Oscar parties early, often

Many celebrations will happen beforehand

This year, the Academy Awards will be handed out on a Sunday, but most of the celebrating will be on Saturday.

This marks a sea change from years past. Four studios with films nominated for best picture — Universal, DreamWorks, USA Films and Miramax — won’t be having after-parties on March 25, Oscar night. However, all will be celebrating the night before within walking distance of each other.

Organizers cite a number of reasons for the shift from Oscar-night to Oscar-eve affairs: The parties seem truncated, since guests often arrive very late, after a long awards show and a stop at the Governors Ball; Vanity Fair’s party is such a draw that winners often want to leave their own studio’s party to get to Morton’s; and, as one exec said: “The night before the awards, the nominees are all still winners.”

Other reasons given: After the awards, the talent shouldn’t be expected to endure another press line; some studios have multiple nominees in the same category, and that can lead to delicate situations at an after-party; and it’s less expensive to have a small pre-dinner.

Here are Oscar-related affairs during Academy Awards weekend:

FRIDAY 3/23

  • MGM hosts a cocktail party for Thalberg Award honoree Dino De Laurentiis at the Four Seasons.

  • The Italian Cultural Institute, the Italian Consulate and Italia Cinema honor all the Italian nominees (Pietro Scalia, Ennio Morricone) and De Laurentiis at the Italian Cultural Institute with an after-party at the Sunset Room.

  • ICM’s Ed Limato will be having guests at his home for an A-list party.

SATURDAY 3/24

  • Though they have nothing to do with the Oscars, the Independent Spirit Awards are part of the weekend’s festivities and once again will be held in a massive white tent set on a parking lot near the Santa Monica beach.

  • The British Academy of Film & Television Arts/Los Angeles’ annual tea party will be at the St. Regis Hotel in Century City from 3 to 6 p.m.

  • The Society of Composers & Lyricists will be hosting an afternoon reception for the Academy’s music nominees at a private home in Beverly Hills. “We’ve got a truly international list of nominees this year,” said Academy music governor Charles Bernstein. “This is a rare opportunity to bring them all together.”

  • Miramax will have its annual Oscars-eve party (the one where stars read scenes from each other’s nominated films) at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

  • USA Films hosts a small dinner for the “Traffic” cast and nominees at the Chadwick restaurant in BevHills.

  • DreamWorks is having a cocktail party at Spago Beverly Hills for its nominees.

  • Universal will be celebrating at El Cielo on Burton Way.

  • Paramount will be hosting a party for nominees and execs at a Beverly Hills restaurant.

SUNDAY 3/25

  • The Governors Ball, chaired by Sid Ganis with a budget in the $1 million range, will be held in the Shrine’s Exposition Hall.

  • Vanity Fair’s annual sit-down dinner and after-party, hosted by editor Graydon Carter, will again be held at Morton’s. The mag will also have a separate dinner, catered by Chaya Brasserie, hosted by VF publisher Pete Hunsinger, to be held in the vacant space directly across Robertson from Morton’s (what was formerly Pagani and is now being turned into an art gallery).

  • Sony is taking over the Crustacean restaurant in Beverly Hills for a viewing and post-awards party.

  • Miramax will be hosting a viewing party (but no after-party) for its nominees’ families and friends at a yet-to-be-decided location.

  • The annual Elton John viewing dinner/post-party will be at Moomba (where the Luna Park club once was on Robertson about two blocks north of Morton’s). This year’s main sponsor will be the Chopard watch company, with additional support from InStyle Magazine. Moomba’s parking lot will be floored and tented for a sit-down dinner for 200. After dinner, John will enter the club and is expected to perform on the stage.

  • Brntwd Magazine will be having its third annual viewing and post-party at Reata restaurant in Beverly Hills. The event benefits the Revlon/UCLA Breast Center and Girls Inc.

  • The Night of the 100 Stars viewing party, which benefits the Film Foundation, will again be held in the Beverly Hills Hotel’s ballroom.

  • Detour Magazine and Laurent Perrier Champagne will be hosting a viewing and after-party for 400 at the Kassbah restaurant on Melrose Avenue (about two blocks west of Morton’s).

  • Los Angeles Magazine will be hosting the Children Uniting Nations fund-raiser at Spago Hollywood.

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