Oscars: Guide to Hollywood’s Top Viewing Parties (Updating)

During the Feb. 26 telecast, TAO in Hollywood opens its doors, IMDb mixes commentary with cocktails, Toni Braxton takes Beverly Hills, and one official Academy party goes on until the early hours

Elton John Charlie Sheen David Furnish
Elton John, Amazon, The Weinsteins, IMDb, and more are throwing industry-facing Oscar watch parties on Sunday, February 26, 2017. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for EJAF)

For a guide to the parties with actual nominees — and some trophies floating through after Jimmy Kimmel signs off — click over to TheWrap’s “Ultimate Guide to the Hottest Invites.”

For the industry-affiliated who did not score one of the 3,400 tickets for the Oscars on Feb. 26, these are the top invites during the show away from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre.

Several shiny entertainment industry fiefdoms with varying degrees of affiliation to the 24 awards handed out at the Oscars still want to “touch” the industry’s biggest night. We’ve broken them down into two categories: “Parties with potential Winners” and “No trophies/winners expected, but still cool.”

Parties That Could Become Victory Parties – You May See Trophies

“Manchester by the Sea” / Amazon
Delilah (West Hollywood)

Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges, Michelle Williams, Kenneth Lonergan, Kimberly Steward, Kevin J. Walsh and Lauren Beck.

Who to “Sea”: A potential Best Actor winner in Casey Affleck and the rest of Kenneth Lonergan’s team from “Manchester By the Sea” (after the show).

History could be made if Jeff Bezos’ bunch becomes the first streaming service to win the top prize. It would also mark the longest campaign of Oscar season. Whispers of statues for Casey Affleck and the film started before Amazon’s high profile purchase at Sundance 2016.

Weinstein Co.
TAO Hollywood

Sunny Pawar

Who to See: The cast and filmmakers of Best Picture nominee “Lion” (after the show). The inside of the new TAO.

This will be one of the first looks inside the hotly-anticipated Tao space before it opens. At nearly 30,000 square feet, it is a restaurant only (unlike its Vegas and NYC cousins, which also have clubs), is underground — and per early peeks — has a split-level setup. If Nicole Kidman, Dev Patel, and/or “Lion” pull off any upsets, there will be trophies beaming down the center staircase, a golden way to christen the TAO Group’s new Hollywood complex.

Elton John
West Hollywood Park

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 28: (L-R) Fashion designer Zac Posen, model Heidi Klum and tv personality Caitlyn Jenner attend the 24th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation's Oscar Viewing Party at The City of West Hollywood Park on February 28, 2016 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for EJAF) *** Local Caption *** Caitlyn Jenner;Heidi Klum;Zac Posen
Zac Posen, model Heidi Klum and Caitlyn Jenner (EJAF)

Who to See: Caitlyn Jenner, Quincy Jones, Gabby Douglas, Heidi Klum, Vanessa Hudgens, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (he’s a regular).

While the Elton John Aids Foundation’s event (now in its 25th year) is known as the viewing party to be at if you can’t be at the Oscars, the studio-agnostic room of philanthropic cinephiles does have skin in the game as a few Oscar winners routinely come here after the show.

Take nominee Mahershala Ali. He’s on EJAF’s Host Committee while up for the award of his life. Nominee Ava DuVernay (“13th”) is also expected.

David Furnish and Sir Elton have raised $56 million from this event alone over the years, a fraction of the several hundreds of millions converted in to action worldwide. Gordon Ramsay cooks the viewing party dinner and St. Paul and the Broken Bones will perform after the show.

Trophy-Free, Industry Watch Parties

Neuehouse (Hollywood)

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 20: Actress/director Kristen Stewart of "Come Swim" and host Kevin Smith attend The IMDb Studio featuring the Filmmaker Discovery Lounge, presented by Amazon Video Direct: Day One during The 2017 Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2017 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb)
Kristen Stewart and Kevin Smith at IMDb’s studio at Sundance in January. (Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb)

Who to see: About 300 film industry and Amazon Studios executives

IMDb personifies its brand identity on the hump between “indispensable industry tool” and “savvy consumer’s second screen.” On Oscar night, they will service both of these audiences.

While industry execs and guests watch the show, IMDb’s Dave Karger and Amazon “Style Code Live’s ” Rachel Smith will tag team for a live stream. In a neat package of corporate synergy, it will stream on both IMDb.com and the Amazon-owned Twitch.tv, as well as on Twitter.

Karger, this generation’s mass-media cinematic ambassador on the “Today” show and elsewhere, previously served as the Academy’s “host,” greeting guests on the Oscars’ red carpet.

Here, the catering may be a bit more “after school snack” than Ramsay’s “Masterchef” — they’ve nabbed a new Oreo product as a title sponsor.

Byron Allen and Entertainment Studios’ First Annual Gala
Montage Beverly Hills

Entertainment Studios Invite

Who to See: Toni Braxton, Babyface

This monstrous invite — about the width of an airline seat in coach — touts Toni Braxton and Babyface as live entertainment at the studio’s first ever Oscar night bash.

This party could have a giant golden hue altogether in a bizarro universe. By way of reminder, Allen bid $20 million for “Birth of a Nation” at Sundance 2016, and lost out to Fox Searchlight. As that film, and its awards speculation, evaporated in scandal and only $15 million in domestic box office, Allen dodged a bullet.

He ended up with $20 million to spend on a live rendition of “Unbreak My Heart” and a gold-plated invitation budget larger than a production week of “Moonlight.”

Mercedes-Benz Viewing Party with Icon Mann
Four Seasons Beverly Hills

Mercedes Benz Icon Mann


Who to See: Tracee Ellis Ross, Anthony Anderson, Issa Rae, Gigi Gorgeous, Stann Verrett, Peter Fonda, Wale

This is a real mixed bag of legit entertainment and media personalities watching “La La Land’s” coronation together. The most exciting pairing is Issa Rae and her on-screen boyfriend Jay Ellis from HBO’s “Insecure,” giving fans a glimpse of the couple-on-the-rocks together in real life in the off-season.

Champagne Piper Heidsieck Viewing Party
Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood

Piper Heidsieck Oscar Viewing Party

Who to See: The bartender

The Academy’s champage partner throws the closest watch party of all — directly across the street from the Oscars. Piper also has some dedicated red carpet bleacher space that they are filling with influencers and friends of the brand. Their private party takes place in the penthouse and rooftop suite.

“The start of the design [of the Oscars champagne bottle] began at last year’s Governors Ball,” Piper’s global chief Benoît Collard told The Party Report during a walkthrough at the Dolby last week. “We decided to dress the bottle in red and gold,” to import the colors of the red carpet and the trophies.

They have 1,200 bottles and 15,000 glasses of champagne holstered for Governors Ball across the street.

The Academy’s Official Watch Party: NYC
Rainbow Room at 30 Rock

What to See: Views of Manhattan by night.

On the east coast, Manhattan-based members may be watching from the 65th floor of NBC, which by way of reminder, does not broadcast the Oscars (ABC does).

The Academy’s Official Watch Party: London
Ham Yard Hotel, Soho

Gerard Butler at London Has Fallen premiereWho to See: People cheering for Naomie Harris, Andrew Garfield,and Dev Patel. 

The Academy’s official London event does not even start until 10:30 p.m. local time, with a champagne toast for L.A.’s red carpet arrivals getting underway around 11:30 p.m. After a midnight feast, with espresso martinis, the Academy assured the Party Report that the festivities will continue through to the last award. This means some well-dressed Academy voters will be stumbling out in to streets surrounding this industry-favorite hotel around 4:30 a.m. GMT Monday morning.

All events are private and by invitation only. Please send invites and updates to the party columnist Mikey Glazer here.

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