Last Updated: Monday, February 24
There are four Oscar parties that if you did nothing else — this year or any other year – you could retire or fade away with “I did the Oscars” on your professional (or actual) tombstone.
1. Madonna‘s After-Hours Party (Oscar Night)
2. Vanity Fair’s Oscar Night Party
3. Elton John Aids Foundation’s Oscars Viewing Party
Anyone with an invite in hand to any of the four above probably isn’t reading this. If by some chance you are, let me know or brag away in the comments.
Beyond the rare air up there, there’s a handful of choice crowds celebrating achievement or just each other.
Caveat: This is not a comprehensive list.
There’s tons of weaksauce events that I’ve left out and others that are late and/or cautious to say two words about their plans until they can say 2,000 words about their incompatible and random sponsors.
Throughout this tour, I’ve marked those that have the densest concentration of buyers, bosses, and big shots. Look for those invites in your inbox and pull those favors first.
Tuesday, February 25
Bulgari “Decades of Glamour”
Soho House Garden Terrace, 7 p.m.
No dinner and rooftop soiree in Beverly Hills like last year, but still on a roof.
- Who You Need to Know: Naomi Watts, who palled around with Drew Barrymore and modeled some jewels (above) at last year’s rainy event, hosts this year.
- Who’s In Charge: Elisabetta Marra, BVLGARI’s VIP Entertainment Industry Relations and Philanthropy
Wednesday, February 26
Art of Elysium’s Pieces of Heaven Art Auction
Siren Lab, 6063 Sunset Blvd (@ Gower), beginning at 7 p.m.
Private collectors, artists, and dealers donated 70 pieces of art, which Sotheby’s West Coast chairman will gavel away to benefit the charity that helps children battling serious medical conditions. Mercedes-Benz is the brand partner.
- Who You Need to Know: Jennifer Howell, founder of Art of Elysium
- Who’s Doing the List: Chet Mehta and Alyssa Some, PR-Dept
*Buyers, Bosses, and Big Shots*
TheWrap’s 5th Anniversary & Oscar Nominee Celebration
Culina at the Four Seasons, 6 p.m.
This is the evolution of a hit movie personified: those who could write it, finance it, pitch it, greenlight it, direct it, act in it, score it, market it, distribute it, and collect back-end profits on it. I often say our audience and demographic are those that are making decisions about other people’s careers. On Wednesday night, they’re all in the same room at the same time.
As for the five candles on the cake, as someone who’s been here since year 1 in 2009, I’m proud of this one. As our peers have changed owners, shape, and tone, “The Daily” came and went, and even my first blog crush Defamer (from the Mark Lisanti era) folded into Gawker, our trend line is still moving up and to the right.
End of brag.
- Who You Need to Know: Sharon Waxman, Founder/Editor-in-Chief of TheWrap
- Who’s Doing the List: Allison Jackson/ The Allison Jackson Company
Global Green USA
Avalon Hollywood, 6:30 p.m.
Moby headlines and The Crystal Method DJ. It’s been several years since this party really crushed it, but they always draw one or two environmentally active names each year to “headline,” like an Orlando Bloom or James Cameron.
- Who You Need to Know: Mary Luevano, Global Green’s Interim Executive Director
- Who’s Making the List: It’s a ticketed event open to the general public.
Thursday, February 27
ICM Partners Awards Season Celebration
Santa Monica Canyon
- Who You Need To Know: Partner John Burnham, who hosts at his house. And the nominees.
Carmen and Dolores Chaplin’s Screening and Dinner Honoring Grandpa Charlie Chaplin‘s 100th Anniversary of “The Tramp”
Soho House, 7 p.m.
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Carmen Chaplin, Jessica Chastain, and Dolores Chaplin at the last “Chaplin” Oscar week dinner.
Please, nobody send “the Chaplin granddaughters” a reality TV offer. These sisters know their way around hosting a legit Oscar week dinner.
The last one, a hushed dinner party for 50 hidden off the lobby at the Chateau just minutes after Oscar voting closed in 2012, saw rivals in that year’s race Alexander Payne (for “The Descendants”) and Harvey Weinstein (for “The Artist”, the eventual winner nights later) chairing the two boardroom dinner tables and uniting to praise Chaplin. It also drew a few faces that figured in this year’s race: Jared Leto, and Julie Delpy.
Going back further to 1914, the Academy Awards were still 15 years away from handing out the first trophies ever. However, Charlie Chaplin was already on the scene, debuting “The Tramp”.
Now a century later, the Chaplin granddaughters will screen two of their own short films (directing and starring in them) before cocktails and dinner at Soho for another 50 friends in the film royals’ inner circle.
- Who You Need to Know: Director Carmen Chaplin and actress Dolores Chaplin.
- Who’s Doing the List: Sunshine Sachs on the PR side.
Hollywood Domino & Bovet 1822 Annual Pre-Oscar Gala & Tournament
Sunset Tower Hotel, 8 p.m.
The first time Jon Hamm won, it was a fortuitous press angle. (Hamm says he plays dominoes on set). If he wins again, I’m calling the gaming commission.
Jared Leto is expected, as are Vanessa Hudgens, Maria Bello, and Jose Cuervo, who is pouring the drinks. Gerard Butler and Paul Haggis are regulars, as it benefits Haggis’ Artists for Peace and Justice. For reference, Haggis is the Oscar winner on the microphone who has a hard time getting everyone to shut up.
- Who You Need To Know: Daya Fernandez, who invented “Hollywood Domino.” You create a movie reel of dominoes based on film genres
- Who’s In Charge of the List: ID PR
Oscar Wilde: Honoring the Irish in Film
Rooftop of J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot in Santa Monica
Conan O'Brien and YouTube founder Chad Hurley are the night’s honorees, but everyone should keep their eyes (but mainly ears) focused on the teenage boy band that’s performing.
The Strypes are actually a band. These Irish teenagers play real instruments, having hit the stage at Glastonbury and on a stadium tour across Europe. When Elton John found them, he signed them and now manages them.
In a backstage fight vs. One Direction, my money’s on these guys. Joel McHale mans the mic for the night, before the singing and Conan late-night jokes.
- Who You Need to Know: Trina Vargo, President of the US-Ireland Alliance
- Who’s Doing the List: Lindsay McConchie
Friday, February 28
The GREAT British Film Reception
Residence of the British Consul General, 4 p.m.
This is a great backyard party: exclusive, classy, well attended, and good company. I fear to say anything else nice about it because it flies under the radar and successfully dodges the dodgy elements of a lot of Oscar week parties.
The UK has nominees in 18 films up for Oscars this year, there’s been an Oscar statue in the lobby in previous years (look only, don’t touch) and the previous Consul General welcomed every guest to her home individually.
- Who You Need to Know: Co-hosts British Consul General Chris O’Connor OBE and “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen CBE (McQueen’s title, Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, is actually higher.
- Who’s In Charge of the List: The British Consulate and Shari Mesulam for pr.
**Buyers, Bosses, & Bigshots**
Women In Film, Co-Hosted by Helen Mirren
Fig & Olive, 5 p.m.
The Mt. Rushmore of female nominees are all expected here: A is for…Amy Adams. B is for…Bullock. C is for… Cate Blanchett. D is for…Dench. E is for…just about everyone else: Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts, Lupita Nyong'o (welcome to the party), and Meryl Streep.
They (the hosts, not Meryl and Julia) bathe you with champagne the second the valet takes your car (the good stuff, Perrier-Jouet) and also hose you down with gifts on the way out. It’s a great room of actual doers and those who help others to become doers.
- Who You Need to Know: WIF President (and Oscar winner) Cathy Schulman.
- Who’s In Charge of the List: WIF and PMK*BNC on the publicity side.
QVC Red Carpet Style Event
Four Seasons Beverly Hills, 5:30 p.m.
George Kotsiopoulos, Olga Sorokina and Joanna Krupa at last year’s QVC event at the Four Seasons.
It was a party for years, then just a live TV show, and now it’s back to a party. Traditionally, this party is festive without all the gravitas – a top tier venue, lots of faces from the media and young Hollywood scene, and everyone’s still chipper and fresh.
Lots of names that have nothing to do with the awards race directly, but have lines or business relationships with QVC all turn up: Nicole Richie, Lisa Rinna, Isaac Mizrahi, stylist Jen Rade, and Joan Rivers.
- Who You Need to Know: QVC President/CEO Mike George and QVC US CEO Claire Watts. Go pitch them your merch idea in the corner
- Who’s in Charge of the List: Michelle Steinberg @ DomainMSA
*Buyers, Bosses, and Bigshots*
Beverly Hills Residence, 8 p.m.
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The list: nominees, clients, and other industry friends.
- Who You Need to Know: UTA Chairman Jim Berkus. He’s not only the boss, it’s also at his house
- What Else You Need to Know:CAA (location withheld) and WME co-CEO Ari Emanuel are also hosting parties for their respective galaxies at their homes on Friday night
Saturday, March 1
Film Independent Spirit Awards (The Spirit Awards)
Santa Monica Beach, Noon
Finally some love for “Fruitvale Station.” It has three nominations.
Last year Andy Samberg hosted, and look at his post-Spirit success: two surprise Golden Globes for “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”
Note to this year’s host Patton Oswalt: Because mostly everyone is out at pre-Oscar parties at that time, the Hollywood Foreign Press is probably watching, even if it is on DVR.
By the time the party at the beach breaks up, the show is already airing about three hours later on the east coast on IFC at 10 p.m. EST on Saturday night.
This starts early in the morning at the Spirit Awards.
No seat, no problem. The hospitality tents from Stella Artois and others surrounding the main tent are social hives all day.
- Who You Need to Know: Film Independent President Josh Welsh
- Who’s Doing the List: The nominations submissions closed last October, and the nominees were revealed months ago.
Sony Pictures Classics Nominees Dinner
“Supper Suite” at STK, co-hosted by Fiji Water 7:30 p.m.
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They were winners last year with “Amour” and should have been deeper in that race for the under-appreciated “Rust and Bone”. This year they are playing varsity with the momentum on its actress nominees from “Blue Jasmine” and the “Before Midnight” creative trio: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke.
- Who You Need to Know: SPC Co-Presidents Tom Bernard and Michael Barker (above with near-lock Cate Blanchett).
- Who’s Doing the List: Sony and Melody Korenbrot/Block-Korenbrot.
*No Buyers, Few Bosses, Actual Big Shots*
Motion Picture & Television Fund’s 12th Annual “Night Before” Party
Beverly Hills Hotel
There are big exclusive parties that blast out their own social media in real time (Vanity Fair) and then there are those that are totally off-the-grid, even when they have media partners. This is one of them.
Getting an invite here marks a career milestone for any actor or executive’s profile. Over the years, this has become proportionally more cloistered at the same time its paradoxically seen much more outside investment (donations) from big consumer brands.
- Who You Need to Know: Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chairman of the MPTF Foundation
- Who Is In Charge of the List: See above. Forget it Jake…
Michael Sugar, Warren Zavala, Doug Wald, and Marc Webb Pre-Party
Sunset Tower, 10 p.m. – late
With Anonymous Content putting together “True Detective” there could be a winner-in-waiting with a McConaughey sighting. On the business end of this room, it’s impressive when executives (non-talent) get a Grey Goose sponsorship.
- Who You Need to Know: The above-the-line hosts.
Oscar Sunday, March 2
*Buyers, Bosses, and Big Shots*
Elton John Aids Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party
West Hollywood Park, 4 p.m. – late
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Probably better than being at the actual show: More social, less sitting, more food (Gordon Ramsay) and a complete disorientation inside a tented village somewhere across the street from the Pacific Design Center, without the fear of getting caught on camera.
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2014’s Partial guest list: Two Perrys (Katy and Tyler), Nicole Kidman, Jim Carrey, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, Steven Tyler, Quincy Jones, NPH, John Waters, and even Jared Leto, who will be at the Oscars waiting to see if he wins, is a “host” of the event.
Last year Robert Kraft was sitting at the head table near Dave Grohl, as a pregnant Kim Kardashian sliced through the room. Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grange tells me this is where he watches the Oscars.
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This year, Ed Sheeran performs after the show and after Elton takes the mic and auctions off ridiculous experiences himself.
- Who You Need to Know: Sir Elton and David Furnish, who go around to every single table to say hello
- Who Does the List: Scott Campbell, the EJAF executive director, though there are extensive donation opportunities throughout the year
Disclosure: I’m going as guests of Michael Patrick and Andrew Lipman, Audi’s hookups to Hollywood, who not only co-sponsor the event and host a big delegation of funsters, but are amongst the most popular non-celebrities in town year-round, not just when they make sure that make sure the above list arrives (and departs) in style.
The Academy’s Official NYC Viewing Party
Daniel, on NYC’s Upper East Side (60 E. 65th St.)
This has all the immediacy of Skyping in to a friend’s surprise party.
On the plus side, it’s the only “official” east coast event hosted by the Academy, and although I’m not familiar at all, the Yelp chorus says “expensive but amazing,” so east coast invitees should take advantage of the desserts everyone seems to love.
Besides Angela Bassett, it was a bunch of people I’ve never heard of or recognized in the photos from last year’s event.
- Who You Need to Know: Patrick Harrison, the Academy’s director of New York Programs and Marketing
- Who’s In Charge of the List: The same people putting on the show at the Dolby. It’s not a “submit your talent clients” situation
The Governors Ball
The Dolby Ballroom (top floor of Hollywood and Highland). After Ellen DeGeneres says “good night” and just as east coasters start figuring out how many hours of sleep they’ll get.
John Legend performs, but will they stay? Follow Sports Illustrated cover-threesome model @ChrissyTeigen on twitter/instagram, as she always deals an unfiltered photo-stream of whatever she’s up to.
- Who You Need to Know: Anyone holding a trophy and anyone who has a +1 to the Vanity Fair party and an empty seat in their car
The Parking Lot Behind Sunset Plaza @ 8620 Sunset. Staggered invites throughout the night starting late afternoon.
In the world of party punditry, one of the toughest invites of the night (or year) moving locations to a parking lot behind tourist restaurants is “breaking news email” alert level news.
After five years at the Sunset Tower, the party is moving to the parking lots behind Chin Chin’s, Clafloutis, and a bunch of other sidewalk restaurants that nobody with a California driver’s license eats at.
It’s been 20 years since the Vanity Fair party started, and due to the Writer’s Strike in 2008, it’s the 20th edition of the party, not the 21st. It started in 1994 at Mortons. I’m not saying there’s a causal relationship for sure, but Vanity Fair left the space that had been Mortons and now you know that place as Cecconi’s. This is a huge PR and marketing loss for the Sunset Tower.
It could be because VF wants to build their own footprint from the ground up, or because they want to spread out, or close the security loopholes and media leaks inherent in the hotel setting, or because they’ll have even greater mystery by having cars disappear down this esophageal driveway into a tented complex out of sight.
All of those businesses on the south side of Sunset Plaza are being closed early in the afternoon on Oscar Sunday, a bummer for Eden Sassoon’s hair/nails salon Eden, which usually looks like a Black Friday Walmart on any awards Sunday, and anyone who thought of ordering Chin Chin takeout.
- Who You Need To Know: It’s not who you need to know, it’s who needs to know you. If nobody in the tent knows you, you’re either the rare +1 or a crasher
- Who’s In Charge of the List: Internal committees of editors at the magazine, but fair to say that Graydon Carter has the heavy hand. Invites went out a few weeks ago.
Experts slot “Captain Phillips” firmly in the 5th or 6th spot for Best Picture, so it’s a long shot that this will be a coronation.
However, the movie’s made a ton of money ($217 million worldwide) and these guys have “Fifty Shades of Grey” up next, so yes, they deserve a big fat party no matter what.
Also, a healthy dose of America spent an unhealthy President’s Day weekend overdosing on “House of Cards” (courtesy of Brunetti) so there’s lots of incoming gold, even if it’s not shaped like a bald man.
- Who You Need to Know: The guys who changed Jamie Dornan and Barkhad Abdi‘s lives forever.
- Who’s In Charge of the List: He may not have the same “get you in text” power like it’s the Shore Club or bracelet authority like it’s Bootsy’s back room, but the nice-guy-in-nightlife John Terzian (h.wood) is producing for the producers.
Madonna‘s After Hours Party
Gucci is co-hosting the event and even a little gold man doesn’t guarantee entrance, as one winner learned the hard way a few years ago, chasing the once-in-a-lifetime victory with the sour taste of a late night closed door.
- Who You Need to Know: Probably Guy Oseary.
On3 Backstage Suite at the Spirit Awards
At press time, I don’t know what’s back there this year yet. Traditionally, it’s been the good stuff — like a year of free movies and mega TVs. It’s for presenters and nominees only, and I’ve seen some of the people who would never ever turn up at a suite (e.g. Nicole Kidman) do the sponsor dance in here.
Swag Update: 1-year supply of Dark Horse Wine (appropriate for the “spirited” vibe) and Tivos with lifetime service.
- Who You Need to Know: Samantha Haft @ On3
Kari Feinstein’s Oscars Style Lounge
- Who You Need to Know/Who Does the List: Kari Feinstein
Eco Oscars Beverly Hills
Beverly Hilton Hotel, Circa 55 (downstairs, where the HBO party is on Globes night), Friday, February 28 and Saturday, March 1
Top Swag: Hotel stays at the Hard Rock in Mexico
- Who You Need to Know: Debbie Durkin, who throws the suite
- Who Does the List: Marilynne Mungovan @ Revele Inc.
The “I’d Rather Have an Oscar” Bag
There’s swag no actor needs (makeup, shampoo etc) and then there’s the swag you really don’t want: a “consolation” gift bag that Distinctive Assets delivers on Oscar Monday to all those who were nominated but lost.
It’s not affiliated with the Academy.
I suspected this would go over as well as Seth MacFarlane and Kristen Chenoweth’s toast to the losers that closed last year’s show but they dug up a photo of Amy Adams and her fiancé Darren Le Gallo wearing gear sent to her after she lost (for “The Master”) to Anne Hathaway (for “Les Miserables”) last year.