The pre-Oscar partying began in earnest Thursday at Santa Monica’s Bad Robot, where the U.S.-Ireland Alliance gave its Oscar Wilde trophies to Lionsgate vice-chairman Michael Burns, thesp Colin Farrell and makeup artist Michelle Burke. Burns recalled something his father used to say about giving speeches, “It’s like an Irish wake. Everyone wants you to be there, but nobody expects much.” Farrell also quipped about his own speech, “I had to write it down because I realized as an actor I can only remember things that are well-written.”
Talent agencies also started the party early, with ICM hosting a reception on Thursday that brought out nominees Christoph Waltz, Jacki Weaver and Quvenzhane Wallis, among others.
On Friday, WME, CAA and UTA raised the roof. UTA’s bash at the BevHills home of Jim Berkus drew a slew of clients and top execs including Warner Bros.’ new chief, Kevin Tsujihara, along with Jeff Robinov, Philippe Dauman, Brad Grey, Adam Goodman, Amy Pascal, Leslie Moonves and Robert Kyncl.
The Brits saluted their Oscar nominees Friday at the consul general’s residence in Hancock Park with an early evening reception, organized by the government-backed GREAT Britain campaign. “This gives me a chance to genuflect in front of all you geniuses,” consul general Barbara Hay told the nominees. “There’s no better place to make films than the U.K., but this is your afternoon off.” Which must have come as a relief to the “Les Mis” gang in attendance — Tom Hooper, Cameron Mackintosh and Debra Hayward — who were the toast of the Universal Pictures Party later that night at Lucques. Also in WeHo: Warner Bros. feted its “Argo” and “The Hobbit” nominees at Soho House.
A heartfelt tribute to Kirk Douglas marked the ICG Publicists Awards lunch at the BevHilton earlier that day. Ron Meyer introduced honoree Douglas, 10 of whose films were produced at Universal. The 96-year-old star told stories about publicists he’s known and expressed regret over his advancing age. “Oh, to be 95 again,” he sighed, noting that veteran publicist Julian Myers, in the aud, was celebrating his 95th birthday that day.
On Friday night, the Four Seasons Hotel played host to the QVC Red Carpet Style bash, which rolled out a lavish garden party attended by Marisa Tomei, Jennifer Hudson and Kristin Chenoweth among others.
Over at Fig & Olive, the scent of gardenias filled the room Friday night, as Women in Film honored this year’s female nominees. Every Oscar hopeful was pinned with a corsage, a not-so-necessary badge for actresses like a very late arriving Jessica Chastain. Octavia Spencer cohosted the bash, happily greeting guests Viola Davis and Daniel Radcliffe, and crediting WIF for changing the face of film: “If it weren’t for you, the diversity that we are seeing, both in front of and behind the scenes, wouldn’t be happening.”
On a picture-postcard perfect beach day, spoofing the Independent Film Spirit Awards took center stage Saturday in Santa Monica. Host Andy Samberg, clad in a green tuxedo, called the Spirits “the only awards show watched by more people at the ceremony than on TV.” He offered insider bits like “Hey, Wes Anderson! Hal Ashby called; he wants his establishing shots back,” and “In Japan, they call ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ ‘Garbage Bag Man.’”
Samberg also spoofed the Academy Awards: “This is our Oscars, and even if we were invited, which I was not, we will not be going” but was unsuccessful in getting anyone to join him in saying “Hollywood, fuck you.”
As usual, it was a capacity crowd Saturday at the annual Society of Composers & Lyricists champagne reception at the home of John and Bonnie Cacavas in Beverly Hills.
Most of the Oscar Music nominees showed up, including “Les Miz’s” Herbert Kretzmer, who recalled what Henry Mancini once told him. “I asked Henry what he did in one sentence, and he said, ‘The screenplay tells the audience what the cast is saying. My job as a composer is to tell the audience what the cast of characters is thinking.’”
And Saturday night belonged to Sony Classics, at London Hotel, and the Weinstein Co., where the Soho House party brought out Quentin Tarantino and Amy Adams, as well as David O. Russell, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro.
(Michael Palumbo, Peter Caranicas, Erin Maxwell, Jenny Peters and Steve Chagollan contributed to this report.)