Rambling Reporter at the Oscars: Champagne Chugging, Hollywood Critiques Chris Rock

11:30 AM 3/2/2016

by Chris Gardner

Brie Larson was spotted downing a glass before her best actress win and Rooney Mara whispered of Mark Rylance’s win over Sylvester Stallone: "That's craaazy."

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu - GETTY - H 2016
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

A version of this story first appeared in the March 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

  • Thank You for the 'Thank You'?

    Nominees had mixed feelings about the "thank-you scroll" that producers Reginald Hudlin and David Hill installed as a new show feature. On the red carpet, most actors and directors said they had turned in their list of up to 80 words. "I think it's a great idea," said Alejandro G. Inarritu, who was able to use his time onstage when he won for best director to talk about diversity. "I think one of the things that happens to you is you suddenly forget everything — your own name, your mom's name — so to have the chance to thank some people is great."

    The Martian screenwriter Drew Goddard also filled out the form: "You start with your family, then you move to your crew and then everyone else. That's at least how I structured it." At least one nominee didn't participate: "I didn't do it because I know I'm not going to win," Rooney Mara told THR ahead of the show (Alicia Vikander won). "And I'm old-school. I want to thank the people verbally, not with a little CNN scroll." Someone who never got a chance to express his gratitude was Sylvester Stallone. He told THR he was flabbergasted at losing: "I had a speech Winston Churchill would have loved." — Rebecca Ford with reporting by Bill Higgins.

  • Lobby Spy

    The next best thing to being seated inside the Dolby Theatre on Oscar Sunday is the chance to stand in and around the Dolby’s main bar on the ground level where A-listers sneak in quick cocktail breaks during commercials. And if you’re Tom Hardy, a lobby respite included something that is banned inside the Dolby — vaping. The Revenant best supporting actor nominee ­ — praised as a “fierce talent” by co-star and best actor winner Leonardo DiCaprio (who was seen vaping inside the SAG Awards) — took a couple of puffs from his vaporizer in plain view of uniformed officers though no one seemed to care.

    Oscar attendees seemed more passionate about the bar, which ran out of two specialty cocktails — the Lowland Highball featuring Haig Club bourbon and the Double Agent with Ketel One Citroen — shortly after 7 p.m. Luckily for Brie Larson, the Piper-Heidsieck stayed in stock and the best actress winner was spotted chugging a glass before her category was announced. Other notable sightings: Paramount chief Brad Grey helping wife Cassandra with a snag in her zipper on the back of her Oscar ensemble for several minutes outside the bathrooms; Charlize Theron sipping a martini with two olives after presenting the first award of the night; and The Weeknd being trailed by an entourage and one videographer through the lobby after his performance.

    Musician Alex Greenwald snaps a photo of girlfriend and best actress winner Brie Larson (while drinking Piper Heidsieck) while she has her Oscar statuette engraved at the 88th Annual Academy Awards Governors Ball at Hollywood & Highland Center on Feb. 28, 2016. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

    Speaking of drinking, George Miller came to party. The Mad Max helmer, who watched his film top the winners list with a total of six Oscars, told THR that he planned to extend his awards season celebrations for 48 hours. “I’m on my first drink now,” Miller says at 7:30 p.m. “Then I’m going to have a lot of drinks and stay up all night. The last time I was here was for Happy Feet and I stayed up all night. So actually I plan to stay up for two days this time.” But first, he needed to find his wife, Margaret Sixel. “She asked me to hold her purse and now she’s disappeared. I’ve tried calling her, but then I feel the purse buzzing so that’s not helping,” he laughs.

  • Chris Rock Reviews Are In

    Reactions to Chris Rock’s hosting gig were mostly glowing. At Vanity Fair’s ever-packed A-list fete in Beverly Hills (where Taylor Swift and Courtney Love were seen locked in a long conversation) John Singleton tells THR that Rock was “awesome,” adding that he “went at it. He took no prisoners.” Producer Michael Sugar, who picked up the Oscar for best picture for Spotlight alongside Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust, says Rock was “hitting all the issues but not making everybody feel too badly.” (Except for maybe Jada Pinkett Smith.)

    Paramount’s Brad Grey applauds with “fantastic job” while Jamie Foxx, whose name figured prominently in Rock’s opening monologue adds “that’s my boy.” Speaking to THR at the Mercedes-Benz viewing party with the African American Film Critics Association at Four Seasons Los Angeles, Foxx adds, “I didn’t want him to be put in a position where people thought he wasn’t black enough. But that’s tough and people don’t understand when you are a comedian we’re hired to make sure everything’s great whatever it is. It couldn’t have been a better person than Rock to have done it.” 

    From backstage, The Big Short writer-director Adam McKay said he "thought [the monologue] was really great."

    Asked for her favorite moment of the night, Oscar winner Patricia Arquette tells THR that it came courtesy of DiCaprio. “I loved his speech; so necessary and exciting. He was awe-awesome.” — Additional reporting by Rebecca Ford, Chris Gardner, Bill HIggins and Destiny Jackson

  • The Party Circuit's Bashes

    Chris Rock and Leonardo DiCaprio got some face-time at Vanity Fair’s bash, held in a custom Basil Walter-designed space next to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts that also hosted Jennifer Lawrence, Ben Affleck, (current cover star) Jennifer Garner, Kate Hudson, Caitlyn Jenner, Anne Hathaway and Sunday’s nights winners like Alicia Vikander and Brie Larson.

    It’s always one of the more buzzed about and more VIP bashes on the post-Oscars circuit, requiring that invitees (who received Apple TVs along with their invites, sources said, thanks to a new sponsorship) bring along a magnetic key card for entrance. But according to one top rep, the party circuit is shifting and industry insiders are relieved once the “more obligatory” stops like Governors Ball and Vanity Fair are completed and lucky party-goers can finally relax inside Madonna and Guy Oseary’s annual party (presented again by Gucci) at Oseary’s private residence off Coldwater Canyon. (The party famously is off-limits to press and photographers.)

    Though Madonna’s name appeared on invites and a post-party press release from Gucci, the Material Girl never appeared as she was on a Rebel Heart tour stop in Singapore. Those who did show: DiCaprio and Rock joined Oseary, Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, Alejandro G. Inarritu, Vikander, Larson, Hathaway, Affleck, Common, Jared Leto, Sylvester Stallone, Julianne Moore, James Franco, and Eddie Redmayne at the A-list party. But DiCaprio didn’t stay long. He jetted over to his own private, impromptu bash at Ago in West Hollywood. — Chris Gardner

  • WME's Pre-Oscars Party

    WME —  home to a diverse roster of talent from A-list actors and filmmakers to sports stars and models courtesy of IMG —  knows how to throw a hot party by inviting key members from its client roster at a killer spot.

    The agency’s hosted its pre-Oscars party on Feb. 27 at a private rental in Beverly Hills where Paul McCartney once lived — and across the street from the former home of legendary agent Ed Limato of WME and before that, ICM. The sprawling grounds, which included a guest house complete with a bowling alley, were crawling with A-listers with impressive resumes.

    The sports world was well repped by Cam Newton and Serena Williams; the music world by multi-hyphenate Justin Timberlake and Wiz Khalifa and Kaskade (who DJ’d part of the night); big-screen stars included Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck, nominee Matt Damon, Charlize Theron, nominee Rachel McAdams, Russell Crowe, Idris Elba, Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Biel; models like Alessandra Ambrosio and Sports Illustrated newbie Ashley Graham; creatives like Larry David (who went back to the Jon & Vinny’s pizza stand multiple times). Flashbulbs popped on the curb for Kourtney Kardashian and O’Shea Jackson, the latter of whom tried to trick paparazzi at the valet as he exited, telling them he was not, in fact “O’Shea” like they were yelling, but instead, “I’m Ice Cube!” — Chris Gardner