They’re arguably as important as the awards themselves, and twice as hard to get into: the post-Oscar parties.
But this year’s string of fetes have a decidedly low-key air. The biggest bash of the night will undoubtedly be the joint Paramount/20th Century Fox celebration in Beverly Hills, where the two companies are hosting a major affair in a car park.
“It’s going to be very elegant inside, with mahogany bars and the like,” a spokesman assured. “We want people to relax and have a good time.”
With “Titanic” the favorite to win the best picture Oscar, the event will be a must for most post-awards party-goers. Competing with it in the star-driven, glitz category are Elton John’s annual gathering at Spago, and Sony Pictures Entertainment’s event at Chasen’s.
After last year’s hoo-ha, when its party at the Mondrian was mobbed and eventually halted by the L.A. fire brigade, party animal Miramax Films has resorted to a modest “supper party” in the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
“We’ll be swanky but much smaller than last year,” acknowledged a Miramax spokesman.
Partly due to a desire for intimacy, Miramax’s security is tighter than ever, with prospective revelers obliged to hand over photocopies of their driving licenses in order to collect their tickets.
New Line Cinema, which this year has a record number of nominations, is also opting for a family-only affair at Chaya Brasserie in Beverly Hills.
Meanwhile, the number of pre-Oscar parties continues to grow. Following Saturday’s Independent Spirit Awards was the annual BAFTA tea party, honoring both the BAFTA and Academy nominees. Among those in attendance were Mark Addy (“The Full Monty”), Kim Basinger, Minnie Driver, Peter Fonda, Helena Bonham Carter, Curtis Hanson and Sigourney Weaver.
Saturday — it was rumored — also saw private parties hosted by agencies UTA and William Morris. Sunday was Ed Limato’s ICM bash, Alliance’s brunch at the Ivy for “The Sweet Hereafter,” and a Miramax nominee-only reception at the Beverly Wilshire.
In Gotham, East Coast members of the Academy will gather at 21, where Arthur Manson, chairman of the Acad’s New York events committee, will host a cocktail party and dinner to watch the Oscars. Among those expected at 21 are Carol Channing, Robert Loggia, Robert Vaughn, Dina Merrill, Karen Allen, Darren McGavin, Susan Seidelman, Werner Klemperer and Arlene Dahl.
Entertainment Weekly’s fourth annual Oscar party at Elaine’s is expected to attract bigwigs from Gotham’s media, film and legit communities. Among the confirmed guests are Peter Jennings, Barbara Walters, Walter Cronkite, NBC president Robert Wright, CBS Entertainment president Leslie Moonves, Robert Altman, Lauren Holly, Steve Kroft and Marilu Henner.