Emmy Parties 2014: Zoe Saldana, Michelle Dockery, Aaron Paul Break the Seal (Photos)

Lights, lobster, and a custom buildout: Audi’s Emmy Party shifts the tone from August malaise to simmering awards season craze

Zoe Saldana, Lawrence O'Donnell, and Emmy winner Allison Janney toasting the weekend on Thursday night. (Getty Images)

August is a month of Sundays.

With many decision makers beachside and fantasy football drafts sacking residual mental capacity, even the pre-Labor Day Emmys had yet to slide the industry out of professional neutral … until Thursday night.

Audi’s Emmy kickoff party at Cecconi’s shifted gears. Now it’s awards season.

Also read: Emmys 2014 Behind the Scenes: The Stylemaker Behind Emmys’ Golden Boys

Dockery Padma Voight Paul
Michelle Dockery with Padma Lakshmi, and Jon Voight with Aaron Paul at Cecconi’s on Thursday night. (Getty Images)

The event attracted nominees Michelle Dockery, Aaron Paul, Tony Hale, Joe Morton, Jon Voight and Julie Bowen, along with friends of the luxury auto brand like Zoe Saldana and Jessica Pare to the hedged-in corner of Melrose and Robertson. It also drew a screaming female Taryn Manning fan to greet the A8.

With a two-tiered, blue-hued outdoor lounge that masked the Italian eatery’s usually non-festive valet, and talent and insiders sliced up by roaming bottle jockeys, it was an attitude adjustment that fired the starting gun for the parade through “the season.”

Also read: Emmys 2014 Behind the Scenes: Zipping Up Glamour Girls With Fashion Captain Tara Swennen

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The bad news: “The season” runs for the next six months to the day, culminating with the Oscars on Feb. 22, 2015 at the Dolby Theatre.

Also read: Emmy Week Party Report in Pictures: The Scene Before the Show (Photos)

But on Thursday night, it had that first day of school feel. Sarah Hyland lounged on the back of a couch as DJ Michelle Pesce clicked deep in her crate for Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” and “Let’s Hear it for the Boy.” One couch over, president of Audi of America Scott Keogh held down the corner table.

Eric Stonestreet, Sarah Hyland, Ty Burrell, and Rich Sommer. (Getty Images)
Eric Stonestreet, Sarah Hyland, Ty Burrell, and Rich Sommer. (Getty Images)

As Cat Deely (already a loser to Jane Lynch at last week’s Creative Arts Emmys) cut through the scene, Allison Janney (already a winner for “Masters of Sex”) hung with occasional Hollywood party guest-star Lawrence O’Donnell.

Paul and Betsey Brandt, "Orange is the New Black" stars Dascha Polanco and Taryn Manning. (Getty Images)
Paul and Betsey Brandt, “Orange is the New Black” stars Dascha Polanco and Taryn Manning. (Getty Images)

Guests picked at lobster ravioli, truffle risotto, tuna tartare and pizza as Pesce once again delivered the rare full dance floor — albeit without Eric Stonestreet captaining the space as he did last year. He showed, but gets a pass on account of an early call time on Friday.

Also, his “Modern Family” boss Steve Levitan was there.

Other industry faces included the HFPA’s Munawar Hosein, TV producer Danny Rose (“Scorpion”), Scott Floyd, uber-connector Angie Banicki, a mountain of publicists sipping wine, and the host who glues them all together, Michael Patrick.

Event producer Tony Schubert continued his streak of showing off his film school credentials in “shooting one room 10 different ways,” by hatching a new set up from the space that they have used several times already.

Also read: Emmy Parties Preview 2014: How to Spend This Week on a Champagne Diet

Upcoming “Drinking with the Stars” guest Josh Henderson (“Dallas”) wandered in from the Two Feet Project’s wine cave dinner over at Riva Bella, where I met “The Bachelor” winner Catherine Giudici earlier in the night.

Josh Henderson
Josh Henderson at Riva Bella (Getty Images)
"Pretty Little Liars'" Julian Morris and Catherine Giudici at Two Feet. (Getty Images)
“Pretty Little Liars’” Julian Morris and Catherine Giudici at Two Feet. (Getty Images)

Back at the other Italian dinner spot, two nominees were the last to slink off.

Longtime regular Michelle Dockery shut it down, as Julie Bowen thanked the traffic cop cordoning off Melrose to slip in to her ride and zoom off.

It’s only a dress rehearsal for her. She’ll be whisked back to the Nokia in one of an army of conspicuous Emmy-branded cars through Monday’s workday traffic.

Here’s to hoping the painted Emmy statuette decal on the side will get her a 3D golden version to pair with it on the ride home.