Stars are flooding pre-parties before tonight’s big show. On their minds: Colin Firth’s acceptance speech, and why The Social Network belly flopped. View photos of the best events. Plus, our complete Oscars coverage and chat live tonight.
The world is spinning out of control, the Middle East is erupting in violence, but here in Los Angeles, it’s business as usual: another Oscar season.
No one seems to know what to make of the whole week. There have been an avalanche of awards given out already – Gotham Film Awards, Golden Globes, Critics Choice – and nearly all of them have gone to the same people. Colin Firth for The King’s Speech. Natalie Portman for Black Swan. Melissa Leo and Christian Bale for The Fighter. Aaron Sorkin for his screenplay of The Social Network.
Gallery: Oscar Pre-Parties
When things are this consistent, it makes the whole thing a little anti-climactic.
Barring a last-minute miracle, the one true battle, for Best Picture, appears to already be over. At the beginning of the season, The Social Network was the odds-on favorite, but then came wins for The King’s Speech at the Producer’s Guild Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Director’s Guild, and the BAFTAs. No longer was there much question about who is destined to win tonight.
Despite this lack of tension, there are still friends to see, people to network, and celebrities to be gawked at at parties like museum artifacts on display. The Chanel dinner hosted by Charles Finch was one such affair, drawing in Uma Thurman, Drew Barrymore and Ginnifer Goodwin. A store opening for Tom Ford attended by Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Valentino, and Amber Valletta, was another.
David Geffen got a nice kiss hello from Oprah Winfrey at Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller’s outdoor luncheon at their Beverly Hills home Saturday afternoon. (Diller is chairman of IAC, an owner of The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company.) At a table underneath a tent, Victoria and David Beckham were talking to famed socialite Lynn Wyatt. Anderson Cooper and a big group of people hung out in front. Graydon Carter huddled with a group that included Fran Lebowitz. The painter Francesco Clemente attended with his twin sons. There were more moguls than you could count. In addition to Geffen, we spotted Rupert Murdoch, Eric Schmidt, Howard Stringer, Ron Meyer, and Bryan Lourd.
Out in Venice, around the same time, a slew of stars turned up for the Indie Spirit Awards. This is the Oscar-eve event that honors movies made for less than $20 million, which meant that The King’s Speech and The Social Network were knocked off the ballot. Consequently, Black Swan took home most of the biggest awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress. For his role in 127 Hours, James Franco won Best Male Lead.
But no matter where you turned, people were talking about how The Social Network had fallen from the heavens and sunk to, well, something. (The dominant theory explaining the Facebook founder’s tale was that it was too chilly to watch, lacked in a sympathetic protagonist, and came out in October, which meant it wasn’t fresh in voters’ minds.)
At the Hollywood Reporter party earlier in the week, held at the Getty House, Aaron Sorkin smoking a cigarette, tan as ever, was overheard on the patio telling someone: “He had it going in and he lost it going out.”
Who knows which “he” Sorkin might have been talking about?
Nearby, Oscar hopefuls David O. Russell (director of The Fighter) and Lisa Cholodenko ( The Kids Are All Right) were immersed in conversation.
We decided to interrupt and ask Russell what he thought was going to take Best Picture.
“I don’t like to prognosticate,” he said. “I like surprises.”
But a moment later, he admitted The King’s Speech could come out on top: “Harvey fights a good fight.”
Saturday night, we caught up with Weinstein at his own Montblanc-sponsored party at Soho House; sadly the interaction was short-lived.
“How are you feeling, Harvey?” we asked. “Really good, really good,” he said, then dashed right out into the crowd.
At a table by the front bar, Colin Firth was tête-à-tête with movie-screenings queen Peggy Siegal. She was busy telling him what he should say when he wins tonight. “I’m speechless,” was the suggestion. Firth laughed at this, then mentioned that others had been wagering bets on whether he might stutter.
In a room in the back, Jennifer Lopez was seated with Weinstein’s wife, Georgina Chapman. Close by, reporter Roger Friedman gabbed with Lopez’s husband Marc Anthony. A small group encircled Jeremy Renner, who scored a Best Supporting Actor nomination this year for his role in The Town. Others in attendance included Weinstein pals Ron Burkle (the supermarket mogul), Russell Simmons (the hip hop impresario), and Brett Ratner (the movie director).
Ratner didn’t seem to think there was much question Weinstein was on his way to victory. “You can’t underestimate Harvey. He’s a winner. He has great taste. He’s an executive but he knows the process, he knows how to get a great director and a great material and he figures out how to market it. And it’s a cyclical business. He can have 10 years of hits or five years of bombs, it doesn’t matter. He’s got talent, and talent wins out.”
A person back at the Hollywood Reporter party connected to The Social Network was slightly less generous in his assessment of what took The King’s Speech to the top of the pile. “Bring on the hearing aids,” he said, in reference to the large block of older voters Weinstein had courted for the film.