Fewer fetes by studios as brands take over
Fasten your seat belts, it’s time for the annual Oscar Week Party Marathon. The good news: There are more parties than in the past few years. The bad: You probably aren’t invited to most of them.There are more than three dozen glitzy events in the next six days. And while it’s tempting to attribute this increase to Oscar’s expansion to 10 best-pic contenders, or to assume that it’s a sign of economic recovery, that’s probably not the case. In a continuing trend, the studios seem to be shying away from the Oscar party business: Only a handful of the fetes are from film companies. Disney, with eight noms, and Warners, with seven, aren’t hosting events. Instead, the events are hosted by orgs like Women in Film or by brands (Dior, Moet Chandon, BMW et al.) that want to get close to Oscar’s glow. The past two years saw a dearth of parties; in 2008, the WGA strike had just ended shortly before Oscar night, and last year, the economy fell through the floor. In both cases, Hollywood did not want to be seen celebrating while layoffs were skyrocketing. This year, sponsors are more willing to be seen as keeping the economy rolling. And while there are an average of six events each night, that doesn’t mean they are all large-scale. In fact, many are so intimate, that companies are keeping their celebrations secret, to avoid the barrage of would-be partygoers. “There are more choices, so there are more places for agents’ assistants to bug us for tickets,” is the way one exasperated studio event planner put it. “They’re relentless.” This week’s celebrating culminates an extremely long campaign season in which filmmakers and actors were trotted out for an endless round of parties, receptions and lunches. “It was a long road to get here,” said one studio exec who handles events. “You had to keep reminding people.” This year’s biggest change is the Independent Spirit Awards’ move of date and venue. Instead of being held on Saturday afternoon in a tent in Santa Monica, Film Independent is presenting its awards Friday evening downtown in a tent set on L.A. Live’s event deck. The org’s unofficial slogan for this year is: “Same spirit, different tent.” Here’s a rundown of some of the week’s celebrations. TUESDAY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences hosts a screening of the nommed short subjects with a filmmaker discussion at 7:30 p.m. in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. WEDNESDAY
Moet Chandon hosts a luncheon celebrating “The Hurt Locker” at the RH restaurant in the Andaz Hotel on Sunset Boulevard. AMPAS hosts a screening of the nommed documentary films with the filmmakers at 7:30 p.m. in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Global Green USA has its annual party/concert for the environmentally conscious at the Avalon in Hollywood. Brioni is holding a reception at the BevHills Hotel’s Bar Nineteen 12 hosted by Paul Haggis, Lee Daniels and Gerard Butler. Roadside Attractions is having a cocktail reception for “The Cove” at Haven360 in the Andaz Hotel. THURSDAY
The third annual Essence Black Women in Hollywood luncheon is at the BevHills Hotel. Gabourey Sidibe, Queen Latifah, Zoe Saldana and Mary J. Blige will be honored. The U.S.-Ireland Alliance’s annual Oscar Wilde party at the Wilshire Ebell honors J.J. Abrams, Seamus McGarvey and Saoirse Ronan. Vanity Fair magazine and BMW sponsor the third annual Pieces of Heaven art auction at Palihouse. Hosts are Amy Smart and Scott Caan. AMPAS hosts its animated features symposium at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at 7:30 p.m. Women in Film hosts its third annual reception for femme nominees at the Bel-Air home of Peter and Tara Guber. Dior Beauty has its fifth annual Hollywood Glamour dinner at the Chateau Marmont. Uptown mag and BMW are hosting a pour for “Precious” helmer Lee Daniels at Haven360 in the Andaz Hotel. FRIDAY
The Independent Spirit Awards at Downtown’s L.A. Live. The 17th annual Oscar Student Filmmakers Scholarship luncheon is at the Montage Hotel. Tom Ford, David Scearce and the cast of “Precious” are among those honored. The Diamond Information Center has a luncheon honoring “An Education’s” Carey Mulligan at the Chateau Marmont. WME hosts its annual party at the home of agency topper Ari Emanuel. Isaac Mizrahi and QVC have their reception at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. CAA’s Bryan Lourd hosts his annual party at his home. OK! Magazine throws a party at Beso with a performance by Keri Hilson. Premiere.com and Jack Daniels present the Golden Trailer Awards at Haven360 in the Andaz Hotel. SATURDAY
Saturday’s dominant event as always is the Night Before Party, which will once again be poolside at the BevHills Hotel. This is the eighth annual event benefitting the Motion Picture & Television Fund. Last year, more than $5.5 million was raised. AMPAS holds it annual symposium for nominated foreign-language films in the morning at the Goldwyn Theater; and in the afternoon for the makeup category nominees. Each year, Barry Diller and his wife, Diane von Furstenberg, host a luncheon honoring Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter. The Weinstein Co. and Montblanc host a party at Soho House in West Hollywood for nominees from “Inglourious Basterds,” “Nine” and “A Single Man.” The German Consulate and the Goethe Institute fete German nominees at Villa Aurora. Charles Bernstein and Arthur Hamilton chair the Society of Composers & Lyricists annual afternoon reception for the music nominees at a BevHills home. Sony Classics is having a dinner for its 13 nominees at Il Cielo in Beverly Hills. Summit and Vogue plan an evening reception at the Mondrian for “The Hurt Locker.” SUNDAY
AMPAS has its Governors Ball in Hollywood & Highland’s Grand Ballroom; the org’s viewing party for members in Gotham will be at GILT in the Palace Hotel. Vanity Fair magazine holds its almost annual (they skipped the year of the WGA strike) dinner and post-Oscar party at the Sunset Tower Hotel. Madonna, her manager Guy Oseary and Demi Moore have an Oscar after-party that gets going around 11 p.m. in a tent attached to Oseary’s Hollywood Hills home. The Elton John AIDS Foundation puts on its 18th annual dinner/viewing party at the Pacific Design Center. Fox and Fox Searchlight will have a viewing party at Boulevard 3. The annual the Envelope Please AIDS Benefit will again be at the Abbey in West Hollywood. InStyle has its annual viewing party at BLT in West Hollywood. E! Network parties on the rooftop Drai’s Hollywood in W Hollywood hotel. Night of 100 Stars annual dinner/viewing party will be at the BevHills Hotel.