While a dominant delegation from “The Kings Speech” was a given, a plethora of actor, producer, director, and executive talent from all the leading contenders lit up BAFTA LA’s Award Season Tea Party at the Four Seasons on Saturday afternoon. With HBO’s Luxury Lounge and InStyle’s suite taking place on the upper floors, it was an awards weekend mecca on Doheny.
In the ballroom, Nicole Kidman kept a tight circle with host and chairman Nigel Lythgoe and Diane Warren.
Amidst Ben Affleck, Jeff Bridges, and Mark Ruffalo, “Blue Valentine” writer-director Derek Cianfrance told TheWRAP, “I spent 12 years trying to make this movie….It’s nice for me to know that I wasn’t so crazy. Now audiences are out there buying tickets for the movie. It’s actually alive. I feel like my kid just went off to college or something.”
After winning the Critics Choice award for Best Original Screenplay on Friday night, “The Kings Speech” writer David Seidler admitted that during this awards cycle “(“The Social Network” writer) Aaron Sorkin and I have become the best of buddies.” After a lot of “jokes and teasing” over email, the two met for the first time at Friday night’s show, where both went home winners in separate original and adapted writing categories.
For “The King’s Speech”, the turnout was royal . Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter spent time with Director Tom Hooper, who warmly embraced both the Jeremy Renner (wearing sunglasses) and Guy Pearce when he saw them arrive. Geoffrey Rush sipped water outside on the warm afternoon, while three or four people provided human coattails wherever Harvey Weinstein shuttled through the Four Seasons.
Hooper said “The best thing (about awards season) is the people you get to meet. As a director, we’re all kept away from each other as little islands. To get to know Darren, to get to know the two Davids (Fincher and Russell), to get to know Peter Weir back in Telluride, that’s the greatest thrill…Steven Spielberg last night.”
In addition to the mini-sandwiches and deviled eggs, it wouldn’t be authentically English without gin. Andrew Garfield hosted an overcrowded table of younger attendees next to one of the multiple Bombay Sapphire bars spread across the ballroom. The future Spiderman’s cocktail table was so crowded that his friends were sitting on each other’s laps.
A year ago to the moment, it was far from a celebratory tone for “127 Hours” writer Simon Beaufoy. Beaufoy told TheWRAP that during the BAFTA tea on the Saturday before the Golden Globes a year ago, he was meeting with director-producer Danny Boyle, producer Christian Colson, James Franco, and hiker Aron Ralston upstairs in a hotel room as Ralston shared his immensely personal video footage from his entrapment for the first time.
While Beaufoy had written an early draft, the script that became awards contender “127 Hours” had not even been written yet. “It was such a strange day because down here it was all glitz, and festive and glamour, and upstairs we were watching this guy record his last will and testament. Sending out messages to his friends and family. ‘That’s it guys, I’ve run out of water’,” Beaufoy said.
Downstairs at the party this year, honorary Brits included Aaron Eckhardt, L.L. Cool J., Lisa Cholodenko, Evan Handler, Kathy Griffin, Michelle Williams, Kate Flannery, Rich Sommer, Aaron Sorkin, Phylicia Rashad, Debbie Allen, and Barbara Hershey with her partner/actual Brit Naveen Andrews.
Kidman said she can handle the breakneck pace of the awards social circuit because “it’s quick and fast and furious for awhile, and then I go back to Tennessee and relax, and it’s all over. Also, I don’t stay out that late.”
Part of the breakneck pace on Saturday night alone included a Disney event at the London, Paramount at the Chateau Marmont, the LA Film Critics Dinner, and an Art of Elysium “Heaven” Benefit, which drew Jake Gyllenhaal, Gerard Butler, Kelly Osbourne, and Nicole Richie, amongst others representing young Hollywood.
After Friday night’s Critics Awards at the Palladium, many of the stars who were not lured away to CAA’s event at Soho House or the W Magazine party, did the unthinkable: they walked down Sunset Boulevard. For Sarah Silverman and cinematography winner Wally Pfister (“Inception”), the reward for walking a few blocks east to the official after party at Siren Studios was a bonus song by Adam Levine, who had performed house band duties for the show. Later, the rest of Maroon 5 lifted at a group toast at one of Grey Goose bars shouting “I love you guys”. Joan Rivers, who lost to “Waiting for Superman” in the documentary category, was still smiling…and snarky. Lest anyone have forgotten the show’s name change a few years ago, event producers plastered “Critics Choice Movie Awards” branding on every wall, ice sculpture, and even on the tower of Crumbs cupcakes.
Elsewhere on Friday and Saturday, the swag suites were in full effect. At the GBK Suite, Globe nominee Jennifer Love Hewitt declined interviews, perhaps in an attempt to save her voice for a potential acceptance speech on Sunday night. Meanwhile, Terry O’Quinn revealed that he actually wrote the initial treatment for his upcoming NBC buddy pilot and brought it to J.J. Abrams himself. (O’Quinn will co-star with his “Lost” castmate Michael Emerson in “Odd Jobs”.) Nearby in the suite, fellow “Lost” alum Naveen Andrews said that he’s been spending his time back on the mainland playing guitar with Marilyn Manson, while he picked up diverse freebies such as mail delivery wine from winechateau.com and wearable digital video cameras from Looxcie.
Over at the Access Hollywood’s “Stuff You Must” lounge, the most must-have item was free Netflix for life. Attendees Neil Patrick Harris, Gabourey Sidibe and multiple “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” can now stream and screen till death. Sponsor Altoid’s straw poll of the stars revealed “The Fighter” to be the stars’ choice for Best Picture. (One un-named celebrity cast the lone ballot for “The Last Exorcism”.) On a more straight faced note, the event at the Sofitel benefitted the Lollipop Theater Network and Best Buddies.