped with caviar, risotto cakes with ahi tuna and bruschettini with roast beef and aioli sauce as well glasses of Veuve Clicquot champagne. Dessert included bite-size cubes of milk and dark chocolate.
Inside Dish: An Armani exec scanned the crowd and explained to The Hollywood Reporter, “It always works because it’s early and a quick stop before everyone heads to the Night Before party.” Del Toro held court at the front of the store where he chatted with Criss and Martin before they were escorted by bodyguards to the middle of the party for pics with Roberta Armani and Jackson and his wife LaTanya Richardson. The director took a breather and sat for few minutes at the back of the store before returning to the front when his leading lady and best actress Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins arrived.
Armani showed del Toro and Hawkins that she was wearing a beaded bracelet that actress had given her. At one point, del Toro offered to buy something that Hawkins was admiring in the boutique. “We will get it for you,” Armani offered. “You don’t have to pay.”
When a friend mentioned to del Toro that he had a good feeling that Shape of Water would not only earn him a directing Oscar but that he’d also take one home for best picture, he raised his hands and said with a laugh, “I say nothing.”
Asked if he’d be able to sleep tonight, Del Toro insisted, “I am calm. I will have no problems.”
As the party started to wind down, Nikki Reed and Peter Facinelli were introduced to del Toro. “I always fan-girl over directors,” Reed told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s always the directors.”
Her face lit up when a pal mentioned he was able to snap a pic of her “love fest” with del Toro.
Del Toro mentioned he had one more party to attend before calling it a night: “But first I need to go soak my feet in hot water and then I can go.” — Marc Malkin
— Marc Malkin (@marcmalkin) March 4, 2018
Party: Charles Finch and Chanel Pre-Oscar Awards Dinner
Players: Kristen Stewart, Margot Robbie, Leonardo DiCaprio, Edgar Wright, Edgar Ramirez, Danny Huston, Jack Huston, Tracee Ellis Ross, Sienna Miller, Leslie Mann and Judd Apatow, Daniel Kaluuya, Yara Shahidi, Jamie Dornan and Amelia Warner, Matthew and Caridad Modine Adrien Brody, Haley Bennett, Sandra Lee.
The Spread: The Carciofi e Parmigiano Salad, the Petto di Pollo al Limone or Branzino All’Isolata and Tiramiso for dessert, accompanied by a Chateau Rauzan-Segla, Margaux 2006 and Livio Felluga, Pinot Grigio 2015.
Inside Dish: Guests hosted by Charles Finch and Chanel were greeted by a Mariachi band as they walked down the stairs to Madeo restaurant for the 10thannual Pre-Oscar Chanel dinner, rumored to be the last event before a scheduled remodel at the legendary eatery.
“I’m caught! I’m caught!” laughed Tracee Ellis Ross, dressed in Chanel, as her Diana Ross-like ponytail briefly got tangled in the vegetation of the step and repeat. “It’s a little chilly and it’s a little rainy, so feeling covered up is lovely, and I always love that demure sexiness of Chanel,” Ross said of her outfit. The Black-ish actress was excited to attend the dinner for the first time, but was already familiar with the menu. “I pick up from Madeo’s. I am a gluten-free Bolognese and a Carciofi Salad girl! And a minestrone if I’m extra hungry.”
At the entrance of the restaurant Jamie Dornan and his wife Amelia Warner greeted Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann, who were on their way inside. Dornan then spotted Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya on the red carpet, who after flashing a peace sign to the photographers headed straight for his 50 Shades buddy to give him a big hug and pat on the back.
On the inside, the candle lit restaurant was filled with white tulips and roses, the tables seated with guests ready to dig into the legendary Italian food. “I’m not supposed to have pasta tonight because I have a really tight dress that I have to put on tomorrow — which sounds ridiculous, but I don’t want to be puffy — but I think I’m going to cave, and I’m going to eat the pasta anyway,” said Mann, who revealed that after trying on 40 dresses she chose a Zac Posen dress for the Oscars. “He’s such a nice man. He’s coming to the hotel to zip me up and send me on my way.”
With one arm around his wife and the other hand carrying a martini with olives, Dornan headed for their table, but not before saying a cheerful hello to Jack Huston.
While it wasn’t hard to understand why Chanel’s intimate annual Oscar dinner is the place to be the night before the big event, Edgar Ramirez articulated the appeal: “I just love the crowd,” said the Assassination of Gianni Versace actor. “It’s an opportunity to see friends and people you admire, and just talk about what we love, which is movies and stories and storytelling, but in a more intimate way. That’s what I love about this gathering.” — Carita Rizzo
Party: IFC Films and Sundance Selects' Spirit Awards After Party
Place: 41 Ocean
Players: Following the Indie Spirit Awards Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero, Ron Yerxa, Michelle Satter, Yolonda Ross, Kara Young, Lois Smith, Natalie Morales, Cyrina Fiallo, Jason Ritter, Nev Schulman, Samantha Robinson, Melanie Lynskey, Shaun Redick, Pedros Hernandez Santos, Jonas Carpignano and more walked down the peer and across the street for an intimate celebration.
Spread: Popcorn (to pair with the Movie Grade app partnership, burgers, tater tots, French fries, peanut glazed chicken skewers all before brownies and lemon tarts for desert. The drink menu included Kona Brewing Company's select beets as well as two open bars with a cocktail menu serving Hendrick's Gin cucumber with lemon juice, a Monkey Scotch Old Fashioned and Milagro Tequila margaritas (the Hendrick's Gin was a night favorite.)
Inside Dish: As at every party to date this awards season, Wiseau stole the show. But this time he sort of changed his tune. After trying to exit the Indie Spirit Awards there was the usual line of fans waiting to snap a picture and post it to Instagram, but at IFC's party Wiseau had one suggestion for the fans who poured over to the after celebration: "One more try. That's it," he joked to a group of guests who couldn't seem to get their group photo shoot together. Another crowd stealer owas the night's John Casavettes Award winner, Pedro Hernandez Santos who gave every single person in attendance who congratulated him on his win, a giant, celebratory kiss. —Brian Porreca
Party: Invisible Arts Visible Artists
Place: Musso & Frank
Players: Oscars nominated editors Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos (Baby Driver), Lee Smith (Dunkirk), Tatiana S. Riegel (I, Tonya), Sidney Wolinsky (The Shape of Water) and John Gregory (Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri). ACE president Stephen Rivkin (Oscar nominee for Avatar) and past president Alan Heim (Oscar winner for All That Jazz).
Spread: Mixed green salad; choice of New York steak, grilled salmon or angel hair pasta tomato basil, with mashed potatoes, French beans and mushrooms, and creamed spinach. Dessert included New York style cheesecake and spumoni. Wine and cocktails.
Inside Dish: The morning began at The Egyptian, for an American Cinema Editors panel discussion with all of the nominated editors, moderated by Alan Heim, before a capacity crowd. Amos said editing the opening car chase in Baby Driver was “the best editing month of my life” while Smith admitted he was a little scared when he first read Dunkirk’s script, noting that this “experience” had was very little dialogue and “time bending."
Baby Driver director Edgar Wright quietly slipped in to watch the panel and support his nominated editors. Christopher Rouse, Oscar-winning editor for The Bourne Ultimatum, also came out to enjoy the discussion. Riegel left early as she had to get across town for the Spirit Awards (she won the editing category), and the rest of the editors greeted students and fellow editors outside the theater. “It’s another great year with incredibly talented editors. Each has a very unique style and approach to the film that they worked on,” Rivkin said following the panel.
The group proceeded to Hollywood’s historic Musso & Frank, where the Motion Picture Editors Guild hosted a luncheon.
“I’m just enjoying it all,” UK-based nominee Gregory said, who chatted with Heim over cabernet sauvignon. “Alan—this is where the film fan in me comes in, some of the films he’s done, like Network, I just love. … I’ve watched the Oscars — even before we had in on television, in the ‘60s, it would come on a newsreel in the cinema, and now I’m here. It’s great fun.”
The editors of Baby Driver shared their BAFTA experience, as Machliss remembers that Duchess Kate sought advice from Amos on whether Coco would be suitable viewing for Prince George. — Carolyn Giardina
Party: 11th annual Women in Film pre-Oscar cocktail party presented by Max Mara (for 11th year) and Lancome with additional support from Crustacean Beverly Hills, Johnnie Walker and Stella Artois (with special mention of Jane Walker by Johnnie Walker).
Players: Hosted by Oscar winner Emma Stone with WIF LA president Cathy Schulman, the fete welcomed nominees Margot Robbie, Greta Gerwig, Evelyn O'Neill, Agnes Varda, Diane Warren, Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani, Rachel Morrison, and guests Billie Jean King, Viola Davis, Olivia Wilde, Jason Sudeikis, Keegan Michael Key, Amy Landecker, Bradley Whitford, Jamie Dornan, Lea Michele, Eiza Gonzalez, Heather Graham, Ali Larter, Madelaine Petsch, Michelle Monaghan, Andrea Riseborough, CAA's Tracy Brennan, producer Jordan Horowitz and indie film giant Cassian Elwes.
Place: Newly redesigned Crustacean Beverly Hills
Spread: Servers rivaled stars in terms of attention as guests dove for trays filled with the restaurant's famous garlic noodles, tuna cigars (served in cigar boxes), dover sole beignets with kaffir lime and wasabi and hearts of palm (crab cakes) along with the most sought after item on the menu — dungeness crab puffs. (More on the latter later.) To celebrate this year’s female nominees, Stella Artois commissioned a custom Stella Artois Cidre cocktail for the party, the Glitz & Glam Cidre Fizz. (The brand has long supported filmmakers including through the Stella Artois-funded Women In Film Film Finishing Fund grants for fiction and documentary films by or about women.) Mixologist Lulu Martinez came up with specialty Jane Walker by Johnnie Walker cocktails including "Walk with Jane" and "Spring in Her Step," featuring Johnnie Walker Black Label, the Jane Walker Edition.
Inside Dish: A lot of guests had their sights set on scoring a crab puff or two, and the various searches were interrupted by a pep rally of sorts on a custom stage near the back of the restaurant. That's where a total of five women stood in front of the microphone to share words while dozens of revelers held their phones up to capture the moment. Following sponsor-heavy remarks from WIF executive director Kirsten Schaffer, WIF president Cathy Schulman brought a surprise speaker up for an impromptu moment.
"I'm only doing this Cathy because I love you," said Oscar winner Viola Davis, who immediately replayed a conversation she was just having in one of Crustacean's new booths, telling a woman about an exchange she had with her daughter Genesis. She told her then 5-year-old that she was very "complicated" to which Genesis replied, " "Mommy, you're trying to tell me I'm confusing.' And I say to that, even with all of us women in here being confusing, feeling like we have a little extra weight on us...feeling like especially in this past year we have testimonies of sexual assault of feeling less than, of feeling, I don't know, always at the caboose," said Davis from the stage. "We're still worth it. With all of our imperfections, with all of our complexities and confusion, we're worth it."
Davis continued that "this is a year of owning who we are," because there are only two choices. "Either you own your story and you share it or you stand outside of it always hustling for your worth," she concluded. (Meanwhile, guests were still spotted hustling for crab puffs.)
Tough act to follow. "No one should ever have to follow Viola Davis — ever," quipped La La Land and Battle of the Sexes star Stone, who was next to the microphone. "And that was off the cuff."
Still, even with that pressure, the actress called it an honor to be in attendance. (Less of an honor: Still no crab puffs anywhere in sight.)
"This has been a historic year for so many reasons and many of you are a part of that," she said. "It's a tipping point and it can be jarring at times. I'm so inspired by the voices I've got to listen to and the things I've learned these past couple of months, much less over the past year. Keep at it, and congratulations."
Stone then welcomed her pal, tennis great Billie Jean King up to say a few words. King couldn't find the right phrasing, however, to pass along to the 49 female Oscar nominees this year. Is it break a leg? She wasn't sure.
But she was firm in her advice for women in how to move forward from these challenging times.
"Stop apologizing," she said, to the women. And to men? "You don't have to be brave all the time. You can cry, do whatever you want. Like Roger Federer, he sobs whether he wins or loses. It doesn't matter."
Though no one was spotted sobbing, they could've been because no other trays of crab puffs were spotted by THR for the rest of the night. Must've gone quick.
Speaking of fast, outside by the valet, THR spotted something else. Awards guru Lisa Taback and her daughter Claire Sliney were prepping to head inside as Elizabeth Banks was having a lengthy conversation with the event staffers (trying to make sure that her friend Daniela could be added to the list for a later entrance).
Sliney, a college freshman at University of Pennsylvania, acted quickly to introduce herself to Banks who graduated from Penn with magna cum laude honors. The actress, producer and political activist also happens to be sorority sister to Sliney as both are members of Delta Delta Delta. Banks greeted the news warmly and wished Sliney well on her education with a smile.
What Banks didn't find out, however, is that Sliney's tri-Delta sisters all share an email chain that is lovingly dubbed "Elizabeth Banks Fan Club." No word on whether that sorority star was served any crab puffs during the rest of her Friday night. — Reporting by Chris Gardner
Cathy Schulman, @WomenInFilm prez, with welcome remarks, encouraging guests to kiss nominees (wearing white corsages) because they “want that love.” Meant with good intentions, obviously. #WIFOscars pic.twitter.com/whQ4iXRc2c— Chris Gardner (@chrissgardner) March 3, 2018
Views inside #WIFOscars party at newly renovated Crustacean which has yet to officially open to public. Everyone was feenin’ for crab puffs, tuna cigars. Unrelated: Fish have not yet been returned to their underground home. @WomenInFilm pic.twitter.com/bRgxrQSmMf— Chris Gardner (@chrissgardner) March 3, 2018
Players: Stars (Michael B. Jordan, Leonardo DiCaprio, Josh Gad, Robert Pattinson, Amy Adams, Emma Stone, Elizabeth Perkins, Tobey Maguire, Hugh Laurie, Ashley Judd, Halle Berry, Tyler Perry, Daveed Diggs, Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet, Keanu Reeves, Sienna Miller, Vince Vaughn), directors (Dee Rees, Guillermo del Toro, Damien Chazelle, Shawn Levy), execs (Sue Kroll, Stacey Snider, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Robert Kraft), athletes (Lindsey Vonn, Michael Strahan, Billie Jean King), artists (Mark Bradford), musicians (Drake, Usher, The Weeknd, John Mayer), and models (Alessandra Ambrosio, Ashley Graham, Elsa Hosk, Martha Hunt and Taylor Hill), plus Ronan Farrow, Jeffrey Deitch, Shawn Levy, and others.
Place: Paul McCartney's former estate up Coldwater Canyon in Beverly Hills — fully equipped with a bowling alley — was rented out for the evening and spruced up with art from co-CEO Ari Emmanuel's private collection brought in to enhance the space.
Spread: Jon and Vinny's did all the catering, which included hors d'oeuvres such as avocado toast, shrimp skewers and mozzarella skewers, plus food stations with sliced beef with mashed potatoes and Swiss chard, Caesar salad and salty rolls, plus of course tray-passed pizza. Guests sipped on cocktails featuring Ryan Reynold's Aviation Gin, poured by mixologists who were stationed at every bar, and received Italian donut "zeppoles" at the end of the night.
Inside Dish: WME’s was a smooth as whiskey melding of worlds as Drake, with an entourage and bodyguards, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Tesla and Space X founder Elon Musk (both traveling light) held their own center of gravities.
As Bezos made the rounds alongside Comcast's Brian Roberts, Drake bounced through the party the most, hugging it out with WME’s Ari Emanuel, then with Black Panther star Michael B Jordan. Later he paid respect to music man David Forster, who didn’t let go of Katherine McPhee’s hands.
Leonardo DiCaprio, wearing a cap, slipped in quietly with several pals, including Tobey Maguire, while Armie Hammer reunited with his Call Me By Your Name co-star, breakout Timothee Chalamet, later joined by Josh Gad. Meanwhile, Michael Bay and Eli Roth huddled to the side and talked film.
By 10 p.m. there was a crowd of about 15 paparazzi outside of the private estate, but DJ Michelle Pesce kept at the turntables. Michael Strahan chatted up artist Mark Bradford who then went on to greet Usher. In a different corner, Transparent's Rob Huebel caught up with Pod Save America's Jon Favreau as Dunkirk's Barry Keoghan stood nearby.
Many of the guests including Emma Stone, Sue Kroll and Billie Jean King walked in a bit late, following WIF's soiree hosted by Stone at nearby Crustacean Beverly Hills.
The private home was decked out in artwork from artists Awol Erizkiu, Walter Price, Christine Quarles and Cheyenne Julien. There was also an Everytown activation onsite, where the Hollywood luminaries in attendance signed up to support the nonprofit against gun violence.
Party: Toast to the Arts
Players: Common’s fourth annual event celebrating black Hollywood honored Mudbound actress and singer-songwriter Mary J. Blige, director and screenwriter Dee Rees and producer Charles D. King, Get Out and legendary filmmaker Charles Burnett. The guest list included Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya and LilRel Howery, Tiffany Haddish, Andra Day, Diane Warren, Gabrielle Union, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Bevy Smith, Me Too creator Tarana Burke and What Happened, Miss Simone? producer Jayson Jackson. “This event is so black one of the sponsors is Shea Moisture,” Common said. He wasn’t joking. The beauty company’s logo was displayed on the step-and-repeat and even and even on the dinner menus along with co-sponsor Remy Martin.
Spread: The festivities began with a cocktail hour. Andra Day took to a mic to say a prayer before dinner, which started with an avocado salad with cucumber, dukkha spice and salsa verde as well as an heirloom tomato salad with burrata and olive croutons. The second course featured Brussel sprouts and crispy sesame shrimp followed by cut rigatoni, seared salmon and flat iron steak. Bottles of Remy Martin XO cognac were also on hand at each table.
Inside Dish: Produced by MVD Inc. and the Ayars Agency, the evening’s black and white theme included arrangements of white roses, orchids and deep purple calla lilies on each table and a black step-and-repeat. Large black and white portraits of the honorees were hung on the walls. Custom cigars were also on hand for the taking.
“We started planning right after the first one,” said MVD Inc.’s Massah David. “Common just trusts me and says go for it. He really focuses on who we’re going to honor. He walks in and he has no idea what it’s going to look like.”
And there are always a few extra seats on hand for unexpected guests. “Two years ago, Halle Berry called at the last minute and said, ‘Can I come to your party?’” Ayars Agency founder Ashaunna Ayers said.
And then there was Samuel L. Jackson, who showed up so early last year that the tables were still being set.
This year’s gala began with some car trouble. “If you have an Astro Chevrolet truck in the parking lot out front, you need to move it or you’re going to be towed,” DJ Dummy announced as guests started trickling in.
As dinner was being served, Common delivered remarks about the honorees. “This year is the year of the rebels,” the musician and actor said. He hailed Charles Burnett as “one of our greatest filmmakers ever” and recalled meeting Dee Rees for the first time in a Brooklyn café. “She had so much soul and I was thinking, Dee, you move my soul,” he said. Common admitted he was nervous to see Get Out because he doesn’t like scary movies, but “the film blew my mind.”
“It told our story but we were able to embrace it, laugh at it but at the same token, recognize the consciousness in it,” he added.
He praised Charles D. King for having the courage and self-confidence to strike out on his own as a producer about three years ago despite being one of Hollywood’s most powerful talent agents at WME. “That’s what rebellion is,” Common said.
He finished things up by gushing over Mary J. Blige, saying that he feels a “tremendous sense of pride” because she is nominated for not one, but two Oscars for her acting in Mudbound and best original song for the movie’s “Mighty River.”
The longtime friends were recently at the Oscar nominees luncheon (Common is also up for best original song for “Stand Up for Something,” his collaboration with Diane Warren and Audra Day from the Thurgood Marshall bio-pic Marshall) when the “No More Drama” singer said she was scared she’d start crying if she looked him. “I was already crying in the inside,” Common said.
Earlier, Blige told The Hollywood Reporter that her Oscar morning prep would include some prayer. “I feel like I’m dreaming,” she said. “But this is no dream — it’s the real thing.”
The event began four years ago when Common decided to throw a party for Ava DuVernay and Selma after the Academy failed to nominate the director for her work on the Martin Luther King, Jr. drama. “We want to celebrate a lot of the talent and artists whether they’re Oscar nominated or not,” Common told THR. “We recognize them for their greatness and their contribution to culture.”
Day, who will be performing “Stand Up for Something” with Common tomorrow night, said her signature sky-high hair will be “Victorian era” big. “I love drama,” she laughed. “Maybe long and falling onto the carpet—real drama!”
The “Rise Up” singer also admitted that she plans to take a stab at acting one day. “Definitely in the next couple of years,” she said. “I really want to take time to dive into it and plus, let’s see if I’m talented first. Things have been brought to me but I’m very specific about what I want and what I’m interested in.” — Marc Malkin
Party: The Film is Great Hosted pre-Oscar reception by BAFTA Los Angeles Chairman Kieran Breen and British Consul General Michael Howells commenced to celebrate success in British and American partnership in film.
Players: The fete welcomed nominees Gary Oldman, Phantom Thread producer JoAnne Sellar, The Silent Child's Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton, Daniel Lupi, J. Miles Dale, Eric Fellner, Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer, John Nelson, Jon Gregory, Jonathan Amos, Jonny Greenwood, Katie Spencer, Kazuhiro Tsuji, Lisa Bruce, Loulia Sheppard, Lucy Sibbick, Mark Bridges Mike Mulholl, Neal Scanlan, Rachel Shenton, Sarah Greenwood and Stuart Wilson.
Place: The British Consul General Michael Howells private residence in Hancock Park.
Spread: Cocktails accomplished traditional British bar snacks, including mini falafels, scotch eggs, fish and chips and stuffed dates. The event served signature gin-infused drinks, including “All the Roses in the World,” “The Elisa,” and “The Churchill.” The evening’s co-host, Michael Howells, joked, “You’ll find the more you drink the better they’ll taste.”
Inside Dish: Proceeding the event, the organizers included the clairvoyant message that read: “with any British event we are fully prepared for any potential inclement weather.”
On the uncharacteristically rainy evening, guests were escorted under umbrellas with the United Kingdom’s flag emblazoned on them after checking in. Furthering the evening’s theme and nominees’ heritage was an electric British flag on the wall. Staffers took Polaroid pictures of guests in the lounge area and guided guests to get caricatures of themselves.
Oldman attended with his wife Gisele Schmidt and spoke briefly to the press before escaping to the reception to avoid the inclement weather.
Howells took the stage to remind attendees of the UK and Hollywood’s strong ties. And while he kept his speech upbeat, the British Consul General didn’t fail to point out that the year has not been a success for “sexual abusers, racists and misogynists.”
“The top three grossing films this year had two things in common; first of all they were made in the UK, but the big point is they were all led by very strong female leads. I just wanted to say if you’re going to destroy a stereotype, the classiest way to do it, apart from just being spectacular good, is absolutely nailing it at the box office,” Howells declared to roaring applause.
He went on to point out the success in British and American partnership, as a model that benefits all and makes film better.
“Tonight is about celebrating the amazing things Brits and Americans do in film. We do fantastic things together. It is amazing partnership, we both want to tell stories that matter. This of course, has been a bumper year. From obviously recognizable British historical dramas like Darkest Hour and Dunkirk to really, really powerful and strong American stories, like Three Billboards, from first-time shorts The Silent Child to cutting-age sci-fi like Star Wars to traditional British strengths like costume design,” Howells concluded.
Through his speech Howells made quips about Los Angeles culture and mannerisms he has picked up, including mastering “that magical LA skill, squeezing as much enthusiasm in a 30 second conversation—and never saying no to anyone’s face.”
The evening was accompanied by a playlist curated by Edgar Wright of the Oscar-nominated film, Baby Driver. — Deirdre Durkan
Party: Janelle Monae's Fem the Future Brunch Hosted by Belvedere.
Players: Black Panther stars Danai Gurira and Lupita Nyong'o, A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay, Annihilation star Tessa Thompson, Mudbound director Dee Rees, plus Geena Davis, Rosario Dawson, singers Grimes and Lizzo, and more.
Place: Catch LA Spread: The seated brunch included avocado toast, shakshuka baked eggs, coconut kale chicken salad and cinnamon roll pancakes, along with signature cocktails from Belvedere, a sponsor of Monae's initiative.
Inside Dish: Janelle Monae is passionate about women getting to tell their stories — which is why she started her Fem the Future movement and invited some of the entertainment industry's biggest names to celebrate each other at a pre-Oscars brunch on Friday afternoon. The event included a discussion about female empowerment led by Monae and journalist Alicia Quarles, along with the mainly female guests (and a few men, including Orange Is the New Black's Matt McGorry) speaking with each other about creating a "beautiful future," how they got started in their careers and the doors they've had to open along the way.
"As a woman who was in the entertainment industry, when I go to write an album, I'm always looking to support women — women producers, women designers, women engineers," Monae told The Hollywood Reporter before the event. But when she started working on her upcoming album, Dirty Computer, she asked her team for the names of female producers and engineers she could work with — and it was a short one. So she created Fem the Future to help bring women together to create art — music, film and beyond. She hired some of those women to work on Dirty Computer, but wants to hire even more in the future.
"I plan to do more. It was very difficult trying to pull together," she said. "My hope is that Fem the Future will attract, like a magnet, so many women that say, 'Hey, I'm here.' That's what this is all about. Putting the word out and saying 'We want to support you, where are you?' 'Cause they're there."
Monae, who starred in Hidden Figures and 2017's Best Picture winner, Moonlight, said she's rooting for Get Out, Jordan Peele, Mudbound, Dee Rees, Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig and Call Me By Your Name at Sunday's ceremony.
"I'm rooting for the underdog, and the minorities, and those women and men who don't get the opportunity to share their unique stories," she told THR. "I think the more unique perspectives we have out there, humanity will be better. We do ourselves a disservice when we're not empathizing. In order to empathize, we need to have honest, truthful, heartfelt stories that come from people that care about humanity, and all these stories to me signify that."
And while she's concentrating on her upcoming album release, she's also heard the fans online who are hoping she'll be cast as Batgirl in the upcoming film. "Oh my goodness, I would be honored to be Batgirl. I love Roxanne Gay," Monae said of the writer who's name has been circling the project now that Joss Whedon is no longer attached.
"I actually talked to her at Ava Duvernay's A Wrinkle in Time after party, and I told her that I was excited about that. So whatever develops — my name's in the loop, or if any woman who's cool as hell gets the job, I'm for it. I love to see more women's stories." — Jean Bentley
Party: Gersh Agency Oscar Celebration
Players: Nominees Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell and Richard Jenkins mingled with their reps including Gersh's Leslie Siebert and Rhonda Price along with guests Margot Robbie, Angela Bassett, Tiffany Haddish, Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Driver, Kathryn Hahn, John Slattery, Joe Keery, Maika Monroe, Walton Goggins, Ben Schwartz, Jason Ritter, Melanie Lynskey, Dan Bucatinsky, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Steven Rogers, Elizabeth Perkins, Leslie Bibb, Missi Pyle, Neon's Tom Quinn, managers Cynthia Pett-Dante, Molly Madden and Steven Siebert, and Gersh's Bob Gersh, Alex Yarosh and Daisy Wu.
Place: Chateau Marmont, 6th floor penthouse
Spread: Fried chicken bites, beef sliders, arancini balls, avocado toast, fried artichoke, croque monsieur, Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches and a bar full of specialty cocktails, Tequila Don Julio 1942 and Perrier-Jouët Champagne.
Inside Dish: "It's great for the agency, great for us, great for our clients," said Leslie Siebert when asked about the significance of this awards season which has seen three of its top clients dominating on the circuit — Janney in I, Tonya, Rockwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Jenkins for The Shape of Water. "It's a huge achievement and a lot of years of hard work."
Siebert reps Janney while her New York colleague Rhonda Price works with Rockwell and Jenkins, and "works with" may be an understatement as she has represented the former for 20 years and the latter for 17. "It's wonderful," Price smiled, standing next to longtime friend Madden. "I don't know what else to say other than the fact that you always want actors to have opportunities, you always want them to have the choice to be able to do what they love. These nominations help them get that choice and that's the goal."
Over her shoulder, all eyes were on the door as it opened to allow Janney, Rockwell and Jenkins to enter, arriving a bit late but necessarily so as the trio were celebrating along with the class of 2018 Oscar nominees at the official nominees dinner put on by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Siebert loved the fact that they were able to host staffers, actors and friends of the agency at the Chateau, which she called "magical." "This is what I wanted," said Siebert, who will take on off a much-deserved vacation with her husband, Steven, and sons to Tulum, Mexico, next Friday. Why deserved? The agent is hot off the success of many high profile projects for clients including Bassett (Black Panther), Catherine Keener (Get Out) and Kyle Chandler (Game Night). "This makes sense for the Oscars."
It also makes sense for Rockwell, these days. "Sam Rockwell has been staying at the Chateau long before he could afford to stay at the Chateau," Price says with a laugh. "It's a great great hotel, and very beautiful."
Also beautiful, the fact that Price and her clients have been able to pause and reflect on the payoff of many years of hard work and collaborations. "Not just once, but many many many times," she said. "Sharing how lucky we are to have experienced this and how proud we are that they have kept the integrity of their work."
Other highlights: Janney danced with Rockwell's partner Leslie Bibb, and later took home a specialty engraved bottle of Don Julio 1942 that read “The Oscar goes to…Allison Janney.” But not before hugging Tonya costar Robbie who arrived around 11 p.m.
Last but not least: When THR arrived just after 9:30 p.m., Brad Pitt was standing at the top of the stairs where he was stopped by Haddish with a major question. "Do you recognize me now!" the actress and Oscar presenter said, to which Pitt replied no. "I'm from Girls Trip, you haven't seen it?"
"I'm going to see it now," Pitt told Haddish, who had a quick comeback. "They say that I'm the breakout star of the year, you gotta see it. Let's go, let's get in the elevator together." And so they did, and off they went along with Pett-Dante and members of Haddish's entourage. -- Chris Gardner
Players: Hollywood execs such as Fox Searchlight's Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula; MGM's Gary Barber, Jon Glickman, and Kevin Ulrich; Paramount's Wyck Godfrey; Universal's Ron Meyer, Peter Cramer; Lionsgate's Joe Drake; Warner Bros' Toby Emmerich; Movie Pass' Mitch Lowe; Global Road's Rob Friedman; Amazon's Bob Berney as well as 20th Century Fox's Stacey Snider — both who were also spotted at the WME party. Stars including Kelsey Grammer, Jamie Dornan, Chelsea Handler, Billy Eichner, Don Lemon, Ed Helms, Judd Apatow with daughter Maude Apatow, Taraji P. Henson, Danai Gurira, Michael Douglas, Sigourney Weaver, Sarah Silverman, Olivia Wilde, Jason Sudikis, Elizabeth Banks, Kate Beckinsale, Terry Crewes, John Cho, Ruby Rose, Keegan-Michael Key, as well as nominees such as Lady Bird's Greta Gerwig The Big Sick's Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, Icarus' Bryan Fogel, The Insult's Ziad Doueri, Call Me By Your Name's Timothee Chalamet and producer Howard Rosenman, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri's Frances McDormand.
Place: Mastro's Beverly Hills
Spread: Mastro's favorites including steak, fish, mashed potatoes, truffle gnocchi, mushroom risotto and tray-passed desserts such as flourless chocolate tartlets and mini profiteroles. The party went late into the evening as cones filled with French fries were passed out — and welcomed by revelers — at midnight.
Inside Dish: Co-president Jay Sures and Don Lemon held court in a corner of the restaurant that was completely overhauled and redesigned by A-list party planner Yifat Oren of Oren Co., while CEO Jeremy Zimmer gave client Timothee Chalamet a big congratulatory hug when he first arrived. Sarah Silverman was in deep in conversation with nominee Greta Gerwig. Nearby, Keegan Michael Key chatting in a corner with Jason Sudeikis and Olivia Wilde. Guests partied it up to beats by DJ Spider at the Beverly Hills mainstay including Icarus director Bryan Fogel who was one of the last to leave.
Party: Vanity Fair and Lancôme Paris Celebrate Women In Hollywood hosted by VF’s editor-in-chief Radhika Jones and Ava DuVernay
Players: Graydon Carter who? the magazine proved that its power to attract the stars was still intact despite the departure of its longtime editor. Radhika Jones, who replaced Carter in December, held court in the Soho House garden after being introduced to DuVernay by the mag’s west coast editor Krista Smith. The soiree quickly filled up with the likes of Mindy Kaling, Zendaya (the evening’s standout in a multicolored Marc Jacobs zoot suit and large brimmed hat), Danai Gurira, Sarah Hyland, Olympic gold medalist Chloe Kim, Tracee Ellis Ross, Angela Bassett, Nina Dobrev, Laura Marano, Kumail Nanjiani, Emily Gardner, Bradley Whitford, Amy Landecker, Padma Lakshmi, Kelly Rohrbach, Rita Wilson, Elizabeth Perkins, Kat Graham, Gaby Hoffman, Kathryn Hahn, Janelle Monae, models Alessandra Ambrosio and a pink-haired Khoudia Diop, Tessa Thompson, Catt Sadler, Ronan Farrow, Dear White People’s Antoinette Robertson, Debbie Allen, Caitlyn Jenner, Baby Driver director Edgar Wright, January Jones, Insecure’s Broderick Hunter, Connie Britton, Rashida Jones, Aubrey Plaza and J. Alexander.
Place: Soho House’s Rooftop Garden
Spread: Waiters weaved their way through the crowd with trays of beef and pork meatballs in a red sauce, mushroom puffs, tuna tartare on blue tortilla chips, cauliflower tempura and lentil corn fritters. A small buffet offered beets, rice, roasted squash, fingerling potatoes, quinoa and a corn with avocado salad. Tracee Ellis cooed to a friend, “I love the beets!” Across from the buffet was a large round table with an assortment of cheeses, including brie and parmesan, humus, slices of meats and raw vegetables. The dessert menu included chocolate chip cookies, mini red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, chocolate mousse topped with whipped cream and strawberry tarts.
Bottles of Belvedere vodka chilled in buckets of ice at the bar while a couple of waiters were standing by offering pre-made cocktails.
Inside Dish: Guests checked in at the lobby of Soho House before being given black business card size passes that had to be handed over at the entrance of the members-only club’s garden restaurant and bar before being let into the party. Inside, the hallway leading to the soiree was adorned with framed celebrity quotes (“Think like a queen,” read the one by Oprah Winfrey. “A queen is not afraid to fail. Failing is another steppingstone to greatness.)
Speaking of Winfrey, DuVernay suggested to a friend that he take some kids to see A Wrinkle in Time. “Go with kids or go with a kid’s heart,” she said.
Stems of white roses hung from the ceiling and the garden’s trees with white and red bouquets placed throughout the rooftop restaurant. Guests posed for photographers and took selfies in front of two panels of poster size VF celebrity portraits. Despite actress Isabelle Fuhrman’s concern that a photo she took with Ronan Farrow was “too shiny,” the New York writer said, “I like it.”
#MeToo creator Tarana Burke asked for photos with Debbie Allen and Scandal’s Darby Stanchfield and Bellamy Young.
Amy Landecker squealed when she saw writer Emily V. Gardner, who, along with her husband Kumail Nanjiani, is up for an Oscar for their screenplay for The Big Sick. “I am so excited for you,” Landecker said while they two embraced. “So excited.”
Gardner was introduced to January Jones. “I love your hair,” Gardner said about The Last Man on Earth’s tight pinned up braids.
Caitlyn Jenner asked a young blonde woman if they had met before. “You look so familiar,” she said before the two went onto discuss Jenner’s love of living in Malibu. “I have 360-degree views,” the Olympian said. “And no neighbors!”
For some, the Vanity Fair party was just the start of their evening. Kathryn Hahn and Angelia Bassett were spotted later on at the Gersh and Cadillac parties at Chateau Marmont. — Marc Malkin
Party: The Oscar Wilde Awards
Players: Host J.J. Abrams once again opened his doors to the US-Ireland Alliance and its honorees Mark Hamill, Catherine O’Hara, Paula Malcomson, Barry Keoghan and a throng of pint-raising well-wishers including famous faces (Diane Keaton, Colin Farrell, Martin Short, Andy Serkis, Kathy Griffin, Sean Hayes, Karl Urban, Andrea Martin, Dana Delany, Rick Famuyiwa, Rosemarie DeWitt and Ron Livingston, Melanie Lynskey and Jason Ritter, Jurnee Smollet ), filmmakers (Ava DuVernay, Edgar Wright), studio and network chiefs (Disney’s Alan Horn, Paramount’s Jim Gianopulos, Warner Bros.’ Peter Roth and Kevin Tsujihara, Lionsgate’s Michael Burns and Showtime’s Gary Levine), wizard of movie magic (“Star Wars” creature designer Neal Scanlan, production designer Bo Welch) and titans of industry (Elon Musk).
Place: Abrams’ sci-fi tchotchke-filled Bad Robot production headquarters in Santa Monica.
Spread: Gaelic favorites like newspaper-esque cones filled with fish and chips and pastries stuffed with sausages proved popular with guests, who washed them down with geographically appropriate Teeling single malt whiskey and pints of Guinness.
Inside Dish: “It's a really fun, loose, irreverent and yet somehow soulful evening that celebrates a great country and the connection, as tenuous as it may be, because I'm an honorary Irishman, to the U.S.” Abrams told THR on his way inside to kick off the event the 13th annual event — which was conceived to help foster the relationship between Ireland and the entertainment industry — with an assist on stage from Kathy Griffin, who swiftly proved him right by quipping “Can we be honest? This is not a real awards show — it’s kind of like an excuse for a party.” But from the audience, Colin Farrell countered “The Oscars is the after-party for this!”
“When it comes to the pop cultural landscape of this country in the last 40 years, Mark Hamill is something of a god: we will of course always remember him as Kent Murray from General Hospital, the 1972-1973 season,” said Abrams, who introduced his friend by paying homage to one of the actor’s roles that was slightly less iconic than Luke Skywalker.
“Who among us, honestly, can forget how Kent was, along with his sister Carol Murray, forced to live with their aunt after the death of their father?” Abrams added. “Yes, we loved Mark in Star Wars, he was incredible, and his sister Princesses Leia, but the truth is all you could think was ‘What about your real sister, Carol Murray?’”
Abrams then directed Hamill as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the remote Irish island of Skellig Michael. “On the last day, fog started to roll in, the clouds were looking ominous,” said the filmmaker. “We were there atop this glorious island in one of the most beautiful countries in the world and there I was looking at Mark in costume and I took out my phone, I started playing John Williams' iconic ‘Binary Sunset’ cue from Star Wars IV and it was ridiculously emotional. And all any of us could think was that ‘I can't believe I get to be here – with Kent Murray.’”
“I'm only sorry you didn't mention ‘Corvette Summer,’ J.J.,” said Hamill as he accepted his award, noting that he’d attended a prior ceremony when his late friend and co-star Carrie Fisher was similarly feted (“I can't be as witty, but I will strive to be a little more coherent,” he joked). With Irish heritage on his father’s side, Hamill noted that “I learned pretty much everything I know about Ireland from movies, and what a rich legacy the movies about Ireland there are, from the exuberance and joy of The Commitments to the harrowing tragedy of Angela's Ashes.” He also revealed his pleasure in learning that the Star Wars connection is expected to generate around $4 billion for the Irish tourism industry.
“I'm sort of pessimistic in thinking I don't really deserve an award like this, but the pendulum swings,” said Hamill, in the wake of his triumphant return to the global spotlight following much-praised his performance in The Last Jedi. “I'm also delusional enough to believe that they'll be an unprecedented write-in vote and I will win an Oscar this Sunday.”
“I'm not one for the spotlight,” said Irish-born Paula Malcolmson, who recently ended an acclaimed run on Ray Donovan, told THR. “But this is different. You're not campaigning, you don't have to go and shake the hands of a thousand Hollywood Foreign Press — you just come have a drink, you get your thing and you go. It's very nice… I think Irish and America is a very special thing. There's a really special place for us here.”
Accepting her award, Malcolmson recalled finding her own place in America. “When I left Belfast, it was a very different place — bleaker, darker — in 1990. I had hightailed it to New York City, I had 27 pounds in my pocket, that I had borrowed from my granny, at a favorable interest rate. This country took in an 18-year-old girl, it wrapped its arms around her, and handed her a better life. I’ve been able to do things that I never thought were possible. I’ve been able to live the American dream. So I only hope that the American dream is available for those who reach out and grab it the way I did. And I’m not so sure right now.”
On the way inside Martin Short promised THR his presenter’s speech to his longtime friend and frequent co-star Catherine O’Hara would be both a roast and a tribute. “I met her when she was 17,” he said. “Oh, she's like a sister. She really is. She's a sibling.”
On stage, previous honoree Short (“I actually won this last year, so suck on that, Daniel Day-Lewis!”) cut loose with a nine-minute long barrage of zingers that had guests literally doubled over in laughter, with the comic taking aim at the audience (“It does say a lot about America when white people from different backgrounds can get together like this — it’s encouraging, it give you hope”), the award itself (“You know what they say: this year’s Oscar Wilde Award winner is a good predictor of next year’s In Memorium package”) and of course, O’Hara.
“Every time I see Catherine’s work on film or in television, I’m whemled,” Short quipped. “In fact, I bet I have seen Home Alone over 500 times, and every time I see it I always say the same thing: ‘Catherine, we could watch something else?’” But then Short spoke “from the bottom of where my heart should be,” telling O’Hara “you are a breathtakingly brilliant, staggering original who has and continues to inspire, and in a career spanning over 40 years I’m sure you’ve accomplished more than I’m sure you ever dreamed of accomplishing, and you’ve done it with talent and tenacity and skill and kindness and, again, such deep, deep originality.”
Taking the stage, O’Hara — “a third-generation, Irish Catholic Canadian American, in that order” — noted the over-abundant, seemingly improbable numbers of people around the globe who claim primary Irish heritage and asking absolution for any over-exuberance to be connected to the county’s character.
“Can you blame us?” said O’Hara. “Who doesn’t want to be associated with people known for their deep and undying love of the land, the letter, romance, family, laughter — at themselves, almost as much as at others -- music and any lovely thing that brings a tear to the eye? A land of passionately empathetic poets, composers, politicians, filmmakers, revolutionaries and first responders…All the great qualities we strive for in America, we take for granted in the Irish. So forgive us, but we’d like to continue claiming to be one of you, please.”
Irish-born “Dunkirk breakout Barry Keoghan – who caught the last plane out of a blizzard-beset Ireland to make it to the occasion — was also honored with the Wilde Card Award, given to a promising up-and-comer, by his The Killing of a Sacred Deer co-star Farrell.
Once the formalities were over, the guests mingled around the many toys and treasures on display at Bad Robot — including an eerily lifelike bust of Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin under glass — while the Irish band The Academic performed a set on the back patio than included the song “Linger” in tribute to the late Irish singer Delores O’Riordan of The Cranberries. — Scott Huver
Players: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tiffany Haddish, Sarah Silverman, Martin McDonagh, Allison Janney, Jeff Ross, Mamie Gummer, Chace Crawford, Colin Egglesfield, Tony Revolori, Will Arnett and Anders Holm.
Place: Chateau Marmont
Spread: In addition to its three full bars sprawling at every corner of inside guests were treated with fried chicken bites, hamburgers, fried artichokes, crab cakes, flatbreads, Arancini and cookies for desert.
Inside Dish: Guests couldn't stop talking about he night's party crasher: Before the party really started filling up guests say DiCaprio (who was staying at the Chateau) snuck down the steps lounging in sweat pants, grabbed a drink and took the drink back to his room. No time for small talk. But his pal Brad Pitt who he'll be starring with in Tarantino's planned Manson film was just down stairs at Gersh's soiree. Maybe he brought Leo some cookies later on?
While tunes by DJ Michelle Peche blared throughout the Chateau lobby and outdoor restaurant, Haddish and Silverman shared the spotlight with one another, copping the laughs from room-to-to room after catching up with each other. Comedian Jeff Ross did the same and stayed up until the very end, around midnight. — Brian Porreca
Party: Essence’s 11th annual Black Women in Hollywood Awards & Luncheon
Players: Honorees Danai Gurira (Black Panther), Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip), Tessa Thompson (Westworld, Annihilation) and Emmy Award winner Lena Waithe (Master of None, The Chi), among others as one guest exclaimed: “There’s just so much black girl magic in the room!”
Place: Beverly Wilshire Hotel
Spread: Guests sat at long white tables and enjoyed a decadent three course lunch.
Inside Dish: In the wake of the unprecedented success of Black Panther, sisterhood, inspiration, affirmation and empowerment reigned doubly supreme at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
Quick glances around the room locked on sights such as director Ava Duvernay chatting with Beyoncé’s mother Tina Lawson. In another section of the room, Black Panther stars Lupita Nyong’o and Angela Bassett posed for selfies with friends and guests. Without any fanfare, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) regally strolled to her appointed table. Film production designer Hannah Beachler (Black Panther, Lemonade) and legendary costume designer Ruth E. Carter (Black Panther, Selma) bowed their heads in conversation. Also weaving their way through the crowd: a stunning Janelle Monae, garbed in a chic black dress, and entertainment attorney Nina Shaw, partner in the Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano law firm.
Essence editor-in-chief Vanessa K. DeLuca and president Michelle Ebanks underscored this year’s luncheon theme, “The Power of Our Presence,” in their welcoming remarks. Noted DeLuca, “Our mission is to shine a light on black women. And this year is no different as we’ve made some tremendous strides.”
Picking up that thread, luncheon host Yvonne Orji (Insecure) also turned the ceremony into a laughter-filled family reunion as guests noshed on salad, branzino fillet, oven-dried tomato risotto and sorbet with fresh berries. “What’s going on, black people,” asked Orji before introducing the first award presentation. “We’re in a room of straight-up bosses … and we’re here to stay.”
Introduced by Duvernay, contemporary R&B duo Chloe x Halle (grown-ish) performed “Warrior.” The siblings wrote the song for the soundtrack to Duvernay’s forthcoming film, A Wrinkle in Time.
Among the memorable comments from the honorees’ acceptance speeches:
Gurira, who was presented by Nyong’o, said: “Essence is where I learned that sisters are beautiful. And the most edifying source to hear that from is another sister. We’ve found the source of our power. Sisters are the vibranium to the others’ Wakanda [referencing Black Panther]. We must repel, dispel the lies that we’re not right for the world… that we have to wait for our number to be called. Now here’s the truth: the time is now. We’re here and ready to determine our own destinies.”
Haddish, who was presented by Get Out actor Milton “Lil Rel” Howery, exclaimed, “Ooooooh! I’m so happy. I want to thank my grandma for giving me such a work ethic. There are also a lot of people in this room that believed in me and gave me an opportunity. You’ve got to dream big; big as possible. The other honorees … all these women bring a lot of light. But if [you’re someone] that wants to bring negativity, just sit your ass down somewhere.”
Thompson, who was presented by Monae, noted, “What a time to be black and I say that with a heart bursting with gratitude for every person who came before us. We collectively speak to the majesty of black women, to the differences between us and to the sameness that we share. There’s been a systemic shift as of late. When I traveled to Wakanda, went on a girls trip to New Orleans or sat at Thanksgiving dinner table [referencing a Master of None episode] with the three other honorees, I understood why I have been doing this for so long. It’s so that a young girl might see a reflection of herself.”
Waithe, who was presented with the inaugural Black Women in Hollywood Ford Vanguard Award by Bassett and Dear White People filmmaker Justin Simien, said, “Being born gay, black and female is not a revolutionary act but being proud to be a gay black female is. One of my favorite films as a kid was the Wizard of Oz—no shade to The Wiz. When Dorothy’s presence interrupts the peace in Oz, all the munchkins run and hide. Glenda the Good Witch tells them in a soothing voice, ‘Stop hiding. Come out wherever you are. Don’t be afraid.’ It’s interesting how things you hear as a kid take on a whole new meaning when you’re an adult. So, I ask those of you that are still hiding to come out. Come out wherever you are. Please don’t be afraid. I’m here to hold your hand whenever you decide to jump into this wonderful pool of people who refuse to be hidden. The water is warm.”
For the fourth consecutive year, Essence Black Women in Hollywood will air as a primetime special on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network on March 3 (10 p.m. ET/PT). — Gail Mitchell
Players: Brian Unkless, The Black List's Franklin Leonard, Hidden Figures scribe Alison Schroder, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, Netflix's Andy Weil, Madelyn Deutch
Spread: Full spread of tacos (marinated steak and chicken, zucchini, dorado), quesadillas and house made tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole
Inside Dish: The talent and lit agency hosted their annual Oscars party on Thursday night at Hollywood's Paloma, the tequila bar that was opened as a sister site owner Adolfo Suaya's whisky bar, The Phoenix. Clients and agents munched on a spread of Mexican food, including dorados tacos and house made tortilla chips, while they sipped drinks from the tequileria.
The Black List's Franklin Leonard mingled with some of the writers that got signed off his annual list of unproduced screenplays. Top producing talent was also present, including I, Tonya producer Brian Unkless and Lorenzo Di Bonaventura. Hidden Figures scribe Allison Schroeder was also on hand at the busy event that vetted the agency's Oscar nominee Derin Seale, the director behind the nominated short The Eleven O'Clock. — Mia Galuppo
Players: Hosts Charles D. King and Stacey King, plus guests Rob Hardy, Angela Bassett, Dee Rees, Jeremy Kleiner, Tiffany Haddish, Gabourey Sidibe, Tim Story, Tyrese Gibson, Quincy Jones, Channing Dungey, Debra Martin Chase, Antoinette Robertson.
Place: The Underground Museum
Spread: Staying true to being a cocktail party, located in a museum, the MACRO party featured signature drinks including a sweet tea and an orange and cayenne cocktail made with Courvoisier Cognac. In addition, guests could savor an apple sage Collins.
Inside Dish: Nestled in between a carpet store and a lawn mower’s business on Washington Boulevard is the Underground — a dynamic art museum riddled with details of a segregated time. “Colored Only. No Whites Allowed. Savannah, Georgia. March, 1930,” read a plaque resting on a white barn door.
“We Deserve to see Ourselves Elevated,” read a neon sign, poignantly placed above the double doors leading to the artistic space.
An array of A-List guests arrived to a “Wakanda” inspired photo booth, were met with work produced by artists of color, and were surrounded by jams from the 1950’s onwards. Within the details of the night lied the mission of MACRO: to tell the stories that have yet to be told and to celebrate the people who have not always been invited.
MACRO, a media production company dedicated to diversity and representation, hosted the vibrant celebration of its 2018 Academy Award nominated films Roman J. Israel, Esq. and Mudbound and the nominated stars from both in front of and behind the camera.
Joined by Samantha Granberry, an activist, journalist, and advocate for social change, the evening was not only a place to revere the achievements of MACRO this Oscar season, but to further causes that the company hold close, including the homeless community of Los Angeles.
“Let’s turn this party into a party of purpose and of reason. Let’s use our platform,” said Granberry in her speech at the pre-Oscar party.
Winding through the galleries and gardens of the Underground Museum, the award season celebration boasted a captivating DJ, an enchanted garden atmosphere, and some of Hollywood’s biggest names.
“Give people who have been held back opportunity — they’ll break the doors open,” said producer Debra Martin Chase to THR. Chase, the first African American female producer to strike a deal with a major studio, was among the trailblazers who entered the museum’s double doors.
She was joined by stars including legendary music producer Quincy Jones, actresses Tiffany Haddish and Gabourey Sidibe, and trailblazing directors Tim Story and Dee Rees, all joining together to keep the conversation of diversity within entertainment alive.
A message of love, unity, and determination was conveyed not only through those who were in attendance, but by the dynamic museum itself. Featuring a collection of work titled “Artists of Color,” the Underground served just as much of an importance throughout the evening.
“I’m crashing the party!” actress and Black Panther star Angela Bassett told THR, before noting the evening’s celebration of the wonderful work produced by people of color this year.
The praise within the evening continued for artist Noah Humes, 23, whose portraits of Oscar nominees were a focal point of the gallery. The paintings, including portraits of directors Guillermo Del Toro and Jordan Peele, and cinematographer Rachel Morrison, were consistently surrounded by a buzz of onlookers.
“This is my first public showing,” Humes told THR. “I just graduated from Otis. To see my art on display like this is amazing.
Humes was put in contact with MACRO and is an upcoming artist of color. The one thing he wants people to take from his work — personable emotion.
MACRO CEO and Founder Charles King encompassed the evening with his poignant words to THR.
“We started three years ago, to challenge the spectrum and to tell the stories that have yet to be told. We are a community of diversity, and a force moving forward,” King said. “MACRO as a company is honored and excited about the opportunity to continue inspiring like minded artists.” — Lou Vanhecke
Players: Swarovski Executive Board Member Nadja Swarovski, giving lots of attention to Zendaya’s dad and manager Kazembe Ajamu Coleman, while former Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts sparkled in a dream of peachy pastel colors.
Place: The London West Hollywood
Spread: A seemingly odd but delicious mix of spicy tuna and cucumber rolls, chicken empanadas, vegan samosas, tomato-mozzarella spits, herb pancakes with smoked salmon and creme fraiche, soft brownies, and mini filet mignon, all served as finger food with a glass — or more — of Chandon California Brut.
Inside Dish: “I wish we’d put that pink wig there,” Nadja Swarovski critiqued her own showcase display of Zendaya’s Swarovski crystal-peppered costume from The Greatest Showman after she gave the star’s dad a private tour of the designs exhibited. The two seemed to get along fabulously — despite both not showing up until about halfway into the cocktail reception — with Coleman offering Swarovski to get her into a party of her choice after Sunday’s big splash.
Also talking about Sunday’s Oscars was Derek McLane, who, for the sixth year in a row, designed the stage at the Dolby Theater. This year’s will include a combined 45 million Swarovski crystals. (For comparison: Last year’s only had 300,000.)
“It’s the 90th anniversary, so I wanted to do something spectacular,” said McLane, who met with engineers and designers at Swarovski’s headquarters in Wattens, Austria, last year, to brainstorm solutions on how to implement his vision. The massive crystal geode that will seam Sunday’s stage is designed as a nostalgic referral to the 1920s, when the Academy first awarded its honors, and when movie theaters still resembled palaces.
“Nobody makes movie palaces like that anymore,” McLane said. “Even the lobbies were an incredibly invitation to the public to see a movie. So it’s a celebration of that.” At Swarovski’s showcase cocktail party, guests got a first glimpse of that glamour, with a stunning crystal chandelier sparking up the bar area. Some took a taste of that sparkle home, as Swarovski offered an on-scene tote bag decor workshop at the beginning of the night.
How is McLane going to top his design next year — presuming the Academy calls him back for a seventh round? “I’ll come up with something,” he promised. For now, though, he’s the “local hero,” as Nadja Swarovski said, for whom this year’s extraordinary design is proof that, “the closer the relationship with a designer, the more impactful the outcome of the creativity is.”
THR asked whether Swarovski will be dressing anyone for the Oscars, and while Nadja Swarovski didn’t reveal any names yet, she said the company’s diamond collection will be on live-action display at the big show on Sunday. — Aziza Kasumov
Party: 9th Annual Red Carpet Green Dress Pre-Oscars Celebration
Players: Tesla Motor's Javier Verdura, actress and 2017 RCGD representative Priyanka Bose, actress Rila Fukushima, singers Chloe x Halle, former pro football player T.J. Slaughter, among others.
Place: Private residence in Hollywood Spread: The all-vegan menu included passed appetizers of quinoa patties with zucchini and sesame paste, garbanzo bean tostadas, avocado toast, wild mushroom polenta cakes and beet napoleon with cashew cheese. Desert included cashew cheesecake and rice pudding, and Absolut Elyx cocktails.
Inside Dish: The party, held at the private residence of Absolut Elyx CEO Jonas Tahlin, required guests to board a shuttle that navigated the winding Runyon Canyon-adjacent hills before arriving at the house. Once there, they sipped on Abslolut Elyx cocktails in the liquor's signature copper glasses while navigating the colorful, Old Hollywood glam of the home (and a heated outdoor patio covered by a tent to protect from the rain and cold weather).
While Get Out star Lakeith Stanfield, who partnered with Red Carpet Green Dress to wear sustainable clothing for this year's awards, had not yet arrived in Los Angeles in time for the soiree, organization founder Suzy Amis Cameron was there to toast her Oscars red-carpet-centered campaign, which promotes ethically and sustainably crafted, eco-friendly fashion and raises money for the Muse School CA, the eco-friendly school she co-founded with her sister in Calabasas, California. "Fashion is the second-largest polluter in the world," Amis Cameron told The Hollywood Reporter. By promoting eco-friendly fashion on the red carpet, Amis Cameron hopes to draw attention to the lack of sustainability in the industry.
"We have found these young actors and actresses who are really on the cutting edge, and they end up exploding afterwards. The first couple of years were really challenging, but now they are coming to us," she said of the campaign, which is now in its ninth year. Another challenge in the beginning: finding ethically and sustainably produced fabric sans harmful dyes and chemicals. It's getting easier now, but it's still a difficult prospect. "I have people telling me, 'Oh, you must wear sustainable clothes all the time.' Well I wish I could, but they're really really difficult to find," Amis Cameron said. "That is starting to shift as well, but my next goal is to create a clothing line with a price point that people can afford that are simple, clean lines that you can wear every single day."
Amis Cameron, along with her husband, director James Cameron, are is not attending the Oscar ceremony this year, but will instead watch from home in PJs with homemade pizza (by their 11-year-old ace baker daughter). In addition to Stanfield's film, Amis Cameron said she and the family are also rooting for longtime friend Guillermo del Toro in the Best Director race. "He and Jim have been friends for a very, very, very long time. I got to meet him because of Jim and he's become very close to [the family] and he's fantastic." — Jean Bentley
Party: Dolby Labratories' Party
Players: Dolby president and CEO Kevin Yeaman; Dolby senior vp, cinema business group Doug Darrow; Dolby senior vp, content solutions and industry relations, Curt Behlmer and their colleagues hosted the party. Guests included most of the nominees in sound editing and sound mixing, among them, Baby Driver’s Julian Slater (sound editing and mixing) and Mary H. Ellis (sound mixing); Blade Runner 2049’s Mark Mangini and Theo Green (sound editing) and Ron Bartlett and Doug Hemphill (sound mixing); Dunkirk’s Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten (sound mixing) and Richard King (sound editing); and The Shape of Water’s Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira (sound editing) and Christian Cooke and Brad Zoern (sound mixing). Also seen at the event: 10-time Oscar nominated sound mixer Anna Behlmer, who received a Career Achievement Award last weekend at the Cinema Audio Society Awards; CAS president and Academy Award winner Mark Ulano; and retired Dolby exec David Gray, who for many years oversaw the sound and projection preparations for Oscar Night at the Dolby Theatre.
Place: The London West Hollywood, Penthouse
Spread: Sushi and other Hors d'oeuvres. Many guests were sipping champagne.
Inside Dish: This is a close-knit community and as the nominees arrived, they greeted each other with hugs and were catching up. Many gathered on the roof deck to enjoy the view. Nominated sound editor (Blade Runner 2049) and Academy Award winner Mark Mangini was all smiles and summed up the mood: “I’m very proud to be part of this sound community, because it's very collegial. We are encouraging and congratulating each other. And Gregg Landaker — who is nominated for Dunkirk, and this is his last film [he’s retiring] — if I don’t win and he wins, I will be thrilled.”
“Every day’s been more fun than the next!,” said Baby Driver sound mixing nominee Mary H. Ellis, the only woman nominated in the category this year (this is her first nomination), who had a crowd around her.
She shared, “The support, the love, and the outreach that I have received from women in this business—and the young women--to me, has been one of the most heartwarming and gratifying things. I think the millennials are realizing that there’s nothing, we as women, can’t do. You’ve got to believe it, and believe in yourself, and you got to be supportive of your peers.”
It’s been a busy week for Dolby, but the company’s Curt Behlmer confirmed that the sound and projection equipment at the Dolby Theatre is prepped and ready for Sunday.
The Oscar’s Sistahs Soiree
Players: Host Alfre Woodard, honorees Mary J. Blige, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish and guests Aisha Tyler, Amandla Stenberg, Danai Gurira, Gabourey Sidibe, Janelle Monae and Rosario Dawson, among others.
Place: Royal Suite at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel
Spread: A tasty seafood buffet of local sauteed prawns, crispy rock shrimp, vegetables and tofu, Dungeness crab cakes, oysters on half shell, jumbo gulf shrimp, lobster medallions, crab claws, crispy calamari cones, hamachi tartar, lobster salad sliders and sushi. The evening ended with a tarte au chocolat for dessert.
Inside Dish: “It’s like summer camp,” mused a thrilled Woodard, as the noise level inside the Royal Suite grew to the kind of levels usually reached only by giddy teenagers. With guests giggling and squealing at the sight of each other, it wasn’t hard to believe the women’s raves that the Sistah’s Soiree is like coming home to family. “It’s community,” said Black Panther's Danai Gurira, who attended for the second time. “Community is just about everything there is to have, when you get to lean on each other, support one another, process together and feel loved and affirmed. It’s an energy of celebration!”
Earlier in the evening Woodard, dressed in a white Badgley Mischka dress, had arrived before everyone else to check out the still-quiet scene for her ninth-annual fete celebrating women of color in film. As a waiter offered her a glass of Louis Roederer Champagne, she externalized her inner monologue on whether to have it or not, but passed, initially, to take pictures with actress Emayatzy Corinealdi who was the first guest to arrive. “I’m going to take one sip of this,” smiled Woodard as she returned to the tray, taking a glass after all, but turned down the veggie summer roll, to save herself from having to reapply her lipstick.
Her guests were all punctual, with Janelle Monae, Jada Pinkett Smith and Gaboure Sidibe arriving in rapid succession. In the hallway, Rosario Dawson was teaching Margaret Avery how to take a selfie. Dawson also decided to teach Avery about photobombing, as she stuck her head in Avery’s selfie with Gurira.
Sidibe recalled her first time at the event, in 2010, when she was Oscar nominated for Precious. “It was me and these 20 women I had watched all my life, that I respect and love and am a fan of. I remember, they all went around the table and gave me advice,” she said. Which piece of advice did she take to heart? “Not one,” laughed Sidibe. “There’s also a lot of vodka — the party was sponsored by Grey Goose that night. I’m sure it was good advice, though.”
Inside the main room, Pinkett Smith had long chat with Nia Long, both of whom once held stints on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air with Pinkett Smith’s husband, Will Smith. The Gotham and Girls Trip star admitted her outfit was made from a dress that she removed the top half from and paired with a satin shirt. “I bought it. It’s mine. I do what I want, I own it,” Pinkett Smith told THR. “That’s why I like to buy things, because sometimes for my size I have to transform things. Hopefully the designer will like it, but if they don’t … oh well!”
Haddish also had a fashion dilemma, polling the red carpet reporters for an opinion on her Oscar dress. “My stylist wants me to wear this hand-crafted designer dress. Now, my father died last year, and before he died he said, ‘Always make sure you represent your people,’” said Haddish, who visited Eritrea and brought a dress back from the number-one designer in the country. “I want to wear this dress. It’s my time to pay homage to my father.” Does she care what other people think? “Hell no!” exclaimed Haddish. “Now, I don’t want to be disrespectful to the event, but it’s a pretty dress. I ain’t got my titties out, my bootie ain’t out. It ain’t see through. It’s elegant. So why not?”
Always the comedienne, Haddish ventured back to the step and repeat and managed to block a picture of Woodard and the Morgan Stanley sponsors, as she walked right in front of the trio, drink in hand. The Girls Trip actress then did a U-turn and handed her drink to a nearby guest so she could join the photo opp.
Ready to start the event, Woodard clinked her champagne glass to get the attention of her “Summer Camp” crew, but these ladies refused to calm down. Eventually they all focused their attention on their host and the room of 22 applauded the accomplishments of Blige, Haddish, Pinkett Smith and Hall.
"If you don’t make your presence known, you get written out of history,” said Woodard about why she throws the annual fete. “It was important to record, in this time, how many African American, Afro-Latinas, African Brits, Ethiopian-Irish girls, that we were working artists who were celebrated, who had track records, who were bankable. I don’t want people to have an excuse for not populating their films the way this country is populated.”
When it was time to take the annual group shot, the group did one animated take, with several of the women crossing their arms and yelling out “Wakanda Forever!” From Gurira, who represented Black Panther at the soiree, the gesture elicited claps and laughter. “I’m in the process of processing this,” the actress said. “[This is something] you couldn’t quite asked for, dreamt or imagined. You could never anticipate this type of a response.”
While the drinks flowed and the conversation never stopped, what Woodard said she loved most about being in the room with her multi-talented friends was defying expectation. “It flies in the face of what the world thinks of us, thinks of women, thinks of women actors,” she told THR. “And it flies in the face of those that would pit all of us as if we’re in competition for two freakin’ roles that say ‘Black Woman’. It flies in the face that people think women don’t naturally love and support each other.” — Carita Rizzo
Party: Global Green Pre-Oscar Party
Players: Buzz Aldrin stayed on brand by arriving in a suit covered in spaceships — and while most guests were bundled up against the cold, model Charlotte McKinney caused a stir by walking through the party in a revealing white dress. Ed O'Neil arrived with his wife Catherine Rusoff, who is a long time Global Green Board member. Leah Michelle, Lizzy Greene, Jane Seymour, John Salley, John Huertas, Garcelle Beauvais, among others.
Place: NeueHouse Hollywood
Spread: An organic family-style dinner with a starter salad of heirloom tomato with burrata and bail puree, lime and ginger grilled salmon with corn and lemongrass sauce entree or a vegan-friendly tempeh-stuffed portabella mushroom, sides included roasted fingerling potato lyonnaise and ginger-sauteed greens with shallots; dessert options included chocolate-banana torte with walnut rum caramel with a vegan option of chocolate pudding all provided by NeueHouse.
Inside Dish: Skipping limos and black SUVs, most stars arrived in zero-emissions hydrogen-powered electric fuel cell vehicles that would have made Elon Musk jealous, and then hurried through interviews on the outdoor green carpet to escape to the warmth of the party inside. "In my head I'm at the beach," young Nickelodeon star Lizzy Greene was overheard telling reporters about her coping strategy for dealing with the cold on a chilly LA night while wearing a thin party dress.
Inside the cavernous NeueHouse Hollywood event space, the party was packed with guests sipping tequila cocktails and waiting in a long line to receive a custom-made haiku written by two poets who were banging out verses on old typewriters in the back of the room. The energy was loud and raucous inside as indie rocker Lauren Ruth Ward kicked off the night with a powerhouse set. In NeueHouse's industrial-looking space, with concrete floors and high ceilings, art-deco chandeliers hung from the ceiling and gave the space a throwback ambience.
For perhaps the only time this week, celebrities were presenting awards instead of receiving them. Buzz Aldrin and Ed O'Neil honored Energy Independence Now Founder Terry Tamminen and Jake Bizilj, founder of Cinema for Peace, for their work combating climate change. In keeping with the spirit of the event, guests had a dinner of sustainable three-course dinner. There was some minor drama when it appeared that there were more guests than there were seats for dinner, but eventually organizers found a place for everyone. After dinner, O'Neil was seen walking out with two stuffed gift bags filled with Ecos environmentally friendly cleaning products.
The crowd was loud after dinner and host Ovie Mughelli had trouble restoring order before he introduced the musical headliner, 12-time Grammy nominee Ledisi. However, she took control of the room with her powerful voice and performed a 20 minute set that had her audience's full attention. Her soulful rendition of "It's A Wonderful World" was probably the highlight of the night.
A spirited auction followed the performance and thousands of dollars were raised to support climate change initiatives. The final totals may have been pushed up a bit by guests who had been served copious amounts of wine and cocktails. As the evening ended, attendees pulled their jackets out of the coat check and bundled up tight before braving a frigid L.A. night and climbing back into their eco-friendly, hydrogen-powered cars. — Alex Cramer
Party: ICON MANN 6th Annual Pre-Oscar Dinner
Players: Former AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs was honored at the dinner by longtime friends Quincy Jones, Halle Berry, Kobe Bryant, Common, Mykelti Williamson, ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey, and host Cedric the Entertainer. Other guests included Dee Rees, Terry Crews, Anika Noni Rose, Aldis Hodge, Nia Long, Dennis Haysbert, Black Panther costume designer Ruth Carter, TV Academy chairman and CEO Hayma Washington and NAACP president Derrick Johnson.
Place: Beverly Wilshire
Spread: The seated dinner included a blue cheese and pear salad, choice of snapper with saffron rice and asparagus, short ribs with roasted potatoes and vegetables or vegan curried garbanzo bean with rice and a dark chocolate mousse with yuzu-raspberry gelee for dessert.
Inside Dish: The organization, which champions the positive imagining of black men, chose Isaacs as the first recipient of its first-ever Legacy Award. The marketing and publicity exec, who served on the Academy's Board of Governors for more than two decades, was praised by celebs like Berry, Williamson and Bryant for her groundbreaking position as the first black female president of the Academy, and by Common, who performed a verse from his song "The Day Women Took Over."
In her speech, Isaacs mentioned diversifying the Academy's membership as one of her greatest accomplishments — "The strides we have made and we will continue to make is just beautiful to me," she said — and she told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet before the dinner that she's happy that the conversation now includes "films that really represent where artists are today."
"It's about membership, to bring in people who meet the criteria so the conversation gets to be wider, the conversation itself gets to be more diverse," she told THR. "What is important is there's a buzz that's been going on and I think that is marvelous for the industry as a whole."
While host Cedric the Entertainer, Berry, Williamson and others presented before the main course, during a dinner break guests were able to mingle in the Beverly Wilshire ballroom. Crews chatted with Rose and Hodge, Dungey caught up with Long, and Berry and Bryant held court in the front of the room. After the meal saw speeches from Bryant, Common and Jones (who, despite an eager crowd ready for some unfiltered commentary, kept his comments mostly non-controversial, aside from cracks about Isaacs' booty and Berry's legs).
A musical performance by pianist ELEW had the crowd softly singing along to Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody" (a highlight of his medley, which also included famous film score moments like the main cue from Mission: Impossible, a film Boone Isaacs was instrumental in marketing).
While the last Oscar ceremony Boone Isaacs oversaw as Academy president included the infamous envelope mix-up that saw La La Land mistakenly declared as Best Picture winner rather than actual winner Moonlight, she said it wasn't indicative of any failing on the part of the Academy.
"The Academy is fine. One person took his eye off the ball for a few seconds," she said. "What it shows is how live television actually is, because it certainly wasn't planned. It certainly wasn't a series of missteps — [it was] one thing, but that's what can happen."
She also said she is looking forward to enjoying the ceremony as a civilian this year. "I can't wait," she told THR. "That'll be great." — Jean Bentley