Academy Awards Week began with a celebration of Black women’s achievements in Hollywood and crescendoed with “The Slap Heard Round the World” as one Black man sucker slapped another during the broadcast and women lost ground in the never-ending battle for equality (and in fighting our own battles, as well). There were some strides, as “CODA,” a female-directed-and-written film took Best Picture and Jane Campion snagged Best Director (the third woman in 94 years) for “The Power of the Dog,” but the talk of every after-party on Sunday night wasn’t celebrating those achievements; instead, every conversation was about the two famous men and the one famous woman at the center of the storm.
But Hollywood’s return to the party swirl had plenty of glitz and glamour as the week unfolded – and lots of love, too, overriding that violent interlude seen around the world. Here are some photo memories of the best, which happened with pandemic vaccination protocols still in place, but nary a mask in sight on the partygoers.
The week’s party marathon began in earnest on Thursday, March 24 with the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Awards, where lots of powerful women in Hollywood and beyond gathered at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel to celebrate their successes. “King Richard” star Aunjanue Ellis received her prize from calm-for-the-moment co-star Will Smith while Serena Williams looked on. Other honorees were Nia Long, Quinta Brunson and Chanté Adams. Lena Waithe, Donald Glover, Niecy Nash, Ruth E. Carter and host Damson Idris joined in the celebration, too.
Thursday saw a celebration of all things Latin with The Latinx House’s first pre-Oscar gathering, designed to put the spotlight on shifting the image of the Latinx community as portrayed by Hollywood. Held at Issima restaurant in West Hollywood, the bash brought out “Encanto” co-director Charise Castro Smith along with Wilmer Valderrama, Constance Marie and Latinx House founders Olga Segura and Monica Ramirez.
It was a laugh-filled night at the 16th Annual Oscar Wilde Awards, held at the Ebell Club, as honors from the US-Ireland Alliance went to Adam McKay, Jamie Dornan and Dónal Ó Héalai. Mary Steenburgen introduced McKay, who wrote and directed the 2022 Best Picture nominee “Don’t Look Up,” by reminding everyone that her filthy lines in his “Step Brothers” are the ones “people repeat back to me at least three times a week!” McKay revealed, “I’m going back to Ireland soon to write another script,” for it seems the Emerald Isle is a grand place for inspiration that leads to Oscar nominations.
Director Richard Curtis brought down the house at the 16th Annual Oscar Wilde Awards held at the Ebell Club when he humorously trashed both honoree Jamie Dornan during his introduction, as well as his longtime collaborator Hugh Grant. “In my experience, good-looking people normally haven’t got much to recommend them,” Curtis cracked. “And I say that as someone who has spent a lot of time working with Hugh Grant. There is nothing as rare as a good-looking actor who can actually act. And again, Hugh Grant’s name leaps, actually leaps to mind!” Of course, he gave props to Dornan’s acting skills in the end. Director Kenneth Branagh was also honored but was kept out of the room, reportedly because of a positive COVID test.
Vanity Fair was back in the Oscar swirl all week, hosting a series of events that culminated in their legendary Oscar night party. Editor-in-Chief Radhika Jones presided over all, including this “The Future of Hollywood” fete that Amanda Seyfried cohosted at Mother Wolf restaurant. This one on Thursday night was packed with fresh young faces, all hoping to be the next breakthrough star.
Friday night brought Zoe Saldana to SmogShoppe, where she joined Suzy Amis Cameron to once again bring the idea of sustainability to the Oscars red carpet at the annual RCGD private dinner. By funding young designers who create fashions that don’t suck the life out of our planet, Amis Cameron has been working on changing the red carpet mentality one dress at a time. Designers Sanah Sharma, Jasmine Kelly Rutherford and Yuriko Fukuda created this year’s eco-friendly designs.
The CAA stable of famous faces gathered at the exclusive San Vicente Bungalows for an in-the-agency family affair on Friday night. There were Academy Award winners like Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Pacino, Viola Davis, Adrian Brody and Ron Howard, who gave some advice for coping to 2022 nominees like Troy Kotsur, Andrew Garfield and Ariana DeBose. Also on the hot scene were Taylor Swift, Chris Pine, Rege-Jean Page, Anya Taylor-Joy, Simu Liu, Zooey Deschanel, Jonathan Scott and Tiffany Haddish.
Rita Moreno, everyone’s favorite 90-year-old star, brightened up the 15th Annual Women in Film Oscar Nominees Party Friday evening with a rousing speech that reminded the 60 female Oscar 2022 nominees that women (especially Latin women) still have a long way to go for parity in Tinseltown, saying “we are seriously underrepresented.” Held at the Bar Lis at the Thompson Hotel Hollywood, the bash brought out a huge percentage of the female nominees, including Jane Campion, Germaine Franco, Sián Heder, Diane Warren, Tamar Thomas and many more. Moreno wasn’t finished, as she added, “We really need to get together and organize more – before I am dead!”
Oscar-winning singer-songwriter H.E.R. cohosted the Women in Film (WIF) celebration on March 25, joined at the rooftop Bar Lis party by women who are fighting their own battles against sexism in Hollywood and beyond. “It’s all about the women supporting the women,” she said. “The moment we realize that we are unstoppable together, the stronger we will become.” Applauding that sentiment were WIF board president emerita Cathy Schulman, along with Lake Bell, Garcelle Beauvais, Saniyya Sidney, Amy Forsyth and even a few men, including Troy Kotsur and Daniel Durant.
Late-afternoon tea was served at the British Nominees Party on March 25, as British Hollywood ex-pats joined their cohorts who had flown in for Oscar weekend, all beginning the long final weekend of Academy Awards season by raising a glass (of tea or slightly more alcoholic beverages). British Consul Emily Cloke invited everyone to her residence, where nominees including James Harrison, James Mather, Donald Mowat and more nibbled on very British nibbles. But Kenneth Branagh was quarantined out of this celebration, too, sending his wife, art director Lindsay Brunnock, in his stead.
It was all hugs and brotherly love at the 2022 Governors Awards held Friday night at Hollywood’s Ray Dolby Ballroom when Denzel Washington presented Samuel L. Jackson with his honorary Oscar. Liv Ullmann, Elaine May and Danny Glover were honored as well, in a low-key (i.e., no fighting) ceremony attended by Hollywood greats like Bill Murray, Quentin Tarantino, Ava DuVernay, John Lithgow, Alfre Woodard, Rita Wilson and Ruth E. Carter.
Luxury lounges returned to the Hollywood firmament with glee, including the massive eBay & GBK Brand Bar Pre-Oscar party that rocked on for two days at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel Rose Garden. With eBay leading the way in gifting top watch and handbag brands like Tag Heuer and Yves Saint Laurent while touting the company’s vaunted “Authenticity Guarantee” service, the GBK lounge also boasted more than 40 companies. And big names came calling, from Oscar-winner Viola Davis to past nominees including Angela Bassett and Bruce Dern, as well as stars like Ashley Greene, Anthony Anderson, who scooped up everything from Sailrock Resort vacations to Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry.
“King Richard” breakout star Saniyya Sidney was just one of many Hollywood types who made the trek to Sunset Boulevard to attend the two-day DPA Pre-Oscars Gift Suite extravaganza, which included a Kenya display that featured art, jewelry, artisanal creations and more. The lure of Kenyan beach vacations and safaris drew Viola Davis and her family, too, as well as “Summer of Soul” producer Beth Hubbard, and 2022 Oscar nominees Chris Corbould, Christopher Townsend and James Mather. All were gifted Nescens Swiss skincare products and on-site spa treatments, as well as more than 40 other items.
Viewing parties happened all over town on Sunday, March 27 as the controversial 94th Academy Awards unfolded. Mercedes-Benz returned to the Four Seasons Hotel with an extravagant and elegant party that transformed the garden into a warm indoor space, complete with televisions everywhere. Jon Hamm made the scene with his statuesque girlfriend Anna Osceola and checked out the new Concept EQG Mercedes parked out front. Derek Hough and his date Hayley Erbert blew up the red carpet, as did Jason Lewis and hot showrunner-star Quinta Brunson, whose “Abbott Elementary” ABC series was just renewed for Season 2.
With Elton John on tour in Nebraska, his husband David Furnish enlisted Lady Gaga as the host of this annual bash that raises still-needed funds to keep the search for a real AIDS cure on track. Furnish and John’s boys joined in the fun, which lasted well into the night and culminated with a performance by Brandi Carlile. Eric McCormack and Billy Porter joined in the hosting duties, and John beamed in from the tour. Also making the over-capacity scene were Kevin Costner, Demi Lovato, Patricia and Rosanna Arquette, Heidi Klum, Chris Pine and lots of Hollywood’s beautiful people.
Positivity reigned supreme at the Governor’s Ball that immediately followed the 94th Academy Awards ceremony, as the winners celebrated without any controversy. The “CODA” stars’ ebullient excitement made everyone in the room smile and silently wave their hands in a delighted ASL tribute to the charming film that took home the big prize.
Latina actress Ariana DeBose’s historic Oscar win was somewhat overshadowed by the Will Smith debacle. But her Tequila Don Julio toast at the Governors Ball certainly made the LGBTQ thespian proud of her heritage and of her stance on saying the word “gay” to the whole world in her heartfelt winner’s speech.
Jessica Chastain cannot hide her excitement as she goes through the now-traditional process of getting her Oscar statuette engraved with her name and “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” on the golden placard that really made things official at the post-Oscars Governors Ball.
They may not have ridden off into the sunset with the Best Picture or Best Actor statues, but Oscar winner Jane Campion, who made history as only the third woman in 94 years to take home the Best Director Academy Award, and her “The Power of the Dog” leading man Benedict Cumberbatch (who lost to the man who is likely to be sanctioned by the Academy any day for his violent actions during the telecast) still had a grand ole time at the Netflix Oscar After Party on Sunday night.
The Griot Gala has hit its fourth anniversary as an on-the-circuit fixture of the post-Oscar party scene, especially at the moment when the fire marshal shut down entry to the party and left people lined up on the surprisingly chilly sidewalk. If you made it inside, you found Cedric the Entertainer hosting the honors for Phylicia Rashad, Cheech Marin and Renée Lawless.
The always hot-ticket Vanity Fair Oscar Party welcomed Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, along with their extended family to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, without a blink after his controversial actions at the Oscar ceremony. Seems that when you’re a winner in Hollywood, nothing can stop you. Other attendees included the gang from “The Lost Daughter” – Maggie Gyllenhaal and hubby Peter Sarsgaard, Dakota Johnson, Jesse Buckley and Olivia Colman; the “CODA” winning crowd, and many other of the night’s winners, losers and wannabees.