No waiting for Oscar

Studios opt for pre-awards parties

It seems Hollywood prefers the foreplay to the cigarette afterward: most of the studios’ Academy Award parties will be held beforehand. This is the second year the studios have opted for pre-Oscar affairs. The reasons echo last year’s: The night before the Academy Awards, “everyone is still a winner”; there’s already enough to do on Sunday; and why risk being the third stop on a night that offers the Governors Ball and Vanity Fair’s party?

If there’s one big change this year, it’s that the British Academy of Film & Television Arts/Los Angeles will not have its annual Oscar weekend tea party. Org felt it had enough going on with the rescheduled Britannia Awards coming April 12.

Here are Oscar-related affairs during Academy Awards week:

THURSDAY

Warner Bros. toppers Barry Meyer and Alan Horn will host an on-the-lot cocktail reception for “Training Day” nominees Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke.

FRIDAY

ICM’s Ed Limato will have guests to his home for his annual A-list party.

Young industryites will gather at the Paramour in Silver Lake for a party benefiting the Entertainment Industry Foundation. Ascendant singer-songwriter John Mayer will perform.

SATURDAY

Though not connected with the Oscars, the Independent Spirit Awards will be held in Santa Monica.

Barry Diller and Diane Von Furstenberg host an al-fresco lunch at their Coldwater Canyon estate.

News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch will preside over an afternoon party at his Beverly Hills home celebrating Fox’s eight “Moulin Rouge” nominations.

The Society of Composers & Lyricists will host an afternoon reception for the Academy’s music nominees at a member’s home.

Miramax will have its annual early evening party at the Mondrian.

USA Films, DreamWorks and Universal will jointly host a dinner for their nominees at Spago in BevHills.

New Line (and its “Lord of the Rings” wizards, Hobbits and elves) will celebrate at topper Bob Shaye’s house.

Lions Gate and its “Monster’s Ball” nominees will be at Mirabelle.

Paramount will be hosting a party at Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills.

SUNDAY

The Governors Ball will be held in Hollywood & Highland’s Grand Ballroom.

Vanity Fair’s annual sit-down dinner and after-party will again be held at Morton’s. VF publisher Lou Cona will also host a dinner down the street at Lucques.

The annual Elton John AIDS Foundation benefit viewing dinner/post-party will be at Moomba.

DreamWorks, Universal and USA Films will jointly host a party at the Twist restaurant in the Renaissance hotel adjacent to H&H.

New Line will have a viewing party (that could expand into a “Lord of the Rings” victory celebration) at Maple Drive.

Amnesty Intl. and Children Uniting Nations will have a benefit viewing dinner and after-party at Ago.

The Night of the 100 Stars viewing party will be at the Beverly Hills Hotel’s ballroom.

Maxim magazine hosts a party that begins at midnight for roughly 400 guests on a 2½ -acre private estate.

Meanwhile, in Gotham, the Academy’s official New York City viewing party will be at Le Cirque 2000. Entertainment Weekly’s eighth annual party is at Elaine’s, and Mercedes-Benz and the Tribeca Grand are having an Oscar party at the hotel.

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