BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – “In 20 years, this is the most fun I’ve ever had,” Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody said at Vanity Fair’s annual Oscar party on Sunday. “I had real conversations, about politics, life and art.”
For a change at this annual meeting of industry luminaries, a real conversation was almost inevitable. The main reason was the train wreckage that caused Will Smith to slap Chris Rock on stage.
“This moment I can’t talk about,” said Amy Schumer, who hosted the Oscars with Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall, after chatting with Larry David just outside the tent dance floor. “It was so important and I’m still processing it, and I have to be very careful,” she added, before turning to a group of friends for a lifeline. “Someone make me stop talking.”
It’s been nearly 40 years since Tina Brown, the former editor of Vanity Fair, engineered a party that would steal the show from Swifty Lazar’s Oscar wing. Mr. Lazar didn’t just know how to take to the stars, Ms. Brown observed in her published diaries. He also domesticated a “menagerie” that attended on his terms or not at all.
When a celebrity of Mr. Smith’s stature acts in public, it’s more than a source of chuckling editorials and viral memes. It is a threat to kumbaya show business fiction. So this year’s Vanity Fair party was something of a celebrity campfire ring. Other Oscar parties — like the one given by Madonna and Guy Oseary — can be more intimate and exclusive, but nothing beats Vanity Fair for bold volume.
So for a few late-night hours in a series of tents, gardens and outdoor lounges at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, the most famous people on the planet mingled, danced, drank and smoked (mostly weed), and proved just how great a leveling celebrity can be. It’s a universally established truth in Hollywood that at some level of fame, everyone is your best friend.
To reach the shrine, guests had to pass through a series of security checkpoints (negative PCR test results were required) and a blue carpet lined with screaming photographers. A few bright glowworms, including Billie Eilish, Pedro Almodóvar and Jessica Chastain (wearing an emerald green Gucci dress that evoked Ariel in “The Little Mermaid”), were then immediately diverted to a private studio where Mark Seliger did their formal portraits.
Others morphed straight into an actual party, where camera phones and other recording devices had been strictly prohibited. Surprisingly few people flouted the no-phone rules to capture theatrical moments such as Kathy Hilton dancing with Marjorie Gubelmann, aka DJ Mad Marj, or Bill Murray wearing a flippant beret, dancing alone.
Had they stayed past midnight, they would have caught Will Smith, seemingly unfazed by the controversy he’d just stirred up, accompanied by his wife and kids, and rocking out to “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It.” .
They also reportedly caught Serena Williams towering over the crowd in a silver minidress, and Zendaya standing next to a potted palm tree and chatting with Timothée Chalamet, both surrounded by a nimbus of marijuana smoke exhaled by an acquaintance.
They reportedly saw Jason Bateman locked in a hug with Kevin Bacon; Jon Hamm momentarily alone near the men’s room, looking desperate like a book puppy; Kristen Stewart floated in a long black lace dress; and Zoë Kravitz chain-smoking Marlboro.
They reportedly caught Sarah Paulson yelling, “Dog! Dog! Dog ! as she shoved Kate Hudson and Chris Pine to pet a stranger’s white pooch.
In the Before Times, it was customary for the most famous to dutifully work the red carpet and do a happy home run or two, before moving on to another, probably better, party.
Midnight was the traditional hour for witches. This time around, the atmosphere was friendlier, and for obvious reasons. Two years of separation have taken their toll on the celebrity herd.
“People are really happy to see each other again,” said Georgina Chapman, the fashion designer, as revelers crowded so closely together on the way to one of the tequila bars that it was easy to forget such a thing as social distancing. existed.
“Of course,” Ms Chapman added, “next week we’ll all have Covid.”