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Posted at 6:10 PM ET, 02/28/2011

Oscar party scene: Hitting the Governor's Ball and the Elton John party

By Jen Chaney
The scene at the Elton John party. (Jen Chaney)

After nearly four hours on the Academy Awards red carpet and four more in the press room, party isn't necessarily the first word that comes to mind. (Pillow is one. Vacation is another.)

But this is the Oscars, for heaven's sake. And party -- or at least watch other, more famous people party -- is what must be done. The Post's Dan Zak and Amy Argetsinger navigated their way through the elite throngs at the Vanity Fair party, while I dropped by the Governor's Ball and hit the end of Elton John's annual Oscar viewing event.

Here's what was seen and heard on my end of the Oscar party circuit.

The Governor's Ball, as it has in years past, aims for the vibe of a glamorous, old-Hollywood supper club. The key word in that sentence: supper.

After winding their way down a red carpet and sitting through a lengthy awards ceremony, the Oscar crowd wants to eat. And so the Hollywood glitterati at the Ball largely sequester themselves at tables and shovel in every morsel of veggies and dollop of sauce on their Wolfgang Puck-prepared plates.

There's Christopher Nolan, pouring himself some champagne and not looking the slightest bit perturbed about not winning the Oscar for best screenplay.

There are some of the boys from "The Social Network" -- Jesse Eisenberg and Armie Hammer -- huddled at a cluster of tables not too far away.

And here's Jeff Bridges, who is with one of his daughters and says hello but is preoccupied. "We don't have anywhere to sit down," he says.

Seriously, who stole the Dude's seat? Not cool, man. Not cool.

The situation gets resolved pretty quickly. Ten minutes later, the Bridges clan is seated comfortably near the Coen brothers. As it should be.

There's Billy Crystal chatting with Helen Mirren. After the conversation breaks up, I get his attention for a few minutes, just long enough to ask him about maybe hosting the Oscars again. It doesn't sound like it's going to happen, but it also doesn't sound out of the question either.

Christian Bale reaches over his table to shake hands with his "Fighter" co-star, Mark Wahlberg, then he stands up. I grab him long enough to congratulate him on his Oscar win. He politely says thanks and "cheers," then moves on. He has other people to talk to, and they're not the sort who blog and have to bring laptops to Academy Awards parties.

This is what it's like to be a reporter at a post-Oscars soiree, where all the celebrities feel they've finally crossed the awards-season finish line and want nothing more than to drink wine and avoid interviews. As a journalist at this thing, you're an obstacle in the way of their well-earned good time, a buzz kill who takes notes.

Good 'ol Zachary Levi is sweet enough to chat for a bit, though, about his performance with Mandy Moore (he admits to jitters) and about the show in general. What was the vibe in the auditorium when Melissa Leo dropped the f-bomb? I ask.

It wasn't a big deal, he says. I tell him that small bleep has already blown up into a major topic on the Internet.

"Of course it has," Levi says.

A fellow reporter tips me off that Florence + the Machine has just taken the stage at the Elton John party at the Pacific Design Center. This is my cue to leave.

One unsuccessful attempt to find the press shuttle, followed by a cab ride, followed by a drive across town to the party and I'm there.

"You're not going to try to convince me that you know somebody or that your name really is on the list? You actually have a credential?" asks the guy waving in cars, who has clearly developed a sense of humor about the many pleading party-crash attempters. "Don't worry, you're in."

And it doesn't get much more in than entering a party and realizing the man in front of you is Prince. Prince, for God's sake. Screw "The King's Speech" -- this man is royalty.

Unfortunately, he disappears before I can even attempt a hello and for the rest of the evening, his whereabouts are a mystery. The disappointment I feel about not getting the chance to speak with him? That's what it sounds like when doves cry.

Since the Elton John party begins prior to the Oscars ceremony, it's starting to wind down now that it's nearly 11 p.m. Exhibit A: Matthew Morrison is doing an interview with the last reporter standing on the remnants of the red carpet line. Exhibit B: All of the bars in the joint are out of wine, but Godiva is still doling out plenty of chocolates.

Taye Diggs is hitting the dance floor with plenty of other revelers who, as the Black Eyed Peas are loudly declaring, still believe the night's going to be a good night. I say hi to him briefly but, again, the last thing he wants to do is talk to a journalist when he has a groove to pursue.

I spot Anne Heche, but none of the big names -- no Jamie Foxx, no Steven Tyler, no Emma Stone, no Paul Rudd, who all reportedly were here earlier. Florence + the Machine ended their set a while ago (I am told it was fantastic) and a rep confirms that Prince won't be performing.

So, really, there's nothing left to do but bug Steven Cojocaru. I ask him what he thought of the Oscar fashion this year. He can't say too much detail, because he's got to save all that for Entertainment Tonight. But he says he thought the overall vibe was matronly.

"The muse of the night was Hillary Clinton," he says. "That's my quote."

And then he dashes off. And with that, so do I.

By Jen Chaney  | February 28, 2011; 6:10 PM ET
Categories:  Awards Season, Celebrities, Movies, Oscars, Party Scene  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Until we meet again...
Next: John Hughes and the art his movies inspired


I think it not a fair behavior for Wikileaks, that they published a video showing
the winners of Oscar before any legal announcement. How it can be possible ?
Was the diction made before as the video shown :

It will not a matter of surprise if we know , ‘it was a diction of Obama’
when he is such a powerful celebrity now…

Posted by: anbanakhan | March 1, 2011 6:18 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Cojo.

Jen, please tell me that you scooped up as much free Godiva as you could carry & you're gonna share with is island chocoholics!!

If I'd been as close to Prince as you were I'd 1)check out his shoes, 2)I'd check to see if I was taller than he was (I'm 5'2").

Then I'd get shoved outta the way by his entourage & bodyguards, but at least I could say I was NEAR Prince.

Posted by: wadejg | March 1, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

If you love Oscars, you would love (more) the party! It's a celebration of winning the coveted award. Have you seen how host Franco snubbed the party? Watch this video: from youtube and see how he exited right after hosting the Academy Awards. Was he affected by a rant in Twitter about his hosting style?

Posted by: jensm1th | March 1, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

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