In one of his more eloquent asides to sportswriters, Shaquille O’Neal once quoted Aristotle: “Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.”
If Aristotle’s wisdom applies to the Oscar parties, then this should be an excellent year: the events will be doing what they’ve repeatedly done for the last few years. Those who are the equivalent of Shaq in the party-giving world — the dominant power in the center court — are going to move in the same pattern. But there’ll be more of it.
“Same schedule, different year,” says one Oscar event organizer. “The people putting on the parties are going to make the safe decision. No one got screamed at last year, so do the same thing again.”
As in 2004, the troika of major events on Oscar night are the Governors Ball at Hollywood & Highland; Vanity Fair at Mortons; and the Elton John AIDS fundraiser, which this year will be at the Pacific Design Center for the first time.
A good guess is there will be some kind of Miramax after-party because the slowly vanishing mini-major has such a strong contender in “The Aviator” with its 11 noms. It’s hard to imagine Harvey Weinstein not having a late night party.
Confirmed for late on Oscar-night, Premiere magazine and Ted Field will be hosting a soiree at the producer’s home.
The UN’s Children Uniting Nations fundraiser will be at the Factory in West Hollywood.
The Lee Strasberg Theatre and the City of West Hollywood will host an event at Ajo’s that benefits Amnesty Intl. and the Southern California ACLU Foundation. The dinner/viewing party honors Martin Sheen and Terry George.
The Night of 100 Stars viewing party will be at the Beverly Hills Hotel’s ballroom. (The event is no longer connected with the Film Foundation.)
Esquire magazine and Jennifer Love Hewitt will be hosting a viewing dinner/dance party/APLA benefit at the Abbey in West Hollywood.
In New York, AMPAS’ official viewing party will be at Gabriel’s at 11th and 60th. And also in Gotham, Entertainment Weekly will be having its annual viewing party at Elaine’s.
The Oscar-eve parties will also conform to last year’s pattern.
The main Saturday night event will be the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s Night Before bash at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Last year, over $3 million was raised. This will be the event that draws in the big names.
The same night, studios with nominations will be having dinners — usually at a Beverly Hills restaurant — for nominees and their families. This is a no-lose arrangement for the studios: it’s much less expensive than an Oscar night party where the masses (i.e. execs from the conglomerates that own the studios) have to be invited; the nominees families get to attend; and “everyone is still a winner” so the mood is still buoyant.
The Independent Spirit Awards will be held mid-afternoon Saturday in a massive white tent set near the beach in Santa Monica. This event only gets bigger each year. The pre-awards reception is almost a separate party in itself.
Also in the afternoon, Barry Diller and his wife, Diane Von Furstenberg, host their annual picnic-style lunch at their Coldwater Canyon estate.
That evening Miramax will have its annual “Max Awards” party, probably at a location in West Hollywood.
Friday, the big event is traditionally Ed Limato’s annual party at his home. This is also a night when agencies usually have parties for both their Spirit Award and Oscar nominees; and it’s a night when groups with a valid — though sometimes peripheral — connection to a nominee, say the French consulate, hold events.
Thursday the environmental group Global Green will have its “Rock the Earth” event hosted by Leonardo DiCaprio and Roland Emmerich at Hollywood & Highland’s Day After club.
Also on Thursday, Architectural Digest and the Art Directors Guild are hosting a reception honoring production designers and set decorators at Yamashiro.