The Hollywood Reporter's staffers were on the scene at all the star-packed celebrations surrounding Oscar weekend.
Take a break from filling out your Oscars ballot and step behind the velvet ropes for the inside dish from the biggest parties, events and gatherings surrounding the film industry's biggest night. A-listers partied this year in celebration of Sunday's 92st Academy Awards as THR staffers made the rounds at the annual festivities and star-studded soirees including stops at Vanity Fair's starry post-Oscars party, MPTF's annual Night Before fundraiser, the post-show Governors Ball and a detour to the beach for Film Independent Spirit Awards hosted by Aubrey Plaza. Follow along for an insider look into this year's top Oscar-week events.
Party: Vanity Fair Oscar Party
Players: Hosted by Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Radhika Jones and attended by winners Bong Joon-ho, Joaquin Phoenix, Renée Zellweger, Brad Pitt, Laura Dern, Taika Waititi, Bernie Taupin, Roger Deakins, Bombshell’s makeup team Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker, Hair Love’s Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver and Marshall Curry; guests Charlize Theron, Adam Sandler, Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig, Scarlett Johansson, Colin Jost, Adam Driver, Timothee Chalamet, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Antonio Banderas, Jon Hamm, John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Jake Gyllenhaal, Florence Pugh, Michael B. Jordan, Sarah Paulson, Gabrielle Union, Dwayne Wade, Olivia Wilde, Roman Griffin Davis, Kaitlyn Dever, Cynthia Erivo, Gal Gadot, Greta Gerwig, Salma Hayek-Pinault, Kate Hudson, Regina King, Diane Lane, Kerry Washington, Sigourney Weaver, Reese Witherspoon, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Shia LaBeouf, Jeff Bezos with Lauren Sanchez, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, Ryan Murphy, Pedro Almodovar, Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, Jon M. Chu, Christopher Miller, Phil Lord, Tom Ford, Christian Siriano, Donatella Versace, Jeremy Scott, Katie Couric, Ronan Farrow, Lachlan Murdoch, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Kanye West, Hailey Baldwin, Solange Knowles, Miguel, Russell Wilson, Ciara, Odell Beckham, Jr. and dozens more.
Place: A custom-designed space (by Basil Walter, Brenda Bello, Ayvind Karlsen and Jose Abreu of BWArchitects) in the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts complex in Beverly Hills.
Served: Following an exclusive viewing dinner (by New York's Frenchette) for close to 100 VIPs, guests noshed on coveted In-N-Out burgers, fried chicken boxes, buckwheat corndogs, pommes frites, truffle and cheese montecristos, truffle pizza, mini ice cream sandwiches, vegan churros, black and white milkshakes and, at the valet, sausage egg and cheese on buckwheat English muffins, and pastries by Frenchette including vegan donut holes. At the bar: Judy’s Highball (Johnnie Walker Black Label, gingered honey, fresh lemon juice and club soda), Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Jojo’s Old Fashioned (Johnnie Walker Black Label, Lillet Blanc, Benedictine liquer and orange bitters) and the Bombshell (Tequila Don Julio 70 Anejo Claro, Paula LeDuc custom lime syrup, hellfire tincture).
Inside Dish: Chrissy Metz took two steps into Vanity Fair's annual Oscar party just before 11:30 p.m. and stopped to stare.
A group of black tie-clad singers had just launched into a cover of the Bruno Mars hit "Finesse," and the actress and part-time singer — fresh from performing the Diane Warren nominated track "I'm Standing With You" for upwards of 26 million people on the telecast — wanted to take it in. Standing next to Abigail Spencer, Metz belted out a few notes and danced a little but mostly stood there with her mouth agape at the spectacle of it all. She didn't even notice model Alessandra Ambrosio posing for pics and Roma star Yalitza Aparicio gliding past security over both shoulders. "Entering a party will never be the same!"
Seconds later, Metz herself had made it past security to the top of the powder blue-grey carpet where she was greeted by an event rep who congratulated her on the performance. Not the one at the entrance, the one on TV. "I think everybody was more nervous than I was," Metz explained. "After rehearsals and everything, it's not what you think. You just let it go."
That last part — letting it go — is the best party advice for walking into Vanity Fair's annual and iconic Oscar party where every face is famous and the starry scene can be just as overwhelming as you think. It's true that Vanity Fair's once-dominant afterparty has shifted slightly due to competition from Beyoncé and Jay-Z's late-night event at Chateau Marmont and even other party players like Netflix. But it's also true that no room on Oscar night compares to the crowd Vanity Fair still commands.
All four acting Oscar winners were there, as was the film industry's biggest champ, Bong Joon Ho. A photographer was quick to point out that in a back corner Timothée Chalamet was hanging out with the music industry's biggest champ, Billie Eilish. Jeff Bezos was keeping close to Al Pacino, Brad Pitt was accepting congratulations from Kanye West and Jake Gyllenhaal was getting fresh air on the terrace where Michael B. Jordan was carrying two Don Julio drinks. Finding Chalamet and Eilish, however, proved to be too big of a task because first there was Tracee Ellis Ross with the "Ahh! Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!" at the sight of best animated short winner Matthew A. Cherry, who received the exclamations and a hug as Kelvin Harrison Jr. looked on.
Charlize Theron didn't notice as she emerged from a back corner (one contained a custom-built portrait studio for photographer Mark Seliger), heading straight to the bar with publicist Amanda Silverman in tow. They breezed past a crowd that included Geena Davis, who had a one-word answer for what she thought of the show. “Fabulous,” said the Thelma & Louise star, who got a nice mention by Brad Pitt during his best supporting actor acceptance speech. “A lot of people said great things about women and diversity.” That was about all the great things she could say, admittedly because she was “starting to fade” and ready to head home.
Near the exit, but not quite ready to go, was presenter Ray Romano, who was standing by himself, surveying the star-packed scene. "It was nerve-wracking," Romano told THR of his night — the presenting-at-the-Oscars part. "It was my first time here at the Oscars and to do that, present and have to be funny is the trifecta."
He was feeling good about how it went — even the part when he got bleeped for an f-bomb while presenting with Sandra Oh — but he said he's going to "have to look at the tape" to be sure. "I got a good vibe, though. I would say an 8 out of 10." He barely got the ranking out before Lin-Manuel Miranda walked over. Romano stopped him to say hello and compare notes.
"I had a great time," Miranda said, joined by wife Vanessa. "It was very low-pressure for me. I just had to intro a clip but I got to tell the world that Anthony Ramos is a movie star. I was his publicist tonight. I feel like John the Baptist." Romano, however, wanted to talk about another historical figure. "I hear some good things about the Hamilton movie..." to which Miranda said it's been in a vault for nearly four years after filming it with the original Broadway cast. Disney picked it up and scheduled a release for October 2021, and while the two discussed the particulars of that deal, Vanessa was ready to sign a contract of her own. "Let her host my life," she said of Maya Rudolph, who delivered her favorite moment of the night while presenting with Kristin Wiig.
Jojo Rabbit's pint-sized star Roman Griffin Davis picked two other stars as his personal faves: Jojo boss Taika Waititi and Joker winner Joaquin Phoenix. In just a few minutes' time, Phoenix will be standing in that exact same spot with last year's best actor winner, Rami Malek but not for long. After the crush of flashbulbs, they disappeared to the outdoor terrace which, unlike most Hollywood parties, was packed with smokers all night long. Even Abigail Breslin lit up and sat down on a bench to enjoy a cigarette as one guest asked, "Is she old enough to smoke?" The answer is yes: Little Miss Sunshine is 23.
There were teenagers there, though. Noah Jupe, 14, showed off his moves on the dance floor in the Spotify Music Lounge not far from where Wiz Khalifa was smoking a blunt in a banquette next to the DJ booth (occupied by DJ Mateo). That is until security saw smoke. Khalifa took one more puff and then put it out on the floor. In an adjacent booth, the women of Euphoria held court with Waves star Taylor Russell, smoke free.
Meanwhile, costume design nominee Sandy Powell was partying with a purpose. Carrying a sharpie, she was gathering as many autographs as possible...on her suit. Moments after Billy Porter gave his John Hancock, Powell explained to THR that she will be auctioning the threads off in London with the Art Fund as part of a campaign to save Prospect Cottage. "It's Derek Jarman's house in Dungeness and he was my mentor, friend and he kickstarted my career." About $3.5 million is needed by the end of March in order to turn the cottage into a haven for artists, filmmakers and creative types. "I really would love to have Elton's signature," Powell said, but she was already proud of snagging ink from Bong Joon Ho, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.
If she got Elton John, it wasn't at Vanity Fair. The Oscar winner wasn't expected as the clock ticked closer to 1 a.m., which proved to be the time when many headed for the doors and onto the next stop. Many were heading to Madonna and Guy Oseary's annual Coldwater Canyon party (even though Madge was in London for a series of shows on her current tour) or making their way to Bey and Jay's party. By the valet, Scooter Braun shared a moment with Eilish as Billy Porter made plans to "see you there" to Regina King. UTA agent Jeremy Barber led his clients Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig to a waiting SUV. Baumbach grabbed Gerwig's hand until they got to the curb, then he let it go as they both climbed in the back. — Chris Gardner
Party: Gucci and Guy Oseary's The Party
Players: Adele, Anthony Anderson, Trevor Andrew, Jennifer Aniston, Anita, Judd Apatow, Maude Apatow, Antonio Banderas, Kate Beckinsale, Peter Berg, Jeff Bezos, Lucy Boyton, Gerard Butler, Timothée Chalamet, John Cho, Olivia Colman, Sean Combs, Bradley Cooper, Courteney Cox, Darren Criss, Penelope Cruz, Robert De Niro, Lana Del Rey, Laura Dern, Zooey Deschanel, Zoey Deutch, Kaitlyn Dever, Leonardo DiCaprio, Diplo, Snoop Dogg, Natalie Dormer, Adam Driver, Minnie Driver, Billie Eilish, Sara Foster, G-Eazy, Greta Gerwig, Tiffany Haddish, HAIM, Jon Hamm, Chelsea Handler, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Tony Hawk, Salma Hayek Pinault, Christina Hendricks, Vanessa Hudgens, Kate Hudson, Arianna Huffington, Oscar Isaac, Elton John and David Furnish, Dakota Johnson, Rashida Jones, Khloé Kardashian, Kim Kardashian West, Kourtney Kardashian, Heidi Klum, Ashton Kutcher, Jennifer Lawrence, Adam Levine, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez, Rami Malek, Leslie Mann, Chrissy Metz, Jennifer Meyer, Miguel, Demi Moore, Olivia Munn, Hari Nef, Anna Paquin, Brad Pitt, Aubrey Plaza, Zac Posen, Florence Pugh, Charlie Puth, Margaret Qualley, Jeremy Renner, Christina Ricci, Nicole Richie, Emma Roberts, Chris Rock, Mark Ruffalo, Josh Safdie, Adam Sandler, Martin Scorsese, Sarah Silverman, Miles Teller, Tessa Thompson, Taika Waititi, The Weeknd, Kanye West, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Kristen Wiig, will.i.am, Rumer Willis, Scout Willis, Tallulah Willis, Rebel Wilson, Zedd and Renée Zellweger.
Place: Oseary's house
Inside Dish: For Oseary's 13th annual star-studded Oscars party, he teamed with Gucci for a Moulin Rouge inspired bash with red velvet decor and chandeliers (sadly Nicole Kidman wasn't there to witness it). Attendees including De Niro, Dern, Zellweger and Waititi got their portraits taken by French photographer JR that were published by Time magazine. The Scorsese family made it their third stop of the night, leaving alongside other guests with a specially designed Gucci GG handbag reading "The Party 2.9.20" inside to mark the occasion. — Lindsay Weinberg
Party: Neon and CJ Entertainment's Parasite Viewing Dinner and After Party
Players: Guests of honor who attended were led by Bong Joon Ho and included cast members Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-Jjong, Choi Woo-shik and Park So-dam, billionaire producer Miky Lee, Neon chief Tom Quinn and guests included John Cho, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood star Mike Moh, Quincy Jones, Bombshell director Jay Roach, Game of Thrones star Alfie Allen, The Farewell star Tzi Ma and hundreds of others.
Place: Soho House West Hollywood
Served: A Korean-inspired menu to celebrate the South Korean film, including bulgogi and corn cheese egg rolls, Korean fried chicken, vegetables and gochujang hummus, noodles, bulgogi rice roll, cucumber kimchi, traditional Korean chips and more with selections by Bibigo Kitchen.
Inside Dish: After Bong Joon Ho picked up his second Oscar during what would eventually be a triumphant Oscar telecast for his Parasite crew, text messages started flying around Hollywood: Get to the Parasite party now!
The rumors turned out to be right: Initially planned as an intimate viewing dinner to celebrate the Neon film's six Oscar nominations followed by a celebratory afterparty, the event turned into a wild and frenzied affair. Some guests waited upwards of 90 minutes to secure an entrance to one of the night's hottest invites and celebrate with the 50-year-old Bong. An overflow space was utilized at nearby Boa, where guests were treated to food and drink while awaiting a text message that the fire marshal had finally approved more guests to get into the party.
And what a celebration it was: Event planner Gina Wade Creative transformed the private membership club into a virtual Parasite playground. There was a photo booth experience where guests could transport themselves onto a Parasite-style movie poster with selections of subtitles. Karaoke rooms kept other guests busy while some left the singing to K-pop group A.C.E. Baskets of fake peaches were placed in the restaurant and kitchen spaces, while neon and Neon signs lit up various rooms. Small replicas of the scholar’s rock from the movie were handed out as small party favors.
While revelers waited on the guests of honor to land at Soho House, the most popular person at the party was executive producer Miky Lee, who had a constant swarm of people around her, with many asking for photos. But the party really got going when Bong and his Parasite cast arrived around 12:45 a.m. and headed for a VIP section in the back of the garden area. Song Kang Ho got up on a chair and held one of the film's many Oscars aloft to cheers from the crowd. The energy kicked up even higher thanks to chants "Bong Joon Ho! Bong Joon Ho!" over and over.
To those who haven't been keeping close tabs on the filmmaker's career, the frenzy may seem like an overnight success, but that's not the case, says Neon chief Tom Quinn. "It's a brilliant movie, but he's been making brilliant movies for over 20 years. He's never made a bad movie," Quinn told THR inside the bash. "He's been building currency and fans across this industry steadily back to 2000. This movie is the culmination of incredible talent and fandom throughout the industry but also inside of our cinema culture."
The Parasite crew only stayed inside the party until 1:30 p.m. before being escorted down the stairs and into a side hallway. Word is they were going for a quick costume change before hitting up a Koreatown establishment where, presumably, the all-night drinking Bong Joon Ho mentioned on the stage would continue. — with reporting by Rebecca Sun, Chris Gardner and Mia Galuppo
And a throwback for the real Koreans in the audience! H/t '90s K-pop aficionado @ForLaDolceVita for ID'ing this cover of H.O.T.'s "Hope."— Rebecca Sun (@therebeccasun) February 10, 2020
'90s hip hop at Soho House?! Only a world in which #Parasite is the #Oscars2020 Best Picture! pic.twitter.com/RZ6nSyRAsE
"You are the life of the party right now," gushes a well-wisher to CJ's Miky Lee, who built her family's media empire (and Korea's modern entertainment industry) nearly from scratch 25 years ago and now is exec producer of #Oscars Best Picture #parasite https://t.co/qiKdE9bVT2 pic.twitter.com/WpaSoNEVq7— Rebecca Sun (@therebeccasun) February 10, 2020
Views inside @ParasiteMovie party at Soho House that is packed around every corner with Korean bbq stations, DJ Ana Calderon, k-pop group performing and stars like Alfie Allen. #Oscars pic.twitter.com/iBkuuVhu26— Chris Gardner (@chrissgardner) February 10, 2020
Party: 28th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party
Players: Skylar Astin, JC Chasez, Erika Christensen, Taye Diggs, Vivica A. Fox, G-Eazy, Tyrese Gibson, Harry Hamlin, Colton Haynes, Anny Heche, Christina Hendricks, Derek Hough, Ernie Hudson, Caitlyn Jenner, Quincy Jones, Keegan-Michael Key, Chaka Khan, Heidi Klum, Robert Kraft, Diane Lane, Jason Lewis, Leona Lewis, Judith Light, Billy Magnussen, Kelly Osbourne, Sharon Osbourne, Our Lady J, Eric McCormack, RJ Mitte, Wendell Pierce, Billy Porter, Andrew Rannells, Christina Ricci, Smokey Robinson, Nile Rodgers, Jane Seymour, Troye Sivan, Sharon Stone, Bernie Taupin, Donatella Versace, Dita Von Teese, Mary Wilson, Billy Zane all attended the event, which was hosted by Netflix’s Queer Eye Fab Five: Bobby Berk, Tan France, Karamo Brown, Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness.
Place: The City of West Hollywood Park
Served: Parsnip Granny Smith Apple Soup, pan seared branzino, pear raspberry tart with pear mousse
Inside Dish: If ever there was a year to attend Elton John's annual fundraiser bash, it was this one, when the legendary singer-songwriter, 72, showed up fashionably late to his own party with a new man on his arm: Oscar.
For the first few hours, guests had to worship their idol from afar — and pray he’d win his category. Their optimism paid off. After an energetic performance of “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman, John and longtime songwriting partner and best friend Bernie Taupin were named winners of the best original song Oscar, sending the tentful of 900 partiers into a frenzy. The décor inside the dining room was dark and sexily tropical, with zebra-print table cloths and birds of paradise centerpieces. During commercial breaks, the evening’s hosts, the Queer Eye Fab Five — who filled in while John was at the Dolby — emerged to encourage donations and promote the EJAF’s initiatives. Other starry guests occasionally popped up to say hi: Heidi Klum, Donatella Versace and Andrew Rannells, among them.
The Hollywood Reporter was seated at a plum perch near the table of honor, just steps away from Quincy Jones, whose security detail eyed the proceedings from the back of the tent. To our left was an editor of a major Conde Nast title; to our right, executives from Facebook and Instagram. Two tables away, Sharon Osbourne and daughter Kelly Osbourne stood for much of the evening. Robert Kraft, billionaire owner of the New England Patriots, lingered with a tall female companion, and was gracious when a pair of Pats fans approached him for a huddle.
The annual live auction was another battle of the big spenders, as Sharon Stone — a seasoned auction vet thanks to her years hosting amfAR galas — took to the stage to goad invitees into opening up their wallets. “I can smell money,” Stone said as she stalked the stage. The lots this year included a signed photo portrait of young Leonardo DiCaprio and a collage-like portrait by hot artist Nathaniel Mary Quinn (that ultimately went to Sir Elton himself for north of $200,000). When auctioning off tickets to a secret Versace fashion show, Stone asked if Donatella Versace had already left the party for Vanity Fair’s bash — then praised The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, the FX miniseries that Donatella famously tried to stop from happening. (Hopefully Donatella had already left.)
By far the highlight of the evening was Sir Elton’s entrance, captured on video by THR. After giving an impromptu and very brief press conference, John and Taupin excused themselves so that they could join the auction already underway. John then stomped down the hallway with purpose — not even husband David Furnish imploring him say hello to Quincy Jones could distract him — and entered the main dining room to whoops of approval.
“Am I interrupting the auction?” he asked after taking the stage, triumphantly clutching his Oscar in a resplendent purple tuxedo jacket and bejeweled green bowtie. “Have we made any money? Not enough! Come on, I’m here now. Come on, you skinflints!” A surprise item — a Yamaha grand piano used in the filming of Rocketman, was the next lot put up for auction. Sir Elton took song requests ($20,000 each, if you please) and tickled the ivories as bids on the instrument shot high as a kite.
Then U.K. artist Sam Fender — a model-handsome singer-songwriter with a powerful singing voice — took the stage with a six-piece rock outfit for a soulful set. “When I’m not ripping off Bruce Springsteen,” he said introducing one song, “I’m ripping off the Manchester bands I grew up with.” John accompanied him onstage for one song.
In all, the party raised over $6.4 million. After the viewing party ended, a second wave of partygoers streamed into the venue, ready to celebrate with a living legend. For others, however, it was time to make another party stop. “What do you think — Vanity Fair? For 10 minutes?” Paramount Pictures CEO Jim Giannopoulos asked his companions as they shuffled toward the exit. — Seth Abramovitch
Party: Governors Ball
Players: Virtually all winners, who must attend to get their statuettes engraved with their names, showed up.
Place: Dolby Ballroom
Served: A full Wolfgang Puck spread including famous smoked salmon Oscar statuettes plus, passed around chicken pot pie and macaroni, and chefs dished out burrata nearby.
Inside Dish: Immediately after the show, a chunk of attendees made their way up the escalators from the Dolby to the Hollywood & Highland Center, past a bank of photographers and videographers hoping to interview big-name guests (Bob Iger was among those who stopped), and into a ballroom for the Governors Ball, hosted by the Academy's board of governors.
Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, the married directors of best documentary feature Oscar winner American Factory, were swarmed by well-wishers — and hugged by Netflix vp indie films and doc features Lisa Nishimura, who admired their statuettes — as they tried to make their way to the closed-door engraving station in the back of the room. Once there, Reichert approached one of the engravers, who shocked her by greeting her by her name. “How did you know?!” she asked. “You must have pictures!” She peered over the engraving counter but there were no pictures.
Reichert and Bognar eventually found a corner of the room claimed by Team Netflix, where Ted Sarandos hugged and posed for photos with them, Nishimura and vp original doc film & limited series Adam Del Deo. Shortly thereafter, best supporting actress Oscar winner — and Academy governor representing the actors branch — Laura Dern found her way over and had a big embrace for Sarandos.
Other Academy governors were spotted throughout the room, including film editors branch governor Carol Littleton, who was with her husband John Bailey, a former governor of the cinematographer branch and past Academy president. The couple dined and chatted with friends in an area with seats and tables. Nearby: former PR branch governors Cheryl Boone Isaacs (another past president, accompanied by her son and his girlfriend) and Marvin Levy (accompanied by son Don Levy).
In the center of the ballroom, Diane Warren, a best original song nominee for Breakthrough’s “I’m Standing with You,” processed the fact that she remains winless after 11 noms spanning five decades: “Fuck!” she exclaimed, taking a moment away from a conversation with Gerard Butler and Italian film fest maestro Pascal Vicedomini. “At least I’m consistent.” She added, “I’m like the Terminator: I’ll be back.” — Scott Feinberg
Party: Bryon Allen's Entertainment Studios Oscar Gala
Players: Byron Allen, Maroon 5, Tiffany Haddish, Quincy Jones, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Raven-Symone, Chris Tucker, Candy Spelling, Loni Love, Russell Peters and more all attended.
Place: Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills
Served: Following a formal sit-down dinner, tray-passed sliders, grilled cheese, chicken tenders and French fries.
Inside Dish: For a fourth year, Byron Allen hosted his Oscars watch party in support of Children's Hospital Los Angeles, which brought together some of his famous friends to celebrate the telecast while also raising funds for kids in need. Jamie Foxx, who has hosted previous years and was set to take center stage once again, never showed up. Rumors flying around the event suggested that Foxx had the flu, leaving healthy stand-ins Tiffany Haddish and Chris Tucker to take the gig.
After attendees filled out Oscar ballots and stuffed teddy bears at the Build-A-Bear Foundation lounge, Haddish took the stage with Allen to lead the annual auction, which, with former Lakers Derek Fisher and Ron Artest in the house, included multiple Kobe Bryant-related items. In speaking about the superstar's recent death, Allen said, "Our hearts are broken into a million pieces — we will always love and protect his family and honor his memory every day," before auctioning off multiple items and plaques with Bryant's signature. At one point Fisher threw in a basketball lesson for 8 young girls in honor of Bryant and daughter Gigi.
At the end of the auction, which raised more than $1 million for Children's Hospital, Haddish auctioned herself off for a date, starting at a very affordable $15 before finalizing a $6,000 sale picked up by a woman. The plan? Lunch for two at Beverly Hills hotspot Spago. "We're gonna have some fun, we're gonna be out in these streets," Haddish joked as Allen, clearly worried about the optics of the star auctioning herself off, said, "I'm not responsible for whatever happens, I want nothing to do with that. I'm so nervous right now."
Carrying the party into the evening, Maroon 5 came on stage for an hour-long set of their hits, with Raven-Symoné dancing front row and guests clamoring for the finger foods being passed around. Frontman Adam Levine voiced his support for Children's Hospital and played a rotation of songs "for the kids" and for the older crowd, wrapping before midnight as attendees hit last call at the bar and trickled out. — Kirsten Chuba
Party: Mercedes-Benz Oscar Viewing Party
Players: Jon Hamm, Rashida Jones, Tracee Ellis Ross, Anthony Anderson, will.i.am, Linda Cardellini, Jane Lynch, Martha Stewart, Carson Kressley, Calum Worthy, Trevor Jackson, Ross Butler, Madelaine Petsch and Thomas Doherty all attended.
Place: Four Seasons Los Angeles
Served: An appetizer bar of meats, cheeses, fruit, nuts and popcorn, along with tray-passed mini yellowtail tacos, sliders, twice-baked potato bites and sushi rolls, followed by a dessert bar with cake pops, pastries and mini cupcakes.
Inside Dish: The annual Mercedes-Benz soiree, which serves as the go-to spot to watch the Oscars for those actors, musicians, athletes and industry folk not attending the show, returned this year with a longtime voice of the car company's commercials, Jon Hamm.
"I'm very excited for Kathy [Bates] hopefully tonight, fingers crossed, she deserves it," the star told THR of rooting on his Richard Jewell co-star in the supporting actress category. Hamm also revealed he was pushing for "Jojo Rabbit hard — I love it, I love Taika [Waititi], he's a friend of mine, and that little Roman [Griffin Davis] is a real treat and Scarlett [Johansson] was phenomenal in it, Sam [Rockwell] again — everyone was so good in it. It's just one of those movies that has so much heart and is so creative and interesting. I hope it wins."
On the carpet, Jane Lynch and Martha Stewart embraced as Carson Kressley approached High Fidelity's Thomas Doherty to compliment and find out the maker of his suit: "That means a lot coming from you," Doherty replied.
Inside the party, which featured dozens of screens airing the show along with a portrait studio, beauty lounge, astrology readings, and scoreboard to cast best picture votes, Anthony Anderson held court in the private VIP area of the ballroom, catching up with will.i.am and greeting former Lakers star Ron Artest. Linda Cardellini chatted with her friends in one corner, as Rashida Jones made an early exit, 13 Reason Why's Ross Butler mingled and The Act's Calum Worthy grabbed a cake pop to go.
As the Oscars telecast wound down, with Joaquin Phoenix and Renee Zellweger both giving long and winding one speeches, one guest wondered, "Which speech is crazier, hers or Joaquin's?" Like many in the Dolby, the party crowd exploded with Parasite's wins for best director and best picture, and quickly emptied as the show ended to continue onto the afterparties. — Kirsten Chuba
Party: IFC's post-Spirit Awards party in celebration of its 20th anniversary
Players: Best feature winning filmmaker Lulu Wang arrived with boyfriend Barry Jenkins, best supporting male winner Willem Dafoe, his Lighthouse director Robert Eggers, Mary Kay Place, Karen Allen, Wendell Pierce, Tyler L. Cook, Jim Gaffigan, Ethan Embry, Marc Maron, Alexi Pappas, Aya Cash, Heather Matarazzo, Doug Benson and more attended.
Place: The Bungalow Santa Monica
Served: The vegan trend was represented at the Ocean Avenue-facing fete, courtesy of Impossible Burgers: The company's food was served alongside both beef and fried chicken sliders on a buffet line that also included truffle and sweet potato fries. Making the rounds were servers offering trays filled with spring rolls with tofu, chicken satay with peanut sambai, shrimp satay, veggie samosas and a generous spread of IFC Films-branded desserts to help sweeten IFC's milestone anniversary.
Inside Dish: In the parking lot, Lulu Wang posed for a photo next to Portrait of a Lady on Fire filmmaker Céline Sciamma while her boyfriend, Barry Jenkins, held both her award for best feature as well as her purse. "Two of MY favorite filmmakers, one of them holding my purse all night," tweeted Wang, responding to Jenkins tweet that he was with his two favorite filmmakers.
Two of MY favorite filmmakers, one of them holding my purse all night. https://t.co/N5qaadh4fS— Lulu Wang (@thumbelulu) February 9, 2020
As of late Saturday night, the tweet had more than 5,000 likes and it seemed as if there were that many well-wishers waiting for them inside the party where the indie power couple was greeted with cheers and congratulations over Wang's big victory. She arrived with the best escort possible in Jenkins since he knows the feeling: He won best feature Spirit Awards for If Beale Street Could Talk and Moonlight.
THR wasn't able to steal a moment to chat with Wang at the event but did manage to get a recorder in front of guest Marc Maron to get his always-unfiltered take on the day's big show. "The show was great, Aubrey Plaza did a great job hosting. Adam [Sandler] was so funny and the Safdies were good. I thought it was a very kind of old-school award show that felt revamped in an edgy way," Maron said. "And it worked. I was here a few years ago and it was kind of tedious, but today, it was punchy and funny."
Favorite winner? "Sandler. I was really happy for Sandler and I'm not always happy for Sandler."
Robert Eggers said he was very happy for his collaborator Willem Dafoe, who walked away with a Spirit Award for his supporting work opposite Robert Pattinson in The Lighthouse, which got spoofed during the main event by host Aubrey Plaza with surprise cameo by Michael Shannon. "It's a huge honor to be spoofed and I was very impressed with the set [they created] and the lighting. It was cool," said Eggers, who was fielding compliments about his work all night from eager indie film lovers. He was eager to pass the love on to Dafoe. "Willem is one of the greatest actors that's ever lived and it's just a privilege that he somehow wanted to work with me. Being recognized for his work doesn't ever surprise me because he's just brilliant. He's just superhuman."
Eggers said he was following the advice of his mother by attending Sunday's Oscar telecast in support of his nominated cinematographer Jarin Blaschke, with whom he was working on shot lists on the Spirit Awards blue carpet earlier in the afternoon as they are due back at work promptly for their viking project The Northman. "I shouldn't be here right now and even tomorrow because we've got work to do but my mom said, 'Your second movie got nominated for an Oscar. Don't be a fool. You should go.' " — Chris Gardner
More views inside @IFCFilms party where the company was prompting upcoming films like Olympic Dreams, Premature, Swallow, The Truth, Resistance, The Painted Bird, Thr True History of the Kelly Gang, How to Build a Girl, The Tripp’s to Greece. pic.twitter.com/yoyYZLdgAa— Chris Gardner (@chrissgardner) February 9, 2020
Party: WME Oscar Party
Players: Nominees Joaquin Phoenix and Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael B. Jordan (who celebrated his Feb. 9 birthday later in the night with Bacardi-hosted private party at Delilah), Mahershala Ali, Billy Ray Cyrus, nominee Florence Pugh, Jonah Hill, Maria Sharapova, Julia Fox, presenter Beanie Feldstein, last year's best actor winner Rami Malek, Miley Cyrus, Gary Clark Jr., Josh Gad, Tyler the Creator, Jake Gyllenhaal, Amber Heard, Liam Hemsworth, Chloe Grace Moretz, Vince Vaughn, Usher, Jeremy Scott, Zac Posen, John C. Reilly, Octavia Spencer, Adam Sandler, Wiz Khalifa, Janelle Monae, Brooklyn Beckham, Dakota Johnson, Jason Momoa, Josh Safdie and Halima Aden all attended, among many others.
Place: Private residence, Beverly Hills
Served: The agency switched up its annual event this year by going vegan, partnering with Nic’s on Beverly Boulevard to cater, a decision that was made on behalf of client Joaquin Phoenix. The Joker star — who urged awards show organizers to be animal-friendly this season during his trophy haul for the Todd Phillips film — led the charge that created change at the Golden Globes, SAG Awards and Critics Choice Awards. The menu for WME was entirely plant-based – from tray-passed hors d'oeuvres to the buffet to the dessert, featuring a fully vegan spread from The Messy Table LA – in a nod to the ongoing fight against issues of climate change and global warming.
Inside Dish: Art + Commerce’s boutique production agency, PRODn, created "WME OS(CAR) PARTY," which was a custom photo installation by set designer client Piers Hanmer. Guests got the chance to be captured in the back of a car during pre-party rituals such as grabbing takeout, finishing makeup or taking a catnap. Talent that jumped in to participate included Lilly Singh, Odell Beckham Jr., Miguel, Joan Smalls, and others. Tag teaming the DJ decks were celebrity DJs Michelle Pesce and Acyde. — Chris Gardner
Party: Charles Finch and Chanel’s 12th Annual Pre-Oscar Awards dinner
Players: Margot Robbie, Penelope Cruz, Sofia Coppola, Diane Kruger, Lucy Boynton, Kaitlyn Dever, Soo Joo Park, Margaret Qualley, Leslie Mann and Judd Apatow, Michael Keaton, Tracee Ellis Ross, Caitriona Balfe, Demi Moore, Taylor Russell, Sir Patrick Stewart, Minnie Driver, Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, David O. Russell, Pedro Almodovar, Camila Morrone and more attended.
Place: Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel
Served: Caesar salad, Polo Lounge classic fried chicken, prime filet mignon steak frites, roasted cauliflower steak, Marilyn’s ice cream sundae accompanied by Ladouette Les Deux Tours Sauvignon Blanc and Chateau Rauzan-Segla Bordeaux.
Inside Dish: The temps may have dropped well into the lower 50s the eve before the Oscars, but on the patio of the Polo Lounge, the gathering of famous faces at Charles Finch’s and Chanel’s annual Oscar bash brought all the necessary heat. As guests from Margot Robbie to Robert De Niro huddled together over glasses of champagne and Chanel’s own red wine from Chateau Rauzan-Segla, the list of attendees was the perfect mix of classic and trendy.
In the crowd, Pedro Almodovar, whose film Pain and Glory is nominated at the Oscars for best foreign film, never strayed far from his muse Penelope Cruz. When The Irishman’s Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro surrounded the Spanish director, engaging him in conversation, Cruz moved two steps over to chat with Demi Moore. Frequent collaborators Paul Feig and Judd Apatow hugged as Feig and his wife Laurie made their way inside the dining room. Chris Pine, Rashida Jones, Kenya Kinski-Jones and Jen Meyer stood off to one side, calmly enjoying the festivities, while a younger contingent consisting of Phoebe Tonkin, Margaret Qualley and Kaitlyn Dever were enthusiastically figuring out which table they were seated at.
After a day at the Independent Spirit Awards, Dever had made merely a pit stop at home to slip into her white cotton poplin top and crumpled black calfskin pants from Chanel’s 2019/2020 Cruise collection. The Booksmart actress wasn’t the only one with a long day of award shows behind her. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s Margaret Qualley admitted that for tomorrow’s big day she is going to try to sleep in as late as possible and get ready as late as possible. Asked to describe her dress for the Oscars her actress’ eyes widened and the 25-year-old let out a panicked “Aaaaargh.” Guess we’ll just have to live in suspense.
For the second year in a row, the intimate dinner party, historically held at Madeo (before the eatery moved locations to Beverly Hills), was hosted at The Beverly Hills Hotel. “It’s very personal,” David O. Russell explained of the venue’s significance. “Charles’ father [Peter Finch] died here, in the lobby, in 1977, just before the Oscars and was awarded the best supporting actor award for Network posthumously, which is extraordinary. So there is real cinema history to it.”
That, however, is not why the Silver Linings Playbook director makes repeat appearances to the dinner. “You can really talk to people, and I’ve gotten to sit with people like Idris Elba and people I haven’t hung out with,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s very intimate. You sit together at the tables and it’s almost like you’re at someone’s home.”
After a one-year absence to honor the death of Karl Lagerfeld, the familiar sounds of a Mariachi band — a nod to Finch’s friendship with the late British entrepreneur Jimmy Goldsmith — once again welcomed guests promptly at 7:30 pm. As one of the first couples to arrive, Apatow and Leslie Mann told THR what is so appealing about spending the night before Oscars with Chanel: “We like that it’s early. We like that it ends early so we can get back to catching up on the Bachelor,” quipped Apatow. “We could be home by 10.” This is categorically false, as the dinner didn’t get seated until after 9 pm, but as the hobnobbing continued well into the night, no one appeared in a hurry to go anywhere else. — Carita Rizzo
Party: UTA pre-Oscar party
Players: Nominees Anthony Hopkins, Cynthia Erivo, Roger Deakins, Chris Butler, Tamara Kotevska, Elton John, Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig attended along with guests like 1917 star George MacKay, The Farewell filmmaker Lulu Wang, Elizabeth Banks, Jeremy O. Harris, Kristen Wiig, Janizca Bravo, Marisa Tomei, Sigourney Weaver, Tyra Banks, Ella Balinska, Scott Eastwood, Jerry Bruckheimer, Toby Emmerich, Amy Pascal, Charles King and Mike Farrah.
Place: Sunset Tower
Served: Tower Bar's coveted menu of comfort food like sliders and chicken, French fries.
Inside Dish: Celebrity DJ Tendaji Lathan handled the decks with a set list that included everyone from Madonna to Marvin Gaye. But that wasn't the only entertainment in the house (spruced up by Oren and Co. event production): A mentalist wowed the agency crowd with slight of hand tricks — even UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer, Klutch Sports Group founder and CEO Rich Paul, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young and friends gathered around to check his work. Elsewhere, UTA chairman Jim Berkus held court with Jerry Bruckheimer and Steve Tisch; artist Arcmanoro Niles made the rounds ahead of the debut his first west coast solo art show at UTA Artist space during Frieze week; UTA client Timothee Chalamet and co-star Laura Dern huddled with Little Women director Greta Gerwig and partner Marriage Story director Noah Baumbach; Sebastian Maniscalco, Keegan Michael Key and Jason Derulo were seen swapping stories; digital stars Emma Chamberlain and the D’Amelio sisters shared a private booth along with stylish influencer and Google exec Derek Blasberg; and Tracee Ellis Ross and Waves star Taylor Russell shared some laughs. — Chris Gardner
Party: American Cinema Editors’ 20th annual Invisible Art, Visible Arts event — a panel discussion with this year’s Oscar-nominated editors at the Egyptian Theatre followed by a luncheon hosted by Motion Picture Editors Guild.
Players: Oscar-nominated editors Thelma Schoonmaker (The Irishman), Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland (Ford v Ferrari); Tom Eagles (Jojo Rabbit); Jeff Groth (Joker); and Yang Jinmo (Parasite). American Cinema Editors president and Oscar-nominated editor Stephen Rivkin (Avatar), Motion Picture Editors Guild (MPEG) president and Academy Award winner Alan Heim (All That Jazz) and MPEG national executive director Cathy Repola attended. Additional members of ACE, MPEG, family and friends also gathered.
Place: Liaison Restaurant
Served: Editors and guests mingled over champagne and mimosas. A family-style seated lunch followed with salmon in a beurre blanc sauce; chicken with a champagne butter sauce, tomato, artichoke and fresh basil; penne pasta; steamed vegetables; potato and Caesar salad. Assorted desserts included mixed-berry cream puffs.
Inside dish: “In many ways it doesn’t feel real,” admitted Groff, saying that he’d been focused on editing and didn’t expect to land a nomination for Joker. He and the season’s other nominees in this close-knit community were already planning to organize a reunion dinner in the spring.
Another first-time nominee, Jojo Rabbit's Tom Eagles, got a laugh when asked about his awards season experience during the panel. “I didn’t realize how much speaking we’d have to do. …That’s been terrifying,” he quipped. Veteran Thelma Schoonmaker — a three-time Oscar winner who has been working with Martin Scorsese for half a century — said, “we didn’t used to do this much. It’s a more recent phenomenon” of the multitude of Q&As that were scheduled throughout the season.
Moderator Alan Heim, who won an Academy Award for Bob Fosse’s 1979 film All that Jazz, advised the first-time nominees, “Save your envelope if you win tomorrow, it's a nice souvenir.”
In addition to talking about their work, the editors also dished on topics such as the viability of test screenings. Schoonmaker got a laugh when she recalled that during the first test screening of Goodfellas, “60 people walked out in the first two minutes.” — Carolyn Giardina
Party: Universal Pictures, Focus Features and DreamWorks Animation Academy Awards Nominees Party celebrating 1917, Harriet and How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Players: George MacKay, Jay Baruchel, Roger Deakins, Jason Blum, Ron Meyer, Krysty Wilson-Cairns, Jayne-Ann Tenggren
Served: Sushi, pizza, ceviche, vegan tacos, a wall of cookies
Inside Dish: For introverts, awards season is a Bataan Death March of events requiring small talk. For quiet craftsman Roger Deakins, who was sipping a beer and leaning against the sushi bar with his wife, James, at Universal’s Oscar party, this is his 15th march. With 15 Oscar nominations under his belt, the 1917 cinematographer says he has no real Oscar rituals. “Just do a lot of this,” Deakins said, lifting his glass and sharing that his post-Oscar plans are spending downtime at home in Santa Monica, since no scripts have enticed him back behind the camera. “It says a lot about the state of the industry,” he said with a shrug. Deakins and his 1917 colleagues had a lot to celebrate Thursday night at Spago, as their film was coasting into Oscar Sunday with the momentum of recent DGA, PGA and Golden Globes wins behind them.
“It’s fucking mental,” 1917 screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns said of experiencing her very first awards season. Wilson-Cairns’s other events for the film have included curtsying before Prince Charles at the World War I movie’s premiere in London. “It’s like a bad squat, the ones you do at the end of class,” she said, demonstrating her royal greeting technique as waiters behind her passed trays of ceviche and tiny, vegan tacos.
NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer floated through the room, keeping the awards buzz in perspective. “No matter what happens, the movie did what it was meant to,” Meyer said, of the $253 million worldwide grosser. “It’s been so successful.”
Other members of the Universal family were on hand, including Jay Baruchel, the voice of Hiccup from DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, and Blumhouse founder and CEO Jason Blum, who was huddling with his Happy Death Day director Christopher Landon. Landon, bleary-eyed from a new baby in the house, has just finished shooting an untitled Blumhouse movie in which Vince Vaughn body swaps with a shy high school girl. Despite Blum’s hugely prolific career as a producer, there is one producing gig he has yet to take on — helming the Oscar telecast. “I’ve thought about it,” he says. “I’ve wondered what I would do. But whatever you do, people are unhappy.” — Rebecca Keegan
Party: MACRO Pre-Oscars Party
Players: Hosted by CEO and founder Charles D. King with wife and chief brand officer Stacey Walker King, the room was filled with high-ranking executives and high-flying creatives including nominees like Hair Love's Matthew Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver. Netflix's Channing Dungey, TriStar's Nicole Brown, WME's Phil Sun, JuVee Prods.' Julius Tennon, attorney Nina Shaw, Jesse Williams, Logan Browning, Algee Smith, Christine Ko, J. Alexander, Keith Powers, Diggy Simmons, Bianca Lawson, DeWanda Wise, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Samuel Adegoke, Sarunas Jackson, Baron Davis, Michael Ealy, Tichina Arnold, Marcus Scribner, Trevor Jackson, Danielle Brooks, Tia Mowry and more.
Place: Fig & Olive, West Hollywood
Served: After checking in on Melrose Place and pushing through a set of double doors, guests were greeted by a team of servers offering up trays of Grey Goose cocktails like dirty martinis and Moscow Mules. Grey Goose spread good vibes of the liquid kind inside the bash, with custom cocktails including "The Leading Lady" cosmopolitan and "The Frontrunner" with La Poire French 75 while promoting positivity with its "Live Victoriously" branding throughout the party. Tray passed hors d'oeuvres included burrata with heirloom tomato and pesto, wild mushroom with artichoke and truffle oil, beef tartare, smoked salmon, prosciutto and walnut on focaccia bread (and zucchini for gluten free), pan seared scallops, truffle risotto, Hamachi crudo, and Kobe beef sliders.
Inside Dish: The Kings could not be missed.
Emerging just before 10 p.m. to take a staff photo with their entire MACRO team, Charles looked ready for celebration in a slim-fit red suit paired with a pink turtleneck while Stacey matched her man in a red silk wrap dress. There was also no missing the point of the party. "It's important for us to recognize not just MACRO films but films by people of color," Stacey told THR just seconds after posing for the group picture. "It's also a great moment to say, 'We see you and this is our night to celebrate you' to films and filmmakers that may or may not have been recognized by the Academy."
MACRO went the extra mile — courtesy of extra ink and expert party planners — to make sure those films got noticed Thursday night as guests entered the Fig & Olive space, which felt a bit like a museum exhibition with custom paintings by artist Noah Hume placed on custom walls made from cushy astroturf. Represented were Dolemite is My Name, The Farewell, Hair Love, Harriet, Hustlers, Just Mercy, Queen & Slim and Us. The work that got the most attention (and drew the most selfies) was the one that featured Kobe Bryant kissing his 2018 Oscar alongside a list of the names of those lives lost in the tragic helicopter accident.
Speaking of the nominees, though, Charles and Stacey King both praised Parasite as one of their favorite films while singling out the work done in Just Mercy, a film their company executive produced. "Jamie Foxx's performance was brilliant," Charles noted. "I want to say it — I feel like he was robbed. And Michael B. Jordan was amazing."
One might say that things are going amazing for MACRO, but the Kings are the first to push the spotlight back on the reason for throwing such a party in the first place. "It's not about us. It's about the whole movement," Charles explained. "Artists that are now empowered are telling their stories and the renaissance continues only if we keep the momentum going. We are enjoying being a small part of that." Even if their guests are saying contrary things behind their backs. "They are like the king and queen here," one reveler commented to THR, praising them for their hosting abilities and matching ensembles. "This is like the mecca for everyone who is doing something big in Hollywood right now. Look at this room — everyone is here!" — Chris Gardner
Charles King founded @stayMACRO 5 years ago. He’s known to be one of the best in the business (like partner in crime/wife Stacey who has senior leadership role in branding) so it was very cool to see this staff photo last night showing how much they’ve grown in 5. pic.twitter.com/o2Uv1PijJX— Chris Gardner (@chrissgardner) February 7, 2020
Last night @stayMACRO Oscar party celebrated black artists and films by people of color via custom paintings (@ParasiteMovie @thefarewell #HairLove @QueenAndSlim @HarrietFilm more!) but one that stopped everyone in their tracks was @kobebryant kissing his #Oscars pic.twitter.com/gG6S8W4Thz— Chris Gardner (@chrissgardner) February 7, 2020
Party: 13th Annual Women in Film Pre-Oscar Cocktail Party, Presented by Max Mara, Stella Artois, Cadillac and Tequila Don Julio with additional support from Vero Water
Players: Co-hosts Idina Menzel and Women in Film Board President Emerita Cathy Schulman, Women in Film president Amy Baer, Women in Film executive director Kirsten Schaffer, ReFrame member Kyra Sedgwick, Lake Bell, Logan Browning, Stephanie Beatriz, Madeline Brewer, Beanie Feldstein, Paul Feig, Laura Marano and Vanessa Marano, Connie Britton, MJ Rodriguez, Nikki Reed, Gigi Gorgeous, Mikey Madison, Alexandre Desplat, Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s Stacy Smith and Kate Pieper, Anika Noni Rose, Tara Miele, Gloria Calderón Kellett, Céline Sciamma, and female Oscar nominees this year including Missing Link producer Arianne Sutner, Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re A Girl) director Carol Dysinger and producer Elena Andreicheva, Jojo Rabbit producer Chelsea Winstanley, Walk Run Cha-Cha director Laura Nix and producer Colette Sandstedt, Dcera (Daughter) director-writer Daria Kashcheeva, A Sister director-writer Delphine Girard, Breakthrough’s Diane Warren, nominated for the eleventh time for original song “I’m Standing With You”, 1917 co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns, producer Jayne-Anne Tenggren, and hair and makeup designer Naomi Donne, Klaus producers Jinko Gotoh and Marisa Román, The Edge of Democracy director Petra Costa and producer Joanna Natasegara, American Factory co-director Julia Reichert, Hair Love producer Karen Rupert Toliver, Kitbull director Rosana Sullivan and producer Kathryn Hendrickson, The Cave producers Kirstine Barford and Sigrid Dyekjaer, Frozen II’s Kristen Anderson-Lopez, nominated for original song “Into the Unknown” with Bobby Anderson-Lopez, Life Overtakes Me director, writer and producer Kristine Samuelson, The Irishman set decorator Regina Graves and costume designer Sandy Powell, nominated for her 15th Oscar, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood producer Shannon McIntosh, Sister director-writer Siqi Song with her composer Karen Tanaka, Bombshell makeup department head Vivian Baker and For Sama co-director Waad al-Kateab all attended.
Place: Sunset Room Hollywood
Served: Don Julio Tequila bar with oranges drizzled with either chile, hibiscus, or chocolate espresso, plus tray-passed hors d'oeuvres including quinoa bites with Tapatio, grilled cheese sandwiches, and egg rolls; desserts such as butterscotch budino, pistachio cake with candied lemon, fig cookies with dates and walnuts and the crowd favorite, warm chocolate chip cookies.
Inside Dish: For the 13th year, Women in Film toasted this year’s class of female Oscar nominees, with a little help from a Disney princess. However, no singing was warranted for Idina Menzel on Friday night at the Sunset Room Hollywood, as she is saving her voice for Sunday’s ceremony, where her character Elsa’s anthem “Into the Unknown” from Frozen II is nominated for original song.
“I know you all want her to sing,” Women in Film Board Emerita Cathy Schulman joked at the start of the evening’s festivities, before bringing on the Tony winner, who spoke about her fears finding her own “inside” voice even when her singing voice may seem so big.
“You know, people think because I sing these songs and all these songs are about empowering little girls and being a role model — you know, it’s hard to do that every day of your life and you kind of feel like shit sometimes,” she said to an audience of Oscar nominees and female power players in front of and behind the screen, like Lake Bell, who insistently told the crowd behind her to “shush” when the opening remarks began.
“But whenever I’m feeling insecure, like perhaps this Sunday when I’m singing at the Oscars and pissing my pants — It’s like when I was in Wicked. I was having a real insecure moment,” she said, “and I told myself one night, ‘Tonight, you’re gonna be fucking Glenn Close as Elphaba.’ I couldn’t be myself and find my own power, but I decided I’d be Glenn Close. I found so many things. I held for laughs, I held for the applause, I took a longer bow, I held my shoulders back. So, it’s a stupid thing, but all of us have these wonderful women in our lives that set an example. There’s nothing more powerful than sisterhood.”
Schulman announced that the two were wearing pinky rings as a “pinky promise” to be worn throughout Oscars weekend. Via a partnership among Women in Film, ReFrame, and the Shiffon Company, 50 percent of the profits from the rings will go to ReFrame to support sustainable careers for women. “As you wear these rings, take this with you,” Schulman said, “Be the change you want to see.”
With that, the entire class of women recognized at the Academy Awards took roll call onstage, with 11-time nominee Dianne Warren joking that she was Susan Lucci. Before the party, Warren shared with THR that she “loves to come to this event and see all these other women nominees that are the best in their field. Like, I wouldn’t meet Sandy Powell in my real life because I’m in music.”
One film whose music really stuck with Warren was Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which was music supervised by Mary Ramos, whom she collaborated with on Marshall (2017). Warren was also nominated for her original song “Stand Up for Something” for the biopic. “Once Upon a Time had such great music,” she said. “And I grew up in L.A. in the Valley, Van Nuys. So all those places I used to go to. Casa Vega, Ventura Blvd. There were a lot of late nights at Casa Vega. You know, El Coyote, Musso & Frank’s. It’s the best. I love that movie.”
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood producer Shannon McIntosh in fact received a big round of applause during her name check onstage, as she shared she is a first-time nominee this year.
“I’m most excited that there are so many female producers nominated for best picture,” Women in Film president Amy Baer told THR. “Just take Amy Pascal for Little Women, Jane Rosenthal for The Irishman, Kwak Sin Ae for Parasite, Emma Tillinger Koskoff for The Irishman and Joker and Shannon McIntosh for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It’s so rare you get to see that many women up there. I think that’s fantastic.”
As Siqi Song of Sister who came with her film’s composer, Karen Tanaka, shared with THR how she was excited but nervous for the big weekend, before taking a photo with Missing Link producer Arianne Sutner.
“I’ve noticed a difference over the years how this event has grown and become only more powerful and more vibrant, and literally just more women here. You’re really at the table when you come here,” Missing Link producer Arianne Sutner told THR on the carpet.
While the photographer took the group shot after roll call, the nominees couldn’t help but dance along to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” or sing along, like Warren.
All the female #Oscars2020 nominees here posing for their class photo at the @WomenInFilm pre-Oscar party! Catch Dianne Warren singing along to Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance with Somebody @THR pic.twitter.com/nKRtX93z1C— Tara Bitran (@tarabitran) February 8, 2020
As the music segued into Lizzo’s “Juice,” Wander Darkly director Tara Miele, whose film just screened at Sundance, was seen chatting with Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s Stacy Smith and Kate Pieper. “I just want to thank you,” she could be overheard saying, referencing the work of the research institute at the University of Southern California for bolstering change in Hollywood.
Partygoers popped over to the Don Julio Tequila bar, where the game was to drink and sip with orange slices drizzled with chile, hibiscus or chocolate espresso. Over by one of three open bars in the dimly-lit space, Pose star MJ Rodriguez grooved along to Katy Perry’s “Never Really Over.”
Portrait of a Lady on Fire’s Celine Sciamma noshed on chocolate chip cookies while One Day at a Time’s Gloria Calderón Kellett snagged a gift bag from the VIP room. Booksmart’s Beanie Feldstein was a late arrival, passing by Jojo Rabbit producer Chelsea Winstanley dancing with her pals in the center of the floor.
Walk Run Cha-Cha director Laura Nix, who along with fellow nominee and producer of the doc short Colette Sandstedt wore a white flower pinned to her ensemble, expounded on her joy in attending an event honoring so many female filmmakers. “I really loved Little Women. I loved Hustlers. I loved Queen and Slim. I think women directors are just making incredible work right now, I’m really proud to be one of them.”
Kyra Sedgwick, a proud member of Women in Film’s ReFrame initiative to mentor and help women garner opportunities in Hollywood, praised Jojo Rabbit as well as Little Women for “obvious reasons,” but did regret the lack of female nominees this year. “I was sad The Farewell wasn’t mentioned. But I love Lulu Wang. She’s remarkable. We will see her again and again and again. I thought Honey Boy was amazing, directed by a woman, Alma Har’el. I was very surprised about Booksmart as well.”
While parity is still far from reached on the Dolby stage, that’s why Sedgwick appreciates the work of Women in Film. “I mean, look. The numbers are still pretty pathetic for women directors in Hollywood, speaking parts for diverse women. I think there’s a lot more work to be done. But that’s why we’re here.” — Tara Bitran
Party: U.S.-Ireland Alliance’s 15th annual Oscar Wilde Awards
Players: Host/emcee J.J. Abrams once again welcomed an assembly of Hollywood’s Irish A-list and some “honorary” countrymen and women to his production offices to celebrate honorees Norman Lear, Tig Notaro and Jenn Murray. Among the celebrants: Martin Short, Caitriona Balfe, Chris O’Dowd, Roma Downey, Jason O’Mara, Kerry Condon, Steven Weber, Elsie Fisher, Academy Awards-nominated producer Travis Knight, The Mandalorian helmer Rick Famuyiwa, composer Michael Giacchino, Warner Bros TV Group chairman Peter Roth, Warner Bros. chair & CEO Ann Sarnoff, recently appointed chief executive of Screen Ireland Desiree Finnegan, Ireland’s consul general to Los Angeles Orla Keane, Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz, CAA president Richard Lovett, producer Suzanne Todd, conductor Eimear Noone (first woman to lead the Academy Awards orchestra during Sunday’s ceremony), siblings and performers Roseanna, Alanna and Jonathan Brown of the band the Rua.
Place: Bad Robot’s Santa Monica headquarters
Served: At the bar, traditional choices like old-fashioned and mini-Irish whiskeys were offset by decidedly non-Emerald Isle cocktails mixed with Pau Maui Vodka and Fid Street Hawaiian Gin; Eire-minded epicureans were treated to geographically flavored treats including beer-battered fish n’ chips with Arctic cod, lemon lime tartar and twice-fried french fries, mini-chicken sausage rolls with winter herbs and brown mustard dipping sauce, gluten-free crispy eggplant croquettes with warm sub-continent spices and coriander sauce verte, individual cottage pies with stout-braised boneless beef ribs and buttery mashed potatoes, assorted Kerrygold cheeses and many other treats.
Inside Dish: Abrams had a little secret to keep from the Irish attendees: while he’d substantially boosted tourism to the country’s Skellig Michael by using it as the location of Luke Skywalker’s exile in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he wasn’t able to make a return trip for The Rise of Skywalker, despite its appearance in the film. “We didn't go back for this one – we had an existing shot, and then we built a beautiful set actually at Pinewood [Studios],” he confided. “Don't tell anyone!”
Abrams was hosting solo this year, without wife Katie McGrath typically at his side (she was stuck on the East Coast with a bronchial infection), and on his way in he quipped to THR that he had to keep a sharp eye on all of the cinematic sci-fi artifacts, toys and tchotchkes that fill the halls of Bad Robot, marveling every year over “just how much stuff gets stolen – usually it's just amusing to see who takes what, because we have security cameras.”
Kidding aside, Abrams admitted he loved welcoming people into his palpably energetic workplace, which was specifically designed to encourage and inspire creativity. “While I love the building and I love the layout and the design of it by Andy Weisler, I mostly love the people inside and it's really those people and it's an incredibly creative, passionate, vocal and diverse group of people who I am on a daily basis really inspired by and excited about, especially with what we're doing now with, with Warner Media. We have a sort of new next chapter. And so I feel like everyone is in a kind of sync that hasn't really ever happened quite like this before. So it's fun to come to work.”
The filmmaker said while he has a significant number of projects – initially in television, with Hannah Minghella recently joining Bad Robot to develop features – percolating as a producer, he’s unsure when he’ll be back at work as a writer-director for the big screen. “Between what we're doing with TV and film, that's a lot right now, so I'm not quite sure when directing comes next.”
Those other Oscar trophies – the Academy Awards – were also on his mind, as he’d be rooting for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s editing and visual effects team, along with legendary composer John Williams, to take home the franchise’s first trophies since The Empire Strikes Back. “I'm so proud of the work that everyone did on the movie and nothing would make me happier than the awards go to them,” he said. “But just getting nominated is such an honor. I think for everyone who is nominated, I mean they're, they're such deserving, did such deserving work. So I hope, of course, John Williams gets the award. I hope everyone who's nominated for the movie has a shot. They certainly deserve it. They did incredible work.”
Notaro has a long Irish lineage (her middle name derives from a family surname, O’Connor, and among the Fitzgeralds in her family tree was a mayor of New Orleans), but she admitted on the red carpet that her first visit to the source country was a bit rocky. “I went to Ireland on tour and then got run out of town,” she told THR. “It didn't go well, so I kind of detached a bit from my Irish roots. And then I went back on tour again and had a blast! And I think I was just a little fragile at the time. But it's so beautiful, I can't wait to go back. My kids have Irish in them, so I can't wait to take them to Ireland.”
The awards celebration took place in its customary spot on Bad Robot’s rooftop, where Abrams introduced Belfast-born actress and rising Hollywood star Murray, who admitted she’d never won an award before, made a surprising revelation: four years earlier while on a visit to Los Angeles, a friend had invited her to the Oscar Wilde Awards as her guest, but after Murray had arrived the friend texted that she could no longer make it. Too nervous to walk the red carpet her own, she left. “I tell this embarrassing story because this is the beauty of this industry: one minute, It's a bit lonely and embarrassing, and the next minute it's spectacular.”
After an introduction by previous Oscar Wilde honoree Martin Short – who used his platform to playfully roast “our beloved friend, writer, director and outspoken climate change denier” Abrams with one-liners like “he never, ever gets writer's block, no matter how much we all pray for it” – Notaro took the stage to accept with something of a mini- stand-up set, focusing on the long list of awards she’d been nominated for, but never won.
“Who needs the Grammys or the Emmys when you're taking home the Oscar... Wilde?” she said. “I wake up with this every day, being Irish. Also Italian some French, some English, a little German, and a few others listed in there, but I've never been recognized by any of them.”
Introducing the legendary television creator Lear, Abrams acknowledged his vast and significant influence on the cultural landscape, but also revealed a more personal moment he’d shared with Lear. “Nearly eight years ago, my mother passed away, and after the funeral service, I went to my parents’ house for the shiva,” Abrams explained. “I walked through the door and the very first person I saw was Norman Lear. He gave me a hug. We talked about our parents. I grew up in that house, learning more from what Norman Lear put on TV than anything at school. Laughing more at what he wrote than I would anywhere else. And there was again, in that same house, learning, laughing, but this time from Norman Lear himself. I'll always be grateful to my dear friend.”
Although lacking a genetic connection to Ireland, Lear took the stage singing an Irish ditty and recalled how his father, who was born on March 15 but told everyone his birthday was St. Patrick’s Day, adopting a lilting accent once a year. “He had the most exquisite brogue on his birthday. And he didn’t say a word, not a syllable, all day long, that wasn’t in that Irish brogue.”
In a more poignant revelation, Lear recalled how his father had been sent to prison for some sort of malfeasance and after his release his family was so impoverished they shared a tiny apartment with another family, but his father’s optimism remained undimmed. The senior Lear would promise his children that as soon as he was a bit back on his feet “in ten days or two weeks” they’d take a trip together somewhere exciting. “He never made the second nickel, but he had that dream and that hope,” said Lear. “So I hope to see you all again in 10 days or two weeks.” — Scott Huver
Party: Essence Black Women in Hollywood
Players: Honorees Niecy Nash, Melina Matsoukas, Lashana Lynch and the Pose team of Janet Mock, Mj Rodrigues, Indya Moore, Dominique Jackson, Angelica Ross and Hailie Sahar along with guests Ava DuVernay, Cynthia Erivo, Billy Porter, Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, Janelle Monae, Eve, Alfre Woodard, Kerry Washington, Brittany Howard, Sylvia Rhone, Ethiopia Habtemariam, Juliette Jones, Jenifer Lewis, Marsai Martin, Sharon Osbourne, Nina Shaw, Debra Lee, Chaka Zulu, Vanessa A. Williams, Aisha Hinds, CCH Pounder, Garcelle Beauvais, Gabrielle Union, Loretta Devine, Boris Kodjoe, Bresha Webb, Akilah Hughes, Tika Sumpter, Arica Himmel, Priah Ferguson, Euzhan Palcy, Loni Love, Quinta Brunson, Numa Perrier, Carrie Ann Inaba, Essence executive team Michelle Ebanks, Richelieu Dennis and Moana Luu attended.
Place: Beverly Wilshire Hotel
Served: Baby frisee salad with shaved beets, parsnips, creamed feta cheese and fig balsamic emulsion followed by an entree of pan-seared Chilean sea bass, edamame and leek ragout with tomato essence. Dessert featured a coffee bar comprised of mascarpone mousse, milk chocolate ganache and meringue. A vegetarian/vegan option was available upon request as was red and white wine.
Inside Dish: “We can’t count on other people to recognize us, but we can recognize each other … and in a way that no one else can,” declared Essence CEO Michelle Ebanks to loud applause. Thus began the 13th annual luncheon. Always more family reunion than formal sit-down awards ceremony, the event once more rocked a jam-packed Beverly Wilshire ballroom with laughter, tears, self-confessions and affirmations alongside generous doses of love, joy, pride, inspiration and empowerment.
Actress, artist and host Eve made her debut hosting the gathering, reflected on growing up reading the publication — celebrating its 50th anniversary this year — and later gracing its cover not once but twice. “Seeing yourself in the pages of Essence is beyond words. And it’s
exactly how I feel about being here.” She then led the packed ballroom in a moment of silence for beloved NBA legend Kobe Bryant. “May God bless him, his baby girl Gianna, his family and all of the families who suffered such an unspeakable loss on January 26.” Before presenting fellow actress Lashana Lynch with the first award, Alfre Woodard (Clemency) further set the tone. “We are in it, my beautiful sisters,” she began. “Since we make the table and everything on it, we deserve a place at the table. Hell, at the head of the table. So stay busy my daughters and especially stay joyful doing it.”
Lynch, who co-stars in the upcoming 25th James Bond installment No Time to Die, talked about her hard-won journey to a seat at the table by being herself, a dark-skinned girl with short hair from a working class Jamaican household. “No one in this room arrived from luck,” she declared. “We are a powerful force field derived from greatness.”
Closing with an emotional thank-you to her mom, Lynch had her and everyone else in the room in tears. “To you and all the wonderful black women in the room, you have truly lifted me up and paved the way for women like me. The true essence of humanity lies in the sacrifice of black women,” concluded Lynch to a thunderous standing ovation. Issa Rae, whose new film The Photograph opens Feb. 14, just as quickly had the audience shedding tears of laughter as she talked about her relationship with honoree and Grammy-winning video director Melina Matsoukas, who has directed Insecure before making her feature debut on Queen & Slim.
“You know how there’s some friends you go out with and you just know you’re the ugly friend?,” Rae began to raucous laughter. “This is not in an insecure or jealous way. It’s all coming from a prideful way: this is my bad bitch friend and you all better recognize.” (Side note: seen on the video screens sneaking quickly to her table during Rae’s introduction was Janelle Monae.)
“Humbled to be in this room surrounded by my sisters,” Matsoukas said before addressing how she’s been battling her own rage against a “daily onslaught of white supremacy and colonization that’s infuriating and also exhausting.”
Following advice from fellow director Ava DuVernay to not let anyone steal her joy, Matsoukas spent time honoring family, friends and sisters as part of her efforts to reclaim that joy. After thanking Rae (“Someone who always bets on black and always wins”), Beyoncé (“She taught me not only how to be a revolutionary but how to be the revolution”), Lena Waithe (“She trusted me with her personal story”) and her mom (“for pushing me so hard”), Matsoukas saluted all the sisters who “inspire me, love me and believe in me. Without them, I’m not me.”
Halfway through the presentations, Kerry Washington paid tribute to Diahann Carroll. Carroll, who passed away last October, was the first ever African American Emmy Award nominee, a Tony and Golden Globe winner, Oscar nominee and staunch civil rights activist. “She was a trailblazer and fighter; not just a hero but one of our founding mothers,” said Washington of Carroll, who also prided herself for playing the “first black bitch on TV” on the ‘80s series Dynasty.
Going off script before honoring his Pose colleagues, Billy Porter spoke about the African American community and “our relationship with the LGBTQ community. That needs to change,” he said, “and we need to talk about it out loud. Because none of us are free until we’re all free. We can agree to disagree. But the only conversation that matters is respect for all of our individual humanity. So thank you for today because on this day the conversation changes.”
Joined onstage by Pose stars Mj Rodriguez, Angelica Ross and Hailie Sahar (Indya Moore and Dominique Jackson were unable to attend), co-executive producer/director/writer Janet Mock noted, “Our struggle for black people must include black trans and queer people, period. This award reaffirms that our stories, our lives and our experiences matter. And it reassures that the way that we tell it and the respective talents of those who have lived it is most impactful. It’s enabled viewers around the world to meet, know and love five trans-heroines, characters who on other shows would be mere sidekicks, subplots or punch lines. But Pose moves these characters from the margins to center stage. I’m awed every day by the talent, grace and beauty of these women next to me.”
Preparing to present friend and colleague Niecy Nash with the Ford Vanguard Award, director DuVernay shared one phrase “that sums her up in so many ways: when God says yes, nobody can say no. She excelled at comedy from standup and sitcoms but she wanted to show her dramatic chops. No one else saw it; they said no. But God said yes.”
Dressed in a copper-colored Grecian-styled gown, Emmy winner Nash (who co-starred in DuVernay’s Selma and When They See Us) ticked off several wardrobe mishaps that had threatened to disrupt her happy day. “Everything was falling apart,” she told the laughing audience. “My belt broke, my sticky bra tape isn’t sticky anymore, then something happened to my shoe. So if this whole dress just falls apart, you’re welcome!”
Then noting that “you can’t accept a leadership award without being transparent,” Nash served up the truth that brought her to the Essence podium. She spoke about the pain of her two divorces and how women in her family grew up believing that a woman is nothing without a man.
“They had never been taught what choosing yourself looks like,” she explained. Shouting out friends like Gabrielle Union and Washington, as well as her therapist, Nash shared that as she begins to take her “50th trip around the sun,” she is better than she’s ever been before and that she’s teaching her daughters to never be afraid to choose themselves. Pounding the podium for emphasis, an emotional Nash exclaimed, “The generational curse is broken.”
Capping the festivities, four-time Grammy winner Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes fame performed two songs from her critically acclaimed 2019 debut solo album Jaime: “Short and Sweet” and “Stay High.” Earlier on the red carpet, the first-time Black Women in Music attendee talked about meeting many people that day whose career paths are inspiring her to work just as hard. “For me, it’s the shine theory,” Howard explained. “If one of us shines, we’re all going to shine and empower each other.” — Gail Mitchell
Players: Oscar nominees Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach, Shannon McIntosh, Chelsea Winstanley, Ra Vincent and Feras Fayyad, along with guests Allison Janney, Rachel Brosnahan, Zoe Saldana, Margaret Qualley, Abigail Spencer, Minnie Driver, Patricia Clarkson, Aisha Tyler, Nia Vardalos, Rumer Willis, Hannah Zeile, Kyle MacLachlan, Mamie Gummer, Andrew Rannells, Joel McHale, Michelle Trachtenberg and Max Greenfield attended.
Place: Chateau Marmont
Served: Fried chicken bites, sliders, crab cakes and grilled cheese sandwiches
Inside Dish: Cadillac's annual Oscars celebration took over Chateau Marmont again this year with a jam-packed indoor-outdoor party, starting with a red carpet, drinks and appetizers beside the hotel pool — for the first time, where the Oscar sponsor had their 2021 Escalade on display — and leading into the dining and garden area.
When power couple Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach joined the festivities about an hour in, they instantly held court, drawing plenty of photographers and well-wishers to their reserved area in the center of the garden ahead of their big weekend.
Meanwhile, Zoe Saldana huddled up with friends in her own reserved section as Max Greenfield and wife Tess Sanchez, exec vp casting at Fox, caught up with Andrew Rannells, as Once Upon a Time in Hollywood's Margaret Qualley squealed to friends, "That's Schmidt from New Girl!"
Jason Lewis, who played Smith Jerrod on Sex and the City, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding's Nia Vardalos were stopped multiple times for photos with fans, as Kyle MacLachlan nursed a drink and chatted with his group, and Allison Janney, who told reporters she will be watching the Oscars with friends in sweatpants, and Rachel Brosnahan, who was in L.A. for her first Oscar weekend, popped in quickly before continuing on to the slew of other awards season parties. — Kirsten Chuba
Party: Dolby Party celebrating the 92nd Academy Award nominees in best cinematography, sound editing and sound mixing
Players: Sound editing nominees included Ford v Ferrari’s Don Sylvester, Joker’s Alan Robert Murray and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s Wylie Stateman. Sound mixing nominated guests were Mark Ulano, who is double nominated for Ad Astra and Once Upon a Time; Ford v Ferrari’s David Giammarco; Joker’s Tom Ozanich and Dean Zupancic; and Once Upon a Time’s father and son team of rerecording mixers, Michael Minkler and Christian Minkler. Dolby execs included president/CEO Kevin Yeaman and audio pioneer Ioan Allen, who with the late Ray Dolby received an Oscar in 1988 for the advancement of cinema sound. Additional guests included Cinema Audio Society president and sound mixer Karol Urban; Motion Picture Sound Editors president and sound editor Mark Lanza; sound pro Petrushkha Mierzwa (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Ad Astra); and Andy Maltz, managing director of AMPAS’ Science and Technology Council attended.
Place: Saban Media Center at the Television Academy in North Hollywood
Served: Tray-passed hors d’oeuvres and buffet including vegan and gluten-free options. Full bar. Hors d’oeuvres included cucumber cup with avocado and gingered crab salad (gluten free), Petaluma chicken breast croquette, mini gold potato (gluten free), seared corn polenta cakes (gluten free) and Sofrito black bean tostada (vegan, gluten free). Entrées included medallions of beef, fresh Atlantic salmon with side dishes like mashed potatoes (gluten free) and ragout of seasonal vegetables (vegan, gluten free). For dessert: lemon bar, black forest cupcake, apple pie.
Inside Dish: The Wolf Theatre at the Television Academy is now equipped with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, and so clips from the nominees in sound editing, sound mixing and cinematography played during the evening. Nominees were on hand, asking each other about their films, while catching up and snapping pictures with their friends in the close-knit sound community. “This is blowing my mind,” says three-time Oscar winner Michael Minkler, who with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is for the first time nominated alongside his son, Christian Minkler. Because of that, it's becoming a family affair as he plans to enjoy it with grandkids included. "It's unbelievable." — Carolyn Giardina
Party: Arthur Cohn's 18th annual pre-Oscars Dinner
Players: Six-time Oscar-winning producer Arthur Cohn (host), legendary actress Liv Ullmann, PGA chief Vance Van Petten, ex-Academy president Sid Ganis, LA power attorney Patricia Glaser, veteran journalist Kevin Thomas and Israeli politician-turned-Jewish Agency for Israel chief Isaac Herzog
Place: Private room at the Beverly Hills Hotel's Polo Lounge
Served: White asparagus in hollandaise sauce, cream of tomato basil soup, sauteed John Dory, apple pie
Inside Dish: 93-year-old Cohn jetted in from Switzerland to host this intimate event — perhaps 30 attendees for a seated dinner — for the 18th consecutive year. He opened with an emotional tribute to Kirk Douglas, who had been his closest American friend and a regular attendee at these dinners in years past. He also introduced the guest of honor Herzog as "the Jewish Pope." Meanwhile, 81-year-old Ullmann, who defied doctor's orders to travel to America from Europe specifically for the dinner, delivered a heartfelt seven-minute toast to Cohn, her friend of 50 years. "He is connected to his inner-child, which is why he touches my inner-child," Ullmann said. "Thank you, Arthur, for your light."
Party: Alfre Woodard’s 11th Annual Sistahs’ Soiree
Players: Host Alfre Woodard brought together some of the brightest industry women of color including C.C.H. Pounder, Amandla Stenberg, Tracee Ellis Ross, Tiffany Haddish and Janelle Monae to fete honorees Cynthia Erivo, Lashana Lynch and Taylor Russell.
Place: Absolut Elyx House in Hollywood
Served: Bite-size mushroom and polenta cakes, Asian style one-bite chicken wings, crab cakes passed around during cocktail hour and a hearty cheese board with grapes, assorted berries, olives, spreads, nuts and cheeses. Specialty cocktails all made with Absolut Elyx including the Sistah Spritz, Host with the Most, Soiree Season and Dazzling Diahann.
Inside Dish: After missing the 10th Sistahs’ Soiree back in 2019, Alfre Woodard reprised her role as the evening’s gracious hostess, welcoming guests from the abnormal L.A. cold into the Hollywood Hills home. The Clemency star first started the annual gathering to reject notions of competition among women of color in Hollywood and to create a space where actresses can build and maintain meaningful connections, given how lonely a career in acting can be, she said.
“It’s the one place where everybody speaks that mother tongue of being a woman of color, of being on a set,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s coming together to say, not only are you not alone but you can call me any day.”
Wednesday night’s event highlighted the common experiences and support the past, present and future generations of actresses of color share with each other. For all the stars who continue to attend her annual gathering, Woodard said, “the important thing is that we’re all part of the continuum.”
Before welcoming guests into the Absolut Elyx House, Woodard shuffled into the foyer of the multistory home in a sparkly blush pink cocktail dress and matching sandals, first complaining about the traffic on the way to the house.
“It took two hours,” she noted as she shivered. Before passing on one of the evening’s specialty cocktails, she also commented about L.A.’s weather and said “I have work Monday, I can’t have a [stuffy] nose!”
Among the first to arrive at the Wednesday night event were Loretta Devine, Lorraine Toussaint, Danielle Brooks and Edwina Findley. The latter two met each other in the hot pink and gold foyer of the eclectic estate and did some quick catching up. Findley asked Brooks about her newborn.
Inside the sitting room furnished with pink couches and framed pictures of African American greats including Aretha Franklin, it was selfies galore as more women filed in and caught up with their industry friends. Margaret Avery, who paired her green silk dress with sparkly trainers, snapped pics with Tina Lifford. After a few shots, S. Epatha Merkerson joined the group and exclaimed, “I’m feeling good!”
Sistahs’ Soiree newcomers included Waves star and honoree Taylor Russell, Lashana Lynch and Da’Vine Randolph. As the night progressed, the fresher faces to the community of influential women of color, including Kiki Layne and Laura Harrier, gathered together by the fireplace. Upon seeing the talented younger women, Woodard exclaimed that she had to grab a picture with them, urging them to follow her into another room which featured a neon pink light and a white grand piano.
Over by the cheese platter, Janelle Monáe and Tracee Ellis Ross talked shop. Ross might have brought up the idea of releasing her own music as Monáe encouraged the thought. “Sing, just sing!” said the musician, who’s slated to perform at Sunday’s Academy Awards.
One of the final stars to arrive, Cynthia Erivo said that she took pride in the outfit she styled for herself, a black, puff-sleeved baby doll dress paired with white speckled boots. Before entering the lively living room filled with laughter and joyous chatter, the Oscar nominee stopped at the doorway and formed a heart with her hands, which she then directed toward Danielle Brooks and Edwina Findley.
Sitting on a green velvet couch by the bar tucked behind the living room, Ross and Amandla Stenberg, a former Sistahs’ honoree, chatted, with Ross swirling an empty glass in her hand and the Hate U Give Star sipping a signature cocktail in a copper mug.
Soon enough it was time for Woodard to gather all her invitees for the event’s traditional group photo. Before the stars in attendance headed over to the house’s peacock-themed “disco room,” the host caught everyone’s attention with a loud “Yoo Hoo!” Woodard made the first call, then her attendees responded until all eyes and ears were on her.
While Woodard explained how everyone would organize for the photo, Stenberg joked, “We’re gonna have to do a kids' table."
Finally, the stars all made their way to the “disco room” and took their places in rows of chairs or the couch, some sneaking quick selfies before the group shot. Before the final take, the Sistahs’ Soiree attendees made sure to honor their host with the most.
“Alfre!” the stars cheered as the cameras flashed one last time. — Alexandra Del Rosario
Party: Diane von Furstenberg and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures' 6th Annual Oscars Luncheon
Players: Nominees Laura Dern, Greta Gerwig, Amy Pascal, Diane Warren, 1917 writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns, Jojo Rabbit producer Chelsea Winstanley, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood producer Shannon McIntosh, Irishman producer Jane Rosenthal, 1917 producer Jayne-Ann Tenggren, Frozen II songwriter Kristen Anderson-Lopez, American Factory director Julia Reichert, How to Train Your Dragon producer Bonnie Arnold, as well as Tessa Thompson, Meg Whitman, Anita Hill, Miranda Kerr and Andie MacDowell attended.
Place: Furstenberg's Beverly Hills home
Served: Tray-passed soups, tea and coffee to start, followed by a buffet of largely gluten-free (and some vegan) items including Chilean sea bass with smoked miso eggplant, roasted cauliflower with pomegranate seeds and shaved almonds, soba noodle salad and leaf and herb salad.
Inside Dish: For the sixth consecutive year, Diane von Furstenberg, in partnership with the Academy Museum, opened up her home to host a luncheon for this year's batch of female Oscar nominees, encompassing actors, producers, writers, directors, editors, costume designers, songwriters, makeup artists and sound editors.
Nominated guests, greeted at the entrance to the designer's rustic estate by a trio of string musicians playing covers of Coldplay songs, were given silver Oscar pins upon arrival and led to a large poster with names of all of the female nominees, with pens to sign alongside (and for Diane Warren to write "11 timer!" with her name). Furstenberg stood by the drop-off line to welcome her guests, giving especially warm embraces to Greta Gerwig and Laura Dern and posed for photos with co-hosts Tessa Thompson and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. "A lot of the women don't know each other. Tveryone knows the actresses but a lot of people don't know the writers and directors," she told THR, and of this year's continued snub of female directors, she added, "we just have to keep fighting."
Attendees dispersed through Furstenberg's home as lunch was served from multiple buffet stations, as Gerwig and Amy Pascal, on the hunt for coffee, settled onto one of the numerous plush couches, Thompson stopped for selfies, American Factory director Julia Reichert met 1917 writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns and Andie MacDowell told Dern that she "looked so good in the movie [Marriage Story] that I wanted to dress like you" as Dern praised her daughter [Once Upon A Time in Hollywood's Margaret Qualley] and told her the fashion compliment "just made my life."
In the second half of the luncheon, DVF gathered the group in her living room with a speech, where recalled the origins of the party six years ago, which began as a celebration for her 40th anniversary of the wrap dress (which will soon be featured in the Academy Museum). "I know that a lot of people are not happy that there were no women for director, but I will say because I always try to find the positive in everything, this year we have more female nominees than ever," with 64 nominees and 67 nominations to a round of applause. Wrapping up her introduction with a nod to guest Anita Hill ("Every woman's nominee and honoree... a superwoman who is afraid of nothing. She's fearless and I love her"), the host passed around a microphone to the 40-plus nominees in attendance to introduce themselves and give a small speech.
With her moment, Dern recalled being at the first luncheon six years ago and there were so few women nominated that "we sat on this couch. I look forward to that entire garden being full." Warren jokingly introduced herself as Susan Lucci (who walked a similar path in many nominations and few wins) and Pascal said that "Yeah, it would've been better if [Greta] got nominated but Little Women is the third movie in the history of the Oscars that got nominated that was produced, directed and written by women. Third is good but more is better." When Furstenberg looked to Gerwig to speak and found out she had snuck out to go home to her baby, she declared "well, as long as she gets the Oscar."
Wilson-Cairns also acknowledged the universal look of shock on people's faces when they discover she co-wrote war epic 1917, and told THR that the highlight of her award season so far was presenting the film at the BAFTAs. That is, until the luncheon: "I was in Kensington Palace last week and this is still the nicest house I've been in." — Kirsten Chuba
Party: 60th Anniversary Party of the Monte-Carlo Television Festival
Players: H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco with Caitlyn Jenner, Cedric the Entertainer, Denise Richards, George Hamilton, Greg Germann, Joan Collins, Noah Wyle, Priscilla Presley, Taylor Kitsch, Abigail Breslin, Anne Sweeney, Colman Domingo, James Lafferty, Jane Seymour, Jason Priestley, Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, Jerry Bruckheimer, Joan Collins, Linda Gray, Melissa Joan Hart, Noah Wyle, Patrick Duffy, Phil Rosenthal, Priscilla Presley, Stephen Colletti, Thomas Lennon, Tuppence Middleton, Vince Vaughn and others attended.
Place: Sunset Tower's Tower Bar
Served: Beef Wellington, chicken burgers with lime and avocado, cucumbers with hummus and sundried tomato, potatoes with crème fraîche, French fries, shrimp cocktail and for dessert, lemon bars and chocolate. On the way out, guests left with a bag full of birthday treats from French luxury brand Leonor Greyl, including the hair care range and other top-shelf products from the French-born beauty expert's self-named company.
Inside Dish: There’s been a lot of news lately about royals, but there’s only one known to be in town and making the rounds during Oscars week — H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco. The passionate environmental activist and champion of the world’s oceans made a pit stop at the iconic Sunset Tower just after 7:30 p.m. Wednesday night to toast the upcoming 60th anniversary of the Monte-Carlo Television Festival, an event founded by his father, Prince Rainier III in 1961.
Though it had the feel of a chic birthday party featuring some of Prince Albert’s recognizable pals from the small screen, it started out with a somber nod to the legendary Kirk Douglas, whose passing was announced just hours earlier. Prince Albert paid tribute to the actor, who died at age 103, by calling him "one of the last great legends" of Hollywood's Golden Age. “He was admired not only for his outstanding career but also for his incredibly personality,” he said. “I had the pleasure of meeting him several times and as you know, he and his family were great friends with my family. In this time of sorrow and pain, our prayers and thoughts go to the Douglas family and their loved ones.”
Prince Albert then turned attention to his own family, mentioning how his father founded the festival at a time when TV was in its early stages. “The primary goal of the event was to recognize television as an outstanding means of bringing cultures together and enhancing their respective knowledge. Despite the phenomenal evolution of the industry, I believe this vision remains very relevant. It is such an exciting time for this industry which has never been so competitive and so highly creative,” he continued, before inviting the crowd of 250 to take part when the event unspools this June. “The Monte-Carlo Television Festival is proud to be part of the entertainment industry with the goal to promote the best productions from around the world. … Thank you once again for joining all of us here this evening. I hope you have a wonderful time and I look forward to welcoming you next June in Monaco as we gather to celebrate the very best of television on the occasion of this 60th anniversary.”
One person who has already said "yes" is Taylor Kitsch, who will be making the trek with his collaborators on Shadowplay, which will have its world premiere there. The series, from StudioCanal division Tandem Prods. and Bron Studios, will take center stage at the festival with two episodes. It tells a story set in post-World War II Berlin about an American cop who arrives in the summer of 1946 to help create a police force in the aftermath of war. The cop’s goal is to take down "Engelmacher" Gladow, the Capone of post-war Berlin, but at the same time, he undertakes a crusade to find his missing brother Moritz. Kitsch told THR that, in terms of new projects, he’s always "trying to find something that scares you, something that's really different.” In this show, he found both and a time period he was fascinated by. "It's a fictional character, obviously, but the time and the way we play with these factual elements,” he explained. “It’s really cool and has a great cast. Everyone just killed it.” — Chris Gardner
Party: Vanity Fair: Hollywood Calling
Players: Charlize Theron, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Ashley Greene, Caitlyn Jenner, Rachel Zoe, Elizabeth Chambers, Rumer Willis, Sarunas Jackson, Taylor Russell and Bobby Berk attended.
Place: Annenberg Space for Photography
Served: Table-sized charcuterie board plus tray-passed coconut shrimp, turkey meatballs, dumplings and bite-sized chicken and waffles
Inside Dish: Kicking off the week's Oscar festivities — which culminates in its iconic party Sunday night — Vanity Fair celebrated the opening of its "Hollywood Calling" exhibit at Los Angeles' Annenberg Space for Photography. The gallery, which showcases iconic covers, photo shoots and behind-the-scenes images from the magazine's history, debuted with the help of some of the famous faces it has featured, including Demi Moore (with daughter Rumer Willis), whose nude pregnancy cover is among the dozens of images on the walls.
Charlize Theron was also on hand, attentively tuning into the Vanity Fair documentary screened during the opening and telling curator, "This is amazing." The A-lister, ahead of her best actress nomination on Sunday, was also a hot commodity for selfie seekers. Caitlyn Jenner and model Sophia Hutchins made an appearance, as Jenner recounted to her rep the decision to choose Vanity Fair for her coming out announcement. Jenner, an avid golfer, also paused by a portrait of Jack Nicholson golfing in his backyard, cigarette dangling from his mouth, and told Hutchins, "I love that shot."
Jenner was also one of the many guests to take advantage of the interactive photo installation, designed by photographer Mark Seliger to replicate one of his sets inside the Vanity Fair Oscar party. Elsewhere in the exhibit — which features themed walls of "actors as actors," "kings and queens of comedy" and "family affair" — Rachel Zoe caught up with Elizabeth Chambers and Insecure's Sarunas Jackson, Lost in Space's Taylor Russell and Queer Eye's Bobby Berk browsed through the halls. Outside the Annenberg space, guests took advantage of the open bar and charcuterie spread while a DJ spun remixes and a large video screen cycled through more Vanity Fair images. — Kirsten Chuba