Oscar: An Overnight Sensation : Winners and Losers Put On the Glitz at Oscar Ball and Spago

Times Staff Writer

This was, if nothing else, the year the stars came and stayed at the Academy Awards Board of Governors Ball.

It was as simple as holding the party at the Shrine, the site of the Oscars; as simple as draping a few thousand yards of red and white chiffon around a room, of catering a three-course gourmet meal, of having an orchestra on a slowly revolving pedestal, over which towered three very large Oscar statues.

Maybe Oscar show producer Allan Carr bribed the celebs who attended. Maybe he threatened to take their statuettes away. No matter. They looked like they were having a good time.

“We’re trying to get to our table,” said best supporting actress winner Geena Davis when asked how she and husband Jeff Goldblum were going to celebrate her win.


“Doesn’t she look great?” Goldblum said admiringly of his wife, who was dressed in a sea-foam green satin dress with an honest-to-God bustle. Her Oscar was nestled in the crook of her arm. “With her hair and everything,” he added, “it really offsets it.”

Jodie Foster arrived with actor Julian Sands, plopped down at her table, weary but happy, and started to eat.

“I have no idea what I said or what I did,” she said, thinking back to her acceptance speech. “My dress broke. I don’t know what happened. It just broke. But somebody fixed it. What am I going to do to celebrate? I don’t know,” she said, starting to pick at her salmon. “Probably eat this.”

Such simple pleasures these people thrive on.

Like Kevin Kline, winner for best supporting actor.

He had no big plans to whoop it up, he explained. “I have a rehearsal in the morning. It’s a new film I’m doing called ‘I Love You to Death.’ Larry Kasdan is directing and it has a wonderful cast.

“I’m saying that,” he added, “but I’m probably going to stay up all night and dance. So don’t believe a word I say.”

A dance floor surrounded the band. But rather than using it for dancing (although some tried), the space was mostly used for photographing the stars in various configurations as they congratulated each other. As soon as another star would emerge, a gaggle of photographers and reporters would swoop in for a shot.


“Hooray for Hollywood” boomed from the bandstand as Oscar nominees and “Dangerous Liaisons” co-stars Michelle Pfeiffer and Glenn Close put their blond heads together for a photograph.

Peter Guber of Guber-Peters, the production team that put together “Rain Main,” was both congratulatee and congratulator, hugging “Rain Man” co-star Tom Cruise and generally beaming with excitement.

“This is the fourth time that we’ve been nominated, and the first time we’ve won,” he said. “This is like a dream come true. We started this picture four years ago, and then to sit here tonight and hear them read it off as best picture. Look, I even have the envelope in my pocket!”

And so he did.


Michelle Pfeiffer looked none the worse for losing the supporting actress award to Geena Davis. She was still in shock over presenting the best adapted screenplay Oscar to Christopher Hampton for “Dangerous Liaisons.”

“I had a deal with Dennis (Quaid, her co-presenter) that if anyone else but Christopher won he would read the winner. I opened the envelope and I couldn’t believe my eyes. To be able to give that to someone you worked with was so wonderful.”

Pfeiffer gave Hampton due credit for being on the set every day and “losing just as much sleep as we did. He was amazing. He was really committed.”

Hampton seemed still dazed by the whole thing as he made his way to his table. “As I got off stage I was struck by the most terrible. . . .” he paused, clutching his stomach, “ ague . I just collapsed. But I feel better now.”


His immediate future plans included celebrating “extensively.”

It took a while for the crush at the “A” tables to diminish; some actually did get to their dinners. Pregnant Melanie Griffith, chowing down for two, sat with fiance Don Johnson, her frothy white dress in accord with his frothy blond-ish hair.

Tom Cruise (his hair just growing in after being buzzed off for his role in “Born on the Fourth of July”) smooched at his table with auburn-haired wife Mimi Rogers. She was wearing a pink-and-black polka-dot dress with little winglets at the hips that looked perfect for hiding small snacks.

The guests also included Rob Lowe, Max von Sydow, Gene Hackman, Sigourney Weaver, Martin Landau, Patrick Swayze, Alan Parker, Robin Williams, Martin Short, Billy Crystal, Ricki Lake, Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks (and his look-alike brother, Jim), Corey Feldman, documentary film nominee Bruce Weber, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, Jon Peters, Michael Ovitz, Frances McDormand, Amy Irving, Richard Dreyfuss and Meryl Streep.


“Very good” was Fred Hayman’s assessment of the evening’s glamour meter, and as Oscar wardrobe consultant he should know. “I’d like to see it (the clothes) more elaborate for the stage, though. But it was very elegant. It gets better and better every year.”

And what were this year’s Oscar fashion disasters?

Hayman smiled, laughed a little, but wouldn’t name names. Nor would he name names of the fashion stand-outs. He eventually dished one name.

“I didn’t like what Cher wore,” he said, referring to the star’s minidress. “It was out of place--even for Cher.”


And by the time Allan Carr arrived, resplendent in a black sequined tux, his admirers couldn’t wait to bestow their congratulations upon him.

“Hey,” he said with a shrug. “It’s all work.”


Irving (Swifty) Lazar’s Oscar bash was being worked over but good. It was late evening, 11-ish, by the time the stars scooted from downtown to Spago in West Hollywood, de-limoed, grazed by the paparazzi and the crowds of fans waiting behind police barricades and entered the party.


Of course, there were plenty of stars already there, those who had been celebrating since early evening when the telecast began.

By the time the downtown crowd had arrived, the plates had been cleared, the television monitors stashed away and the confetti strewn about the floor as guests elbowed their way through the restaurant’s front rooms, sitting down when there was a chance.

Chefs were still turning out pizzas from the bank of ovens while a very pregnant (and seemingly tireless) Barbara Lazaroff served them. Husband Wolfgang Puck was bouncing about in his kitchen whites.

Among the crowd at The Party That Would Not Die were Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston, Roger Moore, Sean Connery, Jackie Collins, Bob Newhart, Suzanne de Passe, Don Rickles, Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine, Cybill Shepherd, Kathleen Turner, Jillie and Tom Selleck, Anne Archer, Kim Novak, Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown, Gregory Hines, Placido Domingo, Sherry Lansing, Brenda and Lionel Richie, Jane Fonda and Peter Fonda, Gene Siskel and Governors Ball spillovers Tom Cruise and Mimi Rogers, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Robin Williams.


Lazar disappeared mid-way through the party, but his guests managed to celebrate on their own just fine.

Best director winner Barry Levinson said he planned to “go back to writing. I’m in the middle of writing a screenplay. I’m doing another Baltimore movie,” reprising his home town in another film, after his successful 1982 film “Diner.”

It looked like the realization of winning hadn’t quite dawned on comedian Steven Wright, who picked up an Oscar for best live-action short for “The Appointments of Dennis Jennings.”

“For days I’ve been mentally preparing myself to lose,” he said.


And what was his assessment of his first Oscar experience?

“It’s like a live Fellini movie.”