In olden days — say, 10 years ago — the Academy Awards were a one-night event. Now Oscar spawns a week of festivities, and while limo companies and florists reap the benefits, the biggest beneficiaries are charities.
In the late 1990s, studios stopped holding their post-ceremony parties and decided to throw a bash before the kudocast, when everybody’s still a winner.
Since then, the number of parties has grown exponentially. Ed Limato used to own Friday; now he must share the night with many other fetes.
And while lots of media attention is focused on the booming number of “luxury lounges” and “suites” — offering celebrities freebies on everything from astrological readings and deejay lessons to Botox treatments and lingerie fittings — Oscar week is not just for the hedonists.
For example, Saturday will see the fourth annual Night Before party, the mega-event that last year raised $4 million for the Motion Picture & Television Fund. As usual, the event, co-sponsored by Variety, will be poolside at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
That’s just one of the numerous events that will ensure that some of the money generated by the hoopla goes to a good cause.
Today the Film Foundation will have a benefit at the Reel Lounge, at the Acqua restaurant space in BevHills. The black-tie Unforgettable Evening fund-raiser for women’s cancer research is at the BevWilshire, and Sandra Tsing Loh hosts the Intl. Documentary Assn.’s fete for nominated documakers at the Academy’s Goldwyn Theater.
On Thursday, the political advocacy group Creative Coalition throws a party at the Reel Lounge. The U.S. Ireland Alliance Oscar party — at which the Oscar Wilde Award will be presented to Jim Sheridan and Neil Jordan — will be held at the Wilshire Ebell Theater; and the Tinseltown to Gotham party, which honors Terrence Howard, Lauryn Hill and Ludacris, is at the BevWilshire.
Also Thursday, Charlize Theron is hosting the Amped for Africa fund-raiser, benefiting Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network, at the Republic restaurant; Paramount Classics preems “Ask the Dust” at the Egyptian; the Italian ambassador and Italian Film Commission honor Italy’s nominees at Trastevere; L.A. Confidential mag holds its party at the Skybar; and Naomi Watts hosts a reception for Independent Spirit Awards nominees at Casa del Mar.
On Friday, the biggest parties are thrown by agents at their homes: CAA’s Bryan Lourd, ICM’s Limato and Endeavor’s Ariel Emanuel.
Also that night, the environmental group Global Green’s fund-raiser is at the Henry Fonda Theater, with perfs by Fishbone, Tracy Lyons and Liz Phair; and the New Zealand Film Council dinner will be held at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Friday is also a big night for nominee parties: Warner at the Bel-Air Hotel; U at Spago; and Benderspink at the Reel Lounge for “A History of Violence.” InStyle magazine is hosting a dinner for the “Crash” cast at Mastro’s.
During the day Saturday, the main event is the Independent Spirit Awards, held in a tent in Santa Monica. Afterward, the IFC will hold its after-party at Shutters. And the German consul general is hosting a reception for the Oscar nominee “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days” at Villa Aurora.
Barry Diller and wife Diane Von Furstenberg host a luncheon at their home, while the Academy’s music branch has an afternoon reception for the music nominees at a private home.
Also Saturday, the Weinstein Co. will hold an early-evening party at the Pacific Design Center. (This is a Miramax tradition once called the Max Awards; it seems to have reverted in the corporate divorce to Harvey and Bob.) Picturehouse is hosting a reception for honorary Oscar recipient Robert Altman at the Four Seasons. Focus holds its nominee party at Eat on Sunset.
On Oscar night itself, there are more than a dozen events, but the centerpiece will be the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Governors Ball at Hollywood & Highland. Two other high-profile traditions that night: the Elton John AIDS Foundation in a tent at the Pacific Design Center; and Vanity Fair at Morton’s, where the mag says it’s using a smaller tent and “trimming the list.” (The plaintive squeals of the trimmed will echo throughout the week.)
New on the scene is the party jointly hosted by Us Weekly and Rolling Stone at the Pacific Design Center’s third-floor WP restaurant, where they’ll be adjacent to but above Elton John’s ground-floor tent.
Also Premiere magazine, Ted Field and Justin Murdock co-host a party at the Regency Club (founded by Justin’s billionaire father, David Murdock). Michael De Luca, Rick Yorn and Patrick Whitesell host a party that starts at midnight in a private home. Lionsgate holds its post-awards party at the Chateau Marmont.
AIDS Project Los Angeles benefits from the Envelope Please, a viewing/after-party hosted by Jennifer Love Hewitt and Esquire magazine at the Abbey. InStyle is throwing its seventh annual viewing party at Republic. And the Night of 100 Stars is at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Another party/fund-raiser is Children Uniting Nations at the Hollywood Palladium, which includes a viewing and after-party with perfs by Missy Elliott, Wyclef Jean, Michelle Williams and Chaka Khan. The city of West Hollywood will host a viewing party/dinner at Pearl with an after-party at the Factory; it benefits Amnesty Intl., the Southern California ACLU Foundation and Artists for a New South Africa.
People mag’s After Midnight party is at Phil Maloof’s BevHills home. Also late is an after-after-party thrown by supporting actor nominee Howard and Jamie Foxx at the BevWilshire’s GM Penthouse.
Entertainment Weekly will have an L.A. viewing party at Meson G, plus its 12th annual fiesta in New York at Elaine’s. Also in Gotham, the Academy’s official party is at the St. Regis Hotel.