The Academy Awards have always been quintessentially American, with big, glitzy parties, megawatt movie stars and an overabundance of decadence. Yet this year’s nominees illustrate how the Oscars and films themselves have become increasingly international.
As the worldwide entertainment community converges on Los Angeles this week, not only do the five countries in contention for the top foreign-language honor have a stake in the outcome, but numerous others have rooting interests up and down the Oscar ballot.
Still, given all the international presence, the calendar of consulate events this week is surprisingly low-key, with many countries sitting it out.
Denmark is offering something small and private, and Canada is hosting a Thursday luncheon. Germany is planning a fairly traditional Saturday party, although the reception is more tea party than Oktoberfest, says Corina Danckwerts, the U.S. representative of the German Film Service, which is hosting the event in conjunction with the consulate.
But the dearth of foreign blowouts should not necessarily be interpreted as indifference, but rather an acknowledgement that Oscar places demands on its nominees beyond partying with their countrymen.
“If we planned an event, we would want it to be successful,” says a British consulate spokesperson. “Our stars are so busy promoting their work, and we would want those stars there. … We don’t want to impose on their time when they really need to concentrate on furthering their careers.
“It would just be a party; this wouldn’t be a benefit to them. … So they can go, carry the flag on their own.”
For its part, the German film service also reviewed the benefit to its filmmaking community before sending invites, ultimately concluding that its afternoon gathering can help further the prominence and careers of the creatives.
The fifth-annual reception, to be held at the Villa Aurora in Pacific Palisades, will serve up champagne in a garden setting where 400 or so members of the German film community can mingle, network and enjoy the ocean view.
“It’s basically the annual event of the German film industry in Los Angeles,” Danckwerts says.
The reception will honor the foreign-film nomination of “The Lives of Others” and provide directors, thesps and producers an opportunity to mingle with agents and distributors. While Saturday is a busy day, Danckwerts finds that once partygoers arrive, they don’t want to leave.
“This is a major organization,” she says, “Everyone tries to get in — it’s a really hot ticket.”
On the domestic front, Saturday traditionally has been the time to celebrate nominations, friends and just surviving in the business, with intimate dinners, luncheons and champagne receptions hosted by studios, moguls or charities. Barry Diller and Diane Von Furstenberg will again host a luncheon, and HBO’s docu branch will enjoy a quiet repast.
However, the increasing prominence of both the Night Before party and Independent Spirit Awards has shrunk the overall party field (though Focus does assure that as soon as it has noms again, a party will be thrown).
“I think people are just partied out,” one studio publicist offers.
Still, some party on …
BIG WEEK BLOWOUTS
Night Before party
Where: Beverly Hills Hotel
When: 8 p.m.
Who: Hosted by Jeffrey Katzenberg, the party features an A-plus guest list.
Backstory: Fifth-annual event benefits the Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation — last year’s soiree raised $6.1 million. For attendees, it’s a final chance to have an Oscar-themed evening without the glare of the broadcast or print press, which aren’t permitted to cover the festivities.
Independent Film Channel 2007 Spirit Awards Post-Party
Where: Shutters on the Beach
When: Immediately following the kudos
Who: Everyone attending will be VIP, including talent, executives and producers.
Backstory: Party is the exclusive fete of the Spirit Awards — IFC broadcasts the kudocast live — and is thrown to additionally celebrate and honor those in independent film.
Society of Composers & Lyricists cocktail reception
Where: Home of composer John Cacavas and wife Bonnie
When: Late afternoon
Who: Oscar-nominated composers and songwriters, along with members of the society, many of whom also belong to the Academy’s music branch.
Backstory: “It’s nice to honor them for receiving a nomination, and with the duality of membership, we feel we ought to help the society by encouraging such an event,” says society veep Arthur Hamilton, who heads the Academy’s music branch.
Motion Picture Sound Editors’ Golden Reel Awards
Where: Beverly Hilton Hotel
When: 5:30 p.m. cocktails, 7 p.m. dinner, 8:30 p.m. awards
Who: Clint Eastwood, who is set to receive the Film Maker Award, and Richard Anderson, who gets the career achievement award, are expecte to join with nominees for feature film and television sound editing honors and MPSE members.
Backstory: Kudos to honor work in all genres of sound editing and to recognize contributions to the entertainment industry.
Armani Celebrates the Oscars
Where: Ron Burkle’s Green Acres estate, Beverly Hills
When: 6:30 p.m.
Who: Designer Giorgio Armani will be there in person.
Backstory: Oscar won’t be the top story: Armani, left, will present his Prive Spring/ Summer 2007 couture collection to a select audience.
Where: Undisclosed until Saturday
When: After the Night Before party
Who: Quality over quantity
Backstory: “It’s small and intimate so people can actually enjoy themselves and have a few drinks rather than be faced with a huge press line,” says a Weinstein publicist.