Gotham invites Oscar to the party

Elaine's, 21, other hotspots join in

Gotham is not a city that easily concedes its secondary status in any arena, but when forced to relinquish its dominance, New York does it with style.

The leading lights of New York’s media and legit communities tipped their hats to the West Coast Monday with a glittering array of Oscar parties.

At Elaine’s, Entertainment Weekly managing editor James W. Seymore Jr. presided over the magazine’s fourth annual Oscar party. The star power was heavily tilted toward the Alphabet Network, with such high-profile ABC employees as Peter Jennings, Barbara Walters and Star Jones in attendance.

Guests such as Regis Philbin, Norman Pearlstine and Donald Trump were greeted at the door of Elaine’s by gold-covered male models posing as Oscar statuettes and actors portraying characters from Academy Award-nominated pics.

Jason Raize, who plays Simba in Disney’s stage version of “The Lion King,” was thrilled when Robin Williams took home the best supporting actor award. “He deserves it. He’s been nominated so many times before and never won,” said Raize.

The only address where the venerable Oscar statue made an official appearance was ’21’ restaurant, where the Academy’s New York events committee chairman, Arthur Manson, hosted a dinner for 120 guests.

Among those who gathered at ’21’ were Academy board of governors member Carol Littleton, Museum of Modern Arts film and video department chief curator Mary Lea Bandy, Carol Channing, Oscar winner Bud Schulberg (“On the Waterfront”) and Arlene Dahl, who decorated the tables with fresh white orchids and black tablecloths embellished with golden stars.

Dahl recalled how she and Ricardo Montalban performed “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” at one Oscar ceremony. But mostly, Dahl enthused about 87-year-old Gloria Stuart’s best supporting actress nomination. “I’m not that old, but it still gives me hope,” she said.

Allure magazine editor Linda Wells and producer Ismail Merchant hosted an Oscar soiree at Pondicherry, a restaurant that Merchant runs next to the Paris Theatre on 58th Street. A resident of Gotham for the past 38 years, Merchant is in postproduction on “A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries,” which October Films will distribute Stateside.

“I have to be here, it’s my city,” said Merchant, who was joined by designer Nicole Miller and other luminaries of the fashion world.

Vanity Fair’s Oscar party may be the hot ticket in L.A., but the Gotham rendition at Balthazar was a private affair, largely reserved for the magazine’s contributors.

Some Gotham natives took a philanthropic approach to celebrating the Oscar’s. Live! magazine hosted a benefit for Variety — The Children’s Charity at the legendary Copacabana nightclub. Honorary co-chairs were Caroline’s Comedy Club founder Caroline Hirsch, Tyra Banks, Sam Cassell and Michael Kors.

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