Maybe they should just hold the Globe after-parties in the BevHilton’s lobby. Open a bar; set up a band; dance on top of the registration desk. After all, the lobby is where many of the guests were Sunday night, since they couldn’t get into the parties.
As usual, the studios hosted post-kudos parties at the hotel’s various venues.
But unlike in past years, by 8:30 virtually every party had a throng shoving to get in, only to be told they had a long (i.e., half-hour) wait.
While hordes mingled in the lobby, the police, fire marshals, hotel officials and publicists were frantically calling each other on cell phones and walkie-talkies, trying to exert control as guests such as Jim Carrey, Marc Forster and Lawrence Bender were initially turned away.
Bob Weinstein had trouble getting into the Miramax party. But so did someone else with the name Robert Weinstein, according to his driver’s license. (That one had the nerve to berate a Miramax employee: “I’m Bob Weinstein. You have to let me in!”) The real Bob Weinstein eventually got into the party. The other one, no relation, didn’t.
An estimated 6,000 persons (that includes guests, staff, security and media) were in the building on awards night. Many invited guests gave up and headed to off-site parties (such as fetes thrown by CAA and ICM) or elsewhere.
“When I came out of the ballroom, I saw the hordes, and I ran to my room, where I hid for 45 minutes before coming out,” said a Foreign Press staffer.
Several factors contributed to the snafu. For one, there were more joint parties than usual: In Style-Warner Bros., NBC Universal-Focus Features, FX-Fox Searchlight-Fox TV, Miramax-Glamour-Coors Light-AMC.
Several theorized that each of those elements overinvited — and a lot of these guests actually showed up. In addition, several studios hosted viewing parties that began at 5 p.m. so that, when guests arrived at 8 for the post-awards revelry, the space was already crowded.
And there were fewer parties this year. The Hilton had closed off the garage roof (it did not want to eliminate those 75 parking spaces for the week leading up to the Globes), which traditionally housed a party. The result: more guests for fewer parties.
“Having one more diversion draws 600 people off in a different direction,” said an event planner.
Few people blamed the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. (The after-parties are separate from the kudocast.) This year was the first that Merv Griffin Prods. did not coordinate things, but few felt this was a factor. And a number of event planners didn’t even blame the Beverly Hills Fire Dept.
“They tried to be accommodating,” said an event organizer about the BHFD. “But what are they supposed to do when every exit is blocked? They were fair. They were well mannered. They didn’t get upset until it really got crazy.”
A spokesman for the Beverly Hills Fire Dept. said decisions on the parties were made by the “suppression staff,” who were not available for comment due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Center of Dread
The evening’s Center of Dread was the passageway that served as a dual entrance to the In Style-Warners party (at the Palm Court) and NBC U-Focus (in the Executive Center). This merging entrance became a Maginot Line that invited guests could not pass.
“It’s beyond! It’s beyond our control!” one event organizer was shouting into her Nextel phone as the crowd backed up at the entrance. As her conversation continued, it sounded increasingly like dialogue from “War of the Worlds.”
In an attempt to dissuade people from attempting to get in, a studio publicist standing nearby started exaggerating the dialogue and began yelling: “Save yourself! Turn back now! They’re eating each other’s limbs! It’s horrible! Horrible!”
No one paid attention to him.
A number of organizers said a key logistical problem was that the In Style-Warners party did not have its own separate entrance, instead sharing the same corridor as the NBC U-Focus entry.
Another complaint was with the hotel for renting rooms to tourists who then filled the cordoned-off lobby bar area. This added to the ambient hoopla on a night that didn’t need more.
As all this glittery chaos unfolded, massive star entourages streamed through the lobby. Halle Berry et al., Portia & Ellen, Jamie Foxx with his Rayettes and, of course, the entourage from “Entourage” sailed by. These glamorous convoys were either turned back at the door or slipped in through those invisible entrances that open only for celebrities.
For the BevHills police and fire marshals, this was their Altamont. But Beverly Hills’ finest weren’t panicking. At one point, one fire marshal calmly explained to a colleague why the NBC U party had to be shut down. “We’ve got an OK count. But there’s 300 in one room and only 70 or 80 in another.”
This translates into: “The stars are in one room. Everyone wants to be in the same room as the stars. We can’t get them to spread around, so we have to shut the doors.”
One wag said that while one of the big winners on the kudocast was “Desperate Housewives,” the after-awards scene belonged to “desperate partygoers.”