Whose soiree now?

Oscar party list taking shape

Sunday, DreamWorks will go head-to-head with Miramax.

No, not at the Oscar ceremony — we’re talking parties. So far, those are the only two film companies planning major Oscar-night fetes, pinning big hopes on, respectively, “American Beauty” and “The Cider House Rules.”

But before that evening there will be a weekend full of pre-kudos shindigs. And, to end the greatest suspense in this year’s Academy Award race: Yes, Miramax will be holding its annual Oscar-eve party and, yes, Harvey will be there.

There will be an abundance of festivities Oscar weekend: The three-day fiesta count is roughly 25, a few more than last year.

Even though the number of events has increased, some of last year’s major celebrants are not currently planning parties: the William Morris Agency (the past two years, the tenpercentery had huge Friday night affairs); Talk magazine (it had a Golden Globe party instead); and the BBC (maybe they’ll watch television that night).

The current party lineup is as follows:

Thursday

  • Chris Lee and Christopher Ciccone and “American Beauty” producers Bruce Cohen (who went to Yale with Lee) and Dan Jinks will be hosting a private party at Atlantic. This is Lee and Ciccone’s fourth annual pre-Oscar affair.

Friday

  • Dino and Martha De Laurentiis (along with the Italian Film Agency) will be hosting a luncheon at their Beverly Hills home for the Italian Oscar nominees. Fiorello, who sings “Tu Vo Fa L’Americano” with Matt Damon in “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” will be performing.

  • Artisan is expecting 400-500 guests at Quixote Studios in West Hollywood for a fiesta with live performances by Gus Gus as well as Kruder & Dorfmeister. This is primarily an Independent Spirit Awards-eve party. Details magazine is co-hosting.

  • USA Films is taking over the Hollywood nightclub Blue for a bash with about 300-400 guests. Event celebrates the company’s Spirit and Academy nods. Organizers say this “party with attitude” will “not be staid, old-guard Hollywood” but reflect “the ruggedly individual tastes of the filmmakers who are associated with the studio.”

  • As he’s done in years past, Ed Limato will be having hundreds of guests at his Hollywood Hills home for an A-list party. The gathering always boasts a heavy star turnout, even though actors are otherwise pretty reclusive on pre-Oscar weekend.

  • United Talent Agency partner David Schiff will be hosting his annual Oscar-weekend soiree for nominees at his home.

Saturday

  • Saturday afternoon, the big event is the Independent Spirit Awards, which will again be held in a massive white tent on a parking lot near Santa Monica beach. Jennifer Tilly will host; screenwriter-producer James Schamus will give the keynote address.

  • The Independent Film Channel will host a reception at Shutters on the Beach (a short walk from the tent) for “Boys Don’t Cry” immediately following the Spirit awards. The soiree honors Hilary Swank, Chloe Sevigny and Kimberly Peirce for their Oscar and Spirit nods.

  • Entertainment Weekly will be celebrating the mag’s 10th anniversary at the Santa Monica Airport’s Barker Hangar. The party will run from the late afternoon into the evening. “The Oscars are to Entertainment Weekly what the Super Bowl is to Sports Illustrated,” says managing editor James Seymore. “This is a major weekend for us.”

  • The British Academy of Film & Television Arts/Los Angeles’ annual tea party will be held from 3-6 p.m. at the Loews Beach Hotel. The reception focuses on Academy, BAFTA and Spirit award nominees.

  • Saturday afternoon, the Society of Composers & Lyricists will be hosting a reception for the Academy’s music nominees at a private home in Hollywood. “The music honorees have come from all over the world,” says Academy music governor Charles Bernstein. “This party is a great chance to introduce them to each other and to the film community.”

  • As it’s always done, Miramax will have its annual Oscar-eve party (the one where stars read scenes from each other’s nominated films) at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. “We’re superstitious, so we’re sticking with tradition,” says studio exec Marcy Granata. As for topper Harvey Weinstein, who was recently hospitalized: “He’s absolutely coming.”

  • Four studio toppers will be hosting private Oscars-eve parties for their nominees: Par’s Sherry Lansing, Disney’s Peter Schneider, Warner Bros.’ Alan Horn, and Fox/Fox Searchlight’s Bill Mechanic.

Sunday

  • Oscar night’s party headliner is once again the Academy’s Governors Ball, which will be held in the Shrine’s Exposition Center. With a tab of between $800,000 and $1 million, it’s arguably the most expensive annual party thrown in the U.S. Sid Ganis chairs the ball.

  • Vanity Fair’s annual fiesta hosted by editor Graydon Carter will again be held at Morton’s. Roughly 150 guests, many from New York, come for a sit-down dinner viewing party, followed by a post-Oscars affair that draws hundreds more. Monica Lewinsky, at the height of her notoriety, was a dinner guest last year. How do you top that? Invite Darva Conger and Rick Rockwell? “Not in your lifetime,” snaps a mag spokesman.

  • Just across Robertson from Morton’s (at what was once the Pagani restaurant space) will be the Elton John/InStyle magazine party. This is an AIDS benefit with the same setup as Vanity Fair’s: Some come for dinner, more come later. In years past, so many fans have gathered to watch arrivals that this year the organizers may set up bleachers.

  • For the second year, the Hollywood Stock Exchange will be taking over the House of Blues. They plan to build “The O2K Village” — an Oscar-themed interactive experience — on the Sunset Strip that will be open to the public throughout the weekend. The night of the awards, there will be a major party with Earth, Wind & Fire and Moby performing at the HOB and via Webcast.

  • DreamWorks (with its hopes for “American Beauty”) will be moving into the Beverly Hills Spago for a post-Oscar ceremony party with roughly 800 guests. Part of Canon Drive will be blocked off and tented to accommodate the crowd.

  • In keeping with a tradition going back at least one year, Miramax (and its hopes for “The Cider House Rules”) will be taking over the Beverly Hills Hotel’s Polo Lounge, where the studio celebrated last year’s “Shakespeare in Love” and “Life Is Beautiful” wins.

  • New Line and Fine Line, which have nods for “Magnolia” and “Tumbleweeds,” are having a viewing party at Chaya Brasserie.

  • Brntwd Magazine will have an Oscar viewing and after-party at the Crustacean restaurant. This fiesta doubles as a benefit for Heal the Bay.

  • The Night of the 100 Stars gala, which benefits the Film Preservation Society, will again be held in the Beverly Hills Hotel’s ballroom. Last year the fund-raiser made news by announcing that Siberia governor Alexander Lebed, who was then making headlines as a frontrunner to succeed Russian president Boris Yeltsin, would be attending. But the former general was a no-show.

Even in Siberia, sometimes you just want to stay home, put a log on the fire and watch the whole Oscars hoopla on TV with the comrades.

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