Mag pulls plug in order to support writers

Vanity Fair will take a one-year hiatus from its Academy Award party, providing a rare opportunity — for a studio, entrepreneur or magazine — to fill the post-Oscars fiesta gap.

The mag cited the strike in announcing its decision. The move comes after Ed Limato canceled his annual party on the Friday before the Oscars and puts into question the Saturday luncheon in honor of VF editor Graydon Carter at the home of Barry Diller and Diane Von Furstenberg.

The Governors Ball, thrown by the Academy, looks likely to hold undisputed sway over the evening, while Elton John’s AIDS fund-raiser (which last year was only a viewing party) could gain importance for post-Oscar revelers.

Other pre-Oscar events are going full speed ahead, including the annual Night Before party on Saturday, Feb. 23, and the Night Before the Night Before on Feb. 22.

The Independent Spirit Awards will go on as scheduled as well.

But with a key player removed from the scene, it’s a possible opportunity for another reveler. Though pulling together a major party this late in the game would be difficult, it’s not impossible.

“There were people who didn’t have Oscar parties because they didn’t want to piss off Vanity Fair and not get invited,” said one L.A.-based event planner.After hearing the news, the planner called a client and said, “It’s time for you to step up to the plate.”

Vanity Fair inherited the party mantle after Irving “Swifty” Lazar stopped throwing his hot-ticket soirees.

In a statement, the magazine said, “After much consideration, and in support of the writers and everyone else affected by this strike, we have decided that this is not the appropriate year to hold our annual Oscar party. We want to congratulate all of this year’s nominees, and we look forward to hosting our 15th Oscar party next year.”

Vanity Fair spokeswoman Beth Kseniak said that though the Writers Guild of America strike appears close to being settled, the mag still decided to pull the plug.

“Even though the strike might end, that doesn’t necessarily mean things are going to return to normal immediately,” she said. “It’s been a bad couple of months for a lot of different people, and it didn’t seem like the appropriate time to throw a big party.”

For the past 14 years, the party had been at Mortons. This year it was scheduled to be held at Craft.

It would appear the cancellation leaves a gap for a studio to fill. For the past decade, however, studios have shied away from Oscar night parties.

“Studios don’t like to gamble on a night-of party,” said one planner. “They like to do something on the nights leading up to the Oscars when everyone is still a winner.”

A slew of pre-Oscar parties will start the Wednesday before the Academy Awards, as studios traditionally hold events honoring their nominees, while consulates and other orgs host events.

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