Inside the Vanity Fair Oscar Party

Hollywood stars queued to walk the carpet once again after hotfooting it from Sunday’s Oscars to the Vanity Fair after-party. 

Hosted by the magazine’s editor-in-chief Radhika Jones, the post-awards bash was held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, in a “built-from-scratch complex of velvet-clad bars and dance floors”, said Vanity Fair columnist Nate Freeman.

The annual event, now in its 29th year, “had competition for the weekend’s most exclusive ticket”, said Jacob Bernstein in The New York Times. But it was still Los Angeles’s biggest social event “in terms of square footage, security and star wattage”. 

An ‘Old Hollywood’ soirée

“It’s pretty clear that at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, everything, everywhere was happening. All at once,” said Freeman in Vanity Fair. “Even before the Everything Everywhere All at Once crew arrived with their seven Oscars in hand”, worlds were “colliding” at the packed event.

Nancy and Paul Pelosi “were making rounds”, Justin Bieber turned up “wearing what appeared to be a quilted blanket on his back”, and John McEnroe “jumped into the photo booth with Snap CEO Evan Spiegel and his wife, Miranda Kerr”.

British Vogue said the bustling “indoor-outdoor space” had the feel of “an Old Hollywood smoking room turned swanky soirée under the moonlight”.

Getting into the party was no small feat, with a security guard warning attendees of a half-hour wait to walk the step-and-repeat, according to The Hollywood Reporter’s Chris Gardner. When guests were asked if “‘anyone would like to bypass the red carpet and go straight into the party’”, Girls star Jemima Kirke reportedly took “responsibility of answering for everyone”, shouting “hell no”.

Walking Vanity Fair’s sapphire blue carpet, said Gardner, is “an opportunity bold-faced names don’t easily pass up”.

Winners to the front

The wait to get in apparently did not apply to Oscars winners, who began arriving at midnight.

After rolling up in a “party bus” that “blasted” Queen’s We Are The Champions, said Gardner, the Everything Everywhere All At Once gang were quickly ushered to the front of the queue. And once inside, Best Actress winner Michelle Yeoh was “perpetually flanked by a circle of selfie-seekers, photographers and well-wishers”.

Vogue reported that the duo behind the film – Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert – celebrated their Best Director win with “a martini in one hand and an Oscar in the other”. 

Other Oscar nominees at the bash included Aftersun’s Paul Mescal, who held a “fully-fledged family reunion with his siblings and parents in tow”, said the magazine. Models Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner “were out in full force” too, having stepped “straight from the Versace runway to the red carpet”. And Salma Hayek and Best Actress nominee Cate Blanchett were spied “gossiping in the party’s iconic photo booth”. 

Composite image: Brooke Shields poses with Brendan Fraser, and Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid pose

The young cast of The White Lotus “huddled together over cigarettes” before being joined by Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner, said Vanity Fair’s Freeman. Billie Eilish “hit the dance floor” and Donald Glover “convened a meeting with the Haim sisters”, Este, Danielle and Alana.

Guests dined on In-N-Out burgers washed down with cocktails, a “yearly Vanity Fair Party tradition”, said NYT’s Bernstein.

But Thor: Love and Thunder star Tessa Thompson “did not get in line for In-N-Out burgers with her fellow celebrities”, said The Independent, and stunned reporters by revealing that “I’ve never had a hamburger in my life”.

A more muted affair?

This year’s party was “perhaps a bit more mellow than in previous years”, said The Hollywood Reporter’s Gardner.

NYT’s Bernstein reported that the crowd “thinned out” from around 1am. Sharon Stone, Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sánchez “headed off to Madonna’s”, while other celebs went on to a gathering arranged by Jay-Z and Beyoncé.

Petronella Wyatt recalled in The Telegraph how having once attended “the sought-after Vanity Fair soirée”, the whole thing reminded her of “an easyJet flight to Croatia when you get stuck with a hen party that won’t stop shouting”. 

When the first Academy Awards were held back in 1929, the after-party was “teeming” with “gleaming un-vile bodies”, she said. Hosted at LA’s Mayfair Hotel, the party was “wall-to-wall chic to chic”, as the stars of the day “oozed through rooms” filled with “art deco tables” that “shone with candles and sweated champagne buckets”. And in the early hours of the morning, guests “rode dodgem cars filled with prairie oysters and scrambled eggs with caviar on crystal trays”. 

By contrast, she concluded, the Hollywood “glamour” of today is “nothing more than a revolting flashiness”.

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