An Oscar for parties

Studios, benefit, mag celebrate the kudos

If there’s an Oscar night award for elation, it would have been presented at Spago where DreamWorks had a massive party that stretched out onto a tented Canon Drive celebrating its five “American Beauty” wins.

Beneath a dining room ceiling covered in thousands of rose petals, the studio’s marketing chief Terry Press said she was “glad that Annette Bening had taken the precaution of having a doctor and an ambulance standing by, because if the company didn’t win, they were going to have to take me to the hospital.”


Not only did Press avoid the emergency room she celebrated with a crowd that included Kevin Spacey, Sam Mendes, Steven Spielberg, Paul Allen, David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, S.F. Mayor Willie Brown and California Gov. Gray Davis.

Across town at Morton’s, Vanity Fair threw a party that had so many stars Leonard Goldberg said, “They could give out the Oscars here.”

Fran Lebowitz, who was stretched out on a white couch next to a carton of Marlboro Lights someone brought her when she asked for a cigarette (“If I smoke all of these, I don’t think I’ll make it back next year”), said the party’s best feature was the people watching.

“They should put this on television,” Lebowitz said from her supine position. “Then you could watch it without being disturbed.”

She was observing a crowd that included Barry Diller saying the Oscar show was “nicely eclectic,” while Russell Simmons’ take on the telecast was that “it was pretty boring. But then I can’t sit through my own award shows.”

“South Park” co-creator Matt Stone, who had changed from the demurely becoming, pink satin gown he wore to the ceremony, said he thought the musical number for “Blame Canada” was done “with about as much humor as you could get from the Academy.”

Though the Elton John/InStyle party was just across the street, there was a world of difference between the two fiestas. One guest at Vanity Fair who’d been to both made this analogy: “That is to Loehmann’s what this is to Barney’s.”

However, the fund-raiser for the Elton John AIDS Foundation raised in the neighborhood of $500,000 and had a guest list that included Gloria Estefan, Elizabeth Hurley, Leelee Sobieski, Jane Seymour, James Woods, Jay Leno, Janet McTeer, Martina Navratilova and Olivia Newton-John.

Miramax took over the Beverly Hills Hotel’s Polo Lounge for a soiree that had Caine’s and Irving’s wins to celebrate. In an especially celebratory mood was Irving, who said going through the film world’s awards season left him with “a fondness for my competitors.” He added that there’s “not that kind of friendliness and well-wishing in the literary world. You see a bitchiness in the literary community.”


Sony Pictures Classics held its Oscar bash for victorious Spanish helmer Pedro Almodovar at The Factory’s Ultra-Suede Lounge in West Hollywood. Unlike the other parties, where people milled about in bright spaces staring at each other, this party felt distinctly European.

Not only was the space dark and cramped, but it was also interactive and lively. Even at close to 2 a.m., attendees were dancing up a storm to an array of Spanish tunes. Almodovar held court in the recesses of the club, surrounded by countrymen and well-wishers. The language heard in bathrooms, on the dance floor and in the reclining chairs at the back of the club was primarily Spanish.

When people finally funneled out at party’s close, one could see the tired, well-dressed crowd kissing and hugging each other with abandon.

Seen mixing and milling were Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith, Wes Bentley and SPC co-prexy Tom Bernard.

(Charles Lyons contributed to this report.)

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