Stepping out with Oscar

Stars adhere to the party principle

The Governors Ball at Hollywood and Highland’s Grand Ballroom was a cozy, elegant stop for Oscargoers after a long night of suspense and superlatives Sunday.

A small band and a torch singer set a 1940s tone with pop standards that included “Serenade in Blue,” no doubt in a nod to one of the night’s top nominees.

Eli Roth and a young friend were so inspired as to sashay Busby Berkeley-style down the steps leading to the bandstand, just for kicks.

No one was feeling better, or more relieved, than Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences prexy Tom Sherak. He couldn’t say enough about a job well done by Oscarcast producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman in a tough year when Oscar remade its mold with the shift to 10 best pic nominees.

“I realized about four days ago that we picked the right people,” Sherak said. “There’s so much pressure to put one of these shows together. They did an incredible job.”

A number of nominees and winners came to the Governors Ball with healthy appetites — including the jubilant “Hurt Locker” crew — and they weren’t disappointed. Wolfgang Puck and his crew thought of everything, from lox hors d’oeuvres in the shape of Oscar to an aromatic side room full of chocolate treats and champagne.

After 16 years, the Vanity Fair party still managed to draw as eclectic a mix of movers/shakers, famous/infamous as have ever jostled beneath one partially tented roof. Immediately after the telecast, the dinner/viewing party ended, and what might be termed “seasoned veterans” — Kirk Douglas, Barry Diller, Betsy Bloomingdale, George Hamilton, Tom Freston, Ron Perelman among them — made their way from the Sunset Tower’s restaurant to the adjacent terrace room where the after-party was held. It’s in this room that the real mingling began: Spike Lee talked to Brad Grey; Sean Penn chatted with Charlie Rose; Jodie Foster hung out at the bar with Kristen Stewart; Gabourey Sidibe slid past Anderson Cooper; John McEnroe was elbow-to-elbow with David Geffen. Looking down at the crowd from the slight rise near the back bar, it almost looked like a mural where an artist tries to capture a zeitgeist by getting as many of an era’s famous faces as possible into one scene — like something you’d see on the wall of a Mormon temple, but with celebrities instead of biblical figures. “It’s having the eclectic mix of New York, Washington and Hollywood that makes it different,” said mag editor Graydon Carter. “And it helps to have decent cocktails.”

Over at the Elton John AIDS Foundation bash at the Pacific Design Center, a perf by Grace Jones was the high point — literally, as the singer climbed atop boxes and twirled hoops while performing a number from her latest album, “Hurricane,” which she said was Elton John’s fave. “I’m jet-lagged so I’m allowed to be a little crazy,” she said.

Unlike in past years when he joined the singer on stage, John watched from a vantage point with co-host David Furnish. The event, which raised $3.7 million through a live auction and ticket sales, brought out guests such as the Jonas Brothers, Lance Bass, Miley Cyrus, Natalie Cole, John Waters and Jeremy Piven.

(Shalini Dore contributed to this report.)