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Datebook to-dos

Planners prepping the year's biggest parties

Three months out, Oscar week already looks to be a logjam of competing glittery events.

High-profile mega-budget fetes, such as the black-tie post-Acad Governor’s Ball or the General Motors-hosted Ten party, are well into the planning stages. Other Oscar week mainstays include ICM agent Ed Limato’s A-list only house party, Vanity Fair’s trio of events, the Variety-sponsored “Night Before” benefit for the Motion Picture & TV Fund at the Beverly Hills Hotel and IFC’s post-Spirit Awards schmooze-and-drink-a-thon at Shutters.

The Australian Film Commission and BAFTA/LA both typically sponsor mixers for their nominated citizens; foreign consuls often honor their nominees with intimate poolside cocktail gatherings. Studio and specialty pic label’s plans remain in flux as the number of nods and box office receipts will determine party budgets and guest lists; this year, Fox Searchlight and Focus would seem to be the ones to watch. To be sure, there’s enough in the works to fill even an average industry Jane’s dance card — provided she knows the right publicists. Highlights to pencil into the Oscars ’05 datebook:

ASC Awards (Feb. 20)

American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) opens Oscar week event blitz with its annual awards ceremony and black-tie meet-and-greet at theCentury Plaza Hotel. Gil Cates is one of this year’s honorees.

GM Ten Party (Feb. 22)

Cars, celebs and fashion mix under a big-top tent at Sunset & Vine. Guest list: 1,000 of General Motor’s closest friends, Four Seasons theme as envisioned by events impresario Jeffrey Best. Expect top pop musical guest to perform; concept cars, actors galore and GM’s marketing savvy make this the Cadillac of young Hollywood fetes.

Soho House at the Oscars

Private, posh New York and London club will host an L.A. extension, transforming a private home into an intimate party space complete with bars, restaurant, screening room and expert staff from London and New York venues.

IDA – Academy Award Nominees Reception (Feb. 23)

23rd annual event brings all doc nominees together at the Academy’s Bev Hills theater to introduce clips from their nominated films. Reception follows. Traditionally, it’s the only Oscar week event where thought-provoking and genuinely heartfelt moments outweigh glitz.

MAX Awards

In past years, the MAX Awards, Miramax’s raucous pre-Oscar night fete for 1,000 guests, has featured ribald skits and star music perfs (Sting performed acoustically at one Mondrian Hotel bash). With Miramax’s future still up in the air, this year’s event, location and scope has yet to be determined.

W Hollywood Retreat

Fashion mag W hosts its third annual complimentary private spa and beauty villa for L.A.’s elite at a top hotel. Evening dinner parties are restricted to W-designated VIPs.

Gagosian Gallery (Feb. 24)

Art heavyweights mix with celeb art lovers at a reception for contempo artist Richard Prince at this Beverly Hills gallery. After-party to follow at the Chateau Marmont.

Indie Spirit Awards, IFC Films after-party (Feb. 26)

The IFP-sponsored luncheon and awards party, held under a beachside tent in Santa Monica, has in recent years blended the likes of Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston with the indie world’s distribs, dealmakers and filmmakers. IFC Films’ afterparty at Shutters Hotel overflows with agents, filmmakers and actors. Jon Favreau and John Waters with Patty Hearst made the scene last year.

The Night Before party (Feb. 26)

Poolside at the Beverly Hills Hotel, this third annual casual dress benefit for the Motion Picture & TV Fund brings out power list of talent, execs and donors. Last year’s event raised more than $3.5 million. No press and minimal red carpet adds to the appeal for high-profile guests. (Variety is a major sponsor.)

Vanity Fair party (Feb. 27)

Graydon Carter and team host three events Oscar week: Amped, a music perf at a the club-of-the-moment (last year on the rooftop of Chi); a second shindig co-hosted by Kevin Spacey’s Trigger Street Prods., and the main event: the Night of 1000 Stars Oscar-night revel at Morton’s.

In Style/Elton John AIDS Foundation (Feb. 27)

Expect the 13th annual Oscar night fete to raise more than $1 million for Sir Elton’s non-profit org. Guest list is music-biz heavy.

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