The Emmy Awards aren’t till Monday, Aug. 25, but the celebrations start early. Variety will be on hand inside the best parties around Hollywood as the stars mingle, nibble and toast to TV’s finest. Here’s our party report for Saturday, Aug. 23:
11:10 a.m. “Nashville’s” Rayna James is “a woman that we need to see in country music,” says honoree Callie Khouri at the Women Making History Event, presented by the National Women’s History Museum and Glamour Magazine, at the Skirball Center. (She also teases that the “Nashville” premiere is going to feature two live performances in the show.) She thinks it’s incredible to see more women directing TV and as showrunners. “Nashville” boasts a largely female writing staff and women in main storylines.
11:36 a.m. Sophia Bush, also being honored, stops to blush when her mom stands behind the press snapping photos and comments on how proud she is.
11:56 a.m. Geena Davis, on hand to honor “Thelma & Louise” screenwriter Callie Khouri, can only say she will “play a surgeon” on “Grey’s Anatomy.” She says she was inspired by “Thelma” to think about how women are portrayed in film. Her research institute has sponsored studies of genre depiction in media, “and it’s pretty eye opening.”
2 p.m. BAFTA/LA’s annual tea party is divided between the patio (“Los Angeles climate,” according to a sign) and an air-conditioned room (London climate) at the SLS Hotel. Although tea is served, most guests opt for champagne.
2:18 p.m. T Bone Burnett leans in to hug Khouri as the sizzle reel comes to a close with applause.
2:20 p.m. “I don’t think of myself as a woman making history,” says Khouri. “I knew that no matter what anyone says I deserved equal rights, equal protection, equal pay and equal opportunities. I hire women, I try to show women as they are, strong, independent… doing the best they can.” She stresses that the “enemy is the acceptance of an unjust world and I don’t accept it. We have to make it better.” And if that doesn’t inspire you, here’s one more quote from the highly quotable Khouri: “I will aspire to inspire, to change the world as it so badly needs.”
2:30 p.m. Kiernan Shipka of “Mad Men” says the BAFTA/LA tea is her first party of the weekend. “It’s really cool, it’s a really fun weekend.” Yes, she has a curfew, but the 14-year-old Shipka says she doesn’t stay out too late.
3:30 p.m. British consul general Chris O’Connor welcomes guests. “British TV has nominations in every category,” he says. “In one category we have four of six nominations.” Still the party is also to celebrate Britain’s partnership with the U.S., he says, and congratulates the American nominees. Thanks a bunch.
3:40 p.m. Laverne Cox makes the rounds glad-handing guests in a stunning white dress.
3:45 p.m. “Downton Abbey’s” Michelle Dockery and Joanne Froggatt have a reunion under an umbrella and Dockery says she has to leave soon after as she’s running late for the next event. But Froggatt stays to talk about her character, Anna, who faces a few more trials and tribulations. “It won’t be straightforward,” she says. “Of course if there isn’t trauma there won’t be drama.”
4:50 p.m. “Fargo” actress Joey King says the producers are going to replace the entire cast of the show and start a new story line. “I was very sad. ‘Oh you don’t need me anymore?’”
5 p.m. “I don’t know what is in the mind of Jenji Kohan,” says Emmy winner Uzo Aduba about the creator of her show “Orange Is the New Black.” “I know all this,” she says, waving her hand to indicate the party and the Emmy accolades, “was not part of the conversation.”
6:50 p.m. At the Performers Nominee Reception at the Pacific Design Center, TV Academy president Bruce Rosenblum says there are 23 receptions for the peer groups and he attends all of them. “I pace myself with water. The big day is yet to come.”
6:51 p.m. (Actually, TV Academy treasurer Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg points out there are actually 24 such receptions.)
7:15 p.m. Margo Martindale says she enjoys working in a drama (“The Americans”) and a comedy (“We’re the Millers”). “It doesn’t get better than this,” she says. “I need a drink.”
7:27 p.m. Josh Charles congratulates Lizzy Caplan and says he’s a fan of her work.
7:35 p.m. Guests sit down to a buffet dinner. Tory Kittles of “True Detective” recommends the steak and corn ravioli to his agent.
8:10 p.m. The UTA party at Jay Sures‘ Brentwood home is packed with a who’s who of the TV biz. The mini corn dogs and lobster rolls are going fast, and the gin and elderberry cocktails are a hit.
8:12 p.m. At least three party staffers have asked if we need help navigating the sunken steps into a very impressive multilevel garden. And if we needed a heel protector. Agents think of everything.
8:15 p.m. Warner Bros.’ Kevin Tsujihara is among the CEOs in attendance. He’s chatty but not about recent events at the corporate level. Rupert who? Showtime’s David Nevins arrives with his left arm in a sling after a mishap with a heavy gate at his home. It makes for a dramatic entrance but he’s in good spirits as is his boss Matt Blank, whose limbs are both in good working order.
8:17 p.m. Starting with Uzo Aduba, Bruce Rosenblum calls out the nominees at the Performers Reception, and one by one, they get up on stage and shake Academy Gov. Bob Bergen‘s hand and smile for the cameras.
8:19 p.m. Josh Charles high-fives those already on stage as if he were at a sporting event.
8:24 p.m. Kate Mulgrew uses a fake deep voice to say, “Thank you very much,” at the Performers Nominee Reception.
8:27 p.m. First celeb sighting at the Variety and Women in Film pre-Emmys Celebration at Gracias Madre. Laura Prepon hits the carpet, still rocking the “Orange Is the New Black” hair and looking awesome.
8:35 p.m. Finally make it up to the second-level platform at the UTA party in search of our host. The crowd is so dense with execs and talent, Jay Sures can’t be found. As always, an informal survey of Emmy voters brings absolutely no consensus on what’s gonna happen on Monday night.
8:41 p.m. Cloris Leachman photobombs just about everyone at the Variety/Women in Film party. She’s also wearing Ugg slippers. (Cue the ladies in the high heels green with envy.)
9:01 p.m. Duty and two other parties call, so it’s time to head to the valet at the UTA party. A little bag of fresh-baked cookies and a cup of tea make the (mercifully brief) valet line that much sweeter. Just in time to cross paths with Allison Tolman, who is quite fetching in a short maroon dress. She’s getting ready to move west very soon from Chicago.
9:44 p.m. On the red carpet at EW’s pre-Emmy soiree, hosted at Fig & Olive, “Modern Family” star Nolan Gould tells reporters that he’s hoping the ABC comedy takes home the comedy series trophy for a fifth consecutive year — another triumph would bring them level with “Frasier” for the most wins in the category.
9:59 p.m. Talking “True Detective” conspiracies with Michelle Monaghan. … She can’t believe so many people thought she was involved with the killer.
10:08 p.m. Why are people staring? Oh, that’s Selena Gomez behind us in a head-to-toe red Valentino x Saint Laurent pantsuit.
10:10 p.m. Inside the EW party, “Community’s” Yvette Nicole Brown and “American Horror Story: Coven’s” Angela Bassett pose for a fierce photo, while “True Blood” alums Tina Majorino and Scott Foley reunite with a hug. By 10:15, Bassett has wrangled “Saturday Night Live” star Jay Pharoah into the photo frenzy.
10:28 p.m. The rambunctious cast of “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” have taken over the photobooth in the corner, with Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet and B.J. Britt all cramming into the machine for a couple of rounds of goofy poses.
10:34 p.m. It’s an impromptu reunion for a couple of alums from ABC Family’s dearly departed “Greek,” including Scott Michael Foster, Amber Stevens and “Awkward’s” Greer Grammer, whose sister, Spencer, also starred in the college dramedy. Over near the entrance, Ryan Murphy is eagerly chatting with “Orange Is the New Black” star Laverne Cox.
10:36 p.m. “Fargo” nominee Colin Hanks enthusiastically reunites with scene-stealer Jordan Peele, while “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” costars Chelsea Peretti and Melissa Fumero roll in arm in arm.
10:45 p.m. Jordan Peele tells Kerry Washington that he loves “Scandal” while her co-star, Katie Lowes, stops Laverne Cox to gush over “Orange Is the New Black,” and is overheard playfully decrying the Netflix show’s svelte 13-episode order. “Suburgatory’s” Jeremy Sisto and “About a Boy’s” David Walton also tell Cox that they’re big fans of the series.
10:49 p.m. “Big Bang Theory” producer Bill Prady is chatting to two-time guest star Katee Sackhoff by the bar — fingers crossed for another cameo!
10:59 p.m. One of the couches is now a “Saturday Night Live” stronghold, with Cecily Strong and Nasim Pedrad holding court by keeping onlookers chuckling.
11:00 p.m. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of showrunners by the entrance, as Julie Plec, Kevin Williamson and Ryan Murphy animatedly talk shop. Nearby, “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi latches on to Aisha Tyler for a hug. Outstanding guest actor winner Joe Morton enters the party with an enthusiastic “woo!” upon seeing the crowd.
11:07 p.m. “OITNB” actress Alysia Reiner is fangirling over “Scandal” with Kerry Washington, while Uzo Aduba shares a warm embrace with “Parks and Rec’s” Retta.
11:17 p.m. A fictional president’s work is never done, so Tony Goldwyn is graciously taking photos with anyone who requests a pic by the bar, proving that “Scandal’s” POTUS is just as in-demand off-screen as he is on the ABC hit.
11:20 p.m. On the patio of WME partner Richard Weitz’s Beverly Hills home just in time to say hello to FX’s John Solberg on his way out. He’s his usual smiling self — a port of Texas calm in the storm.
11:22 p.m. Weitz, ever the gracious host, stops by to say hello and tell us to have a good time. No problem, Richard! There are big bowls of whipped cream everywhere.
11:24 p.m. “Shameless” actor Cameron Monaghan is deep in discussion with “Once Upon a Time” lead Jennifer Morrison at the EW party, and in the main room, Laverne Cox tests out party sponsor L’Oréal Paris’ new “Makeup Genius” app by taking a photo to apply virtual makeup.
11:45 p.m. A fairly epic conversation about the state of TV, film and the ever-widening talent pool erupts among Variety’s Cynthia Littleton, WME’s Paul Haas and Marie Sheehy and Deadline’s Mike Fleming at the agency party. We should be on “Charlie Rose!” WME’s Ari Greenburg pops in for a listen but continues on his travels.
11:53 p.m. The EW party is starting to wind down, but the crowd is still hopping despite the impending closure of the bars. Yvette Nicole Brown pauses for a photo with “Under the Dome’s” Rachelle Lefevre, who has admitted defeat and taken off her high heels. Elsewhere, “American Horror Story” star Sarah Paulson is deep in conversation with “A to Z’s” Cristin Milioti, as Ryan Murphy enthuses over “Fargo” breakout star Allison Tolman close by.
12:02 a.m. The EW party is supposedly over, but many guests show no signs of calling it a night. Johnny Galecki and Aaron Paul are huddled over their phones together, while “Mad Men” alum and “A to Z” lead Ben Feldman chats with “Veep’s” Timothy Simons.
12:20 a.m. The party finally beginning to clear out, it’s time to call it a night, with Eric Stonestreet apparently coming to the same conclusion, congratulating Allison Tolman on her success as he heads for the door.
1:01 a.m. Past bedtime at the WME party, just in time to hear the guy rolling up the temporary carpet say: “What a night.”
Jenelle Riley, Whitney Friedlander and Shelli Weinstein contributed to this report.
(Pictured at top: “Scandal’s” Bellamy Young, Kerry Washngton, Katie Lowes and Darby Stanchfield at the Variety and Women in Film Pre-Emmys Celebration)