Oscar Weekend Friday Night:
Awards Season Guest Stars (and Regulars) at WIF:
“Have a wonderful weekend and try to avoid hangovers on Sunday,” Gwyneth Paltrow advised the crowd of nominees at Women In Film’s cocktail party on Friday night.
Blythe Danner watched from off to the side as Paltrow added, “We need to do more to help women produce films and be in films, because we’re smarter than men and better than men.”
Many of this year’s recurring cast of Awards faces were in attendance for Paltrow’s advice: Spencer, Viola Davis (with a sudden new short hairstyle that will be a telecast red carpet talking point if she keeps it until Sunday), Letty Aronson, Jessica Chastain (“saving her voice for the weekend”), Shailene Woodley, and Allison Janney all navigated the get together supported by Perrier-Jouët and MAC.
Besides Paltrow and Danner, other proverbial “guest-stars” popping up in awards season 2012 at WIF included Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Gabourey Sidibe, Jennifer Beals, Catherine Hardwicke, Morgan Spurlock, and Ziyi Zhang (of former nominee “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” fame).
Inside the elbow-to-elbow smush at Cecconi’s, the group's president Cathy Schulman told TheWRAP, “We’ve gotten so big, we’re going to have to go to a real event venue.” (They did not build out the entire parking lot as Audi has begun doing recently when hosting there.)
A pair of camera toting nominees from an Oscar nominated documentary short were so excited to see Spencer step in to the room, shouting “we’re from Alabama!” (as is Spencer) that they knocked over a nearby male guest.
On Friday night, WIF was one of a trio of happy hour timed cocktail soirees that opened the night before a series of agency parties at private houses commanded attention later. Victoria Beckham, Simon Curtis, Kenneth Branagh, and Gary Oldman, were at the nationalistic “GREAT British” film reception. (The talk was heavy on London 2012 Olympics and the goodie bags reflected the theme.)
Up in the woods at the Hotel Bel-Air, the Brit spirit came from the top.
British Prime Minister to Nominees: Good Luck and Don’t Write Me Back
At Vanity Fair And Richard Mille’s Celebration Of Martin Scorsese, orange-haired costume designer Sandy Powell (a 3 time winner and 10 time nominee) told TheWRAP she woke up Friday morning at the Four Seasons to an email from UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
In a scanned copy of a hand-signed letter ("David"), he wished her good luck on her nomination for “Hugo”. That was the carrot. Included was the stick – a gentle reminder and encouragement that he hoped she would attend Friday’s late afternoon reception downtown with the British Consul General. She won’t be able to tell him she didn’t make it. The faux-personal missive came from a “Do Not Reply” email address.
Amongst her pile of awards, Powell won an Oscar for Costume Design on Scorsese’s “The Aviator” and was nominated also for “Gangs of New York”.
The parade of black town cars lined up on Stone Canyon Road deposited tons of well wishers who gathered around Scorsese at his center table in the ballroom. All came to support both the director and the Film Foundation, but there was a noticeable absence from his huddle: Leonardo DiCaprio, who had been expected earlier in the week.
Chastain made it her second event of the night, hugging it up with Demian Bichir and Patricia Clarkson by the bar. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was making it his last event of the week, before heading back to London to complete the last few weeks shooting “Nemesis”, a Cinemax spy series that debuts in September.
Jessica Chastain, Alexander Payne, Harvey Weinstein, and 80 VIPs all seemed to breathe a sigh of relief at a dinner party celebrating the 40th anniversary of the honorary Oscar to the third or fourth most famous silent film star in Hollywood this week -- Sir Charles Chaplin.
Voting for Sunday's Academy Awards had ended one hour before cocktails began at the Chateau Marmont.
"This has been a very strange year for me," Best Supporting Actress nominee Chastain told TheWrap. "I hope to have a long career, so I hope to come back some day. I'm not looking at it like 'this is my one chance' to be at the Oscars." Chastain said.
Because the room was so tilted towards "The Artist" delegation -- Missy Pyle, James Cromwell, co-host Weinstein, and associates like Lawrence Bender -- "The Descendants" producer/director/writer Alexander Payne's appearance and invited remarks caught many by surprise.
"They wanted someone contemporary to discuss Chaplin," Payne said.
Payne revealed that he had amassed a sizable collection of Chaplin film prints by the time he was fourteen, and unflinchingly proved his expertise.
Payne instinctively pulled out an obscure film reference to sheep that dovetailed with Weinstein's earlier anecdote about a childhood Chaplin witnessing "the slapstick and tragedy of life" in a sheep stampede away from a city slaughterhouse at age eight.
Jaeger-Le Coultre hosted the black tie dinner, although the night was more friendly than formal. By dessert, Missi Pyle was barefoot in the living room area as Cuba Gooding Jr. admitted that this was his one and final event of Oscar week (He'll be playing in a clubby Hollywood hockey league on Sunday).
Rose McGowan, Paz Vega, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Busy Phillips, Julia Ormond, BWR's Brett Ruttenberg, and SunshineSachs' Chet Mehta were also in attendance. (Photos courtesy of Jeff Vespa/WireImage)