Rooney Mara, Eddie Redmayne Celebrate Chanel's Pre-Oscar Moment

Rooney Mara at Chanel Oscar Dinner - H 2016
BFA/Courtesy of Chanel

Rooney Mara at Chanel Oscar Dinner - H 2016

Kristen Stewart, Jessica Biel, Pharrell Williams, Emilia Clarke and others discuss fashion and film favorites at the French house's annual dinner, hosted by Charles Finch, on Saturday evening.

Envelopes wouldn’t be opened for another 24 hours, but as of Saturday night, two names were on everyone’s lips at the annual pre-Oscar Chanel dinner hosted by Charles Finch: Brie and Leo.

"Room was my favorite movie of the year; I just balled my eyes out," said Jessica Biel, who offered equal praise for Brie Larson’s nominated performance. "She’s just phenomenal in it, and really deserves it. Of course, everyone who’s nominated deserves it, but she just blew me away."

Emilia Clarke agreed: "It’s a beautiful thing to see Brie’s success in such an important and poignant film—she’s just incredible."

Pharrell Williams, meanwhile, predicted that Sunday night would belong to Leonardo DiCaprio, who was overdue, he said, for an Academy Award. "It’s been his time," the musician reasoned.

Helen Lasichanh and Pharrell Williams (Photo: BFA/Courtesy of Chanel)

This is the eighth year Chanel and Charles Finch have joined forces to host a dinner at Madeo the night before the Oscars. It’s become a favorite among A-listers precisely because it’s a chance to enjoy an intimate dinner in a candlelit restaurant that’s a favorite regardless of the occasion. Larson was among those who slipped quietly into the party, joining Charlotte Rampling, Adrien Brody, Diane Kruger, Oliver Stone, Dakota Fanning and Liev Schreiber. Rooney Mara, in a beautiful black vintage Chanel dress with flowers cascading down an open back, dashed in and out during the cocktail hour. “It’s all friends, and all Chanel, and that makes it a lot of fun,” said Rachel Zoe, whose last-minute decision of a vintage Chanel jumpsuit — “I literally was not dressed 20 minutes ago” — was paired with David Webb jewelry.

Julianne Moore (Photo: BFA/Courtesy of Chanel)

Indeed, another draw of this dinner is witnessing how each attendee works their Chanel game for the night. Julianne Moore (who wore Chanel haute couture when she won the Oscar in 2015 for Still Alice) opted for the elegance of a black-lace dress from the pre-fall 2016 collection — “It’s handmade and beautiful and I love it,” she enthused — while Kristen Stewart went for a casual-meets-edgy vibe in pre-fall 2016 white and gray lace pants paired with a black Chanel jacket and shoes from her own closet. “I didn’t want to feel styled tonight,” she said.

Williams arrived in a bathrobe over a T-shirt and jeans, but his love of the house was still on display via the “Voie Lactée” necklace in 18-karat white gold, pearls and diamonds from Chanel’s fine-jewelry collection. “I always wear pearls,” he explained. “I love the energy of stones that come from the earth one way or the other. The irony, of course, is that I’m a man, but I wear pearls or a women’s Chanel jacket, and the irony of that really interests me.” Coco Chanel, he believes, would have approved. “The legacy she created with pieces like the little black jacket, it just intensifies everything you see on the runway, and Karl [Lagerfeld] has been really generous with that as well,” he added.

Hannah Bagshawe, left, Eddie Redmayne and Charlotte Tilbury (Photo: BFA/Courtesy of Chanel)

Eddie Redmayne may not have been wearing Chanel — that duty fell to his wife, Hannah Bagshawe — but he was thrilled to be present nonetheless. “I’ve never been to this dinner before, but Charles Finch also does a dinner in London with Chanel before the BAFTAs, and it’s always the most wonderful evening—very old-school, and you feel the romanticism of the occasion,” he said. Who is Redmayne rooting for on Sunday night—aside from his own Best Actor category, that is? “Well, Alicia Vikander, of course,” he said of his co-star in The Danish Girl, up for Best Supporting Actress. “But I also saw this great British short film, Stutterer, and I’m really hoping that wins.”

As everyone headed inside to enjoy a menu of Madeo’s signature artichoke salad, branzino and tiramisu, as well as the mariachi band that likewise has become a staple of the event, Biel best summed up the evening’s appeal. “I’m starving,” she said, though she clarified that she meant more than the food. “I’ll just be enjoying visually what’s happening on everyone’s body.”

Jessica Biel (Photo: BFA/Courtesy of Chanel)