For Many, the Last Stop in the Festivity Hop


The Scene: After midnight, when most of the other parties were winding down, Miramax's affair at the Polo Lounge was just beginning to boil. It brought in not only the "Good Will Hunting" loyalists, but also sopped up the "Titanic" spillover and became the terminus party for many festivity-hopping celebrities.

Who Was There: Statue-wielders Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Robin Williams and Helen Hunt as well as nominees Peter Fonda, Gus Van Sant, Dame Judi Dench, Helena Bonham Carter, Minnie Driver, and Robert Forster, plus Matt Dillon and Cameron Diaz, Demi Moore, Geena Davis, Wes Craven, Geoffrey Rush and Michael Caine.

Observed: The tight security--which was the case all over Oscarland--reached absurd proportions as the police were called about a woman from the neighborhood who was deprived of her access to the Polo Lounge bar. "I'm not causing any trouble," she shrieked at security guards. "I just want to get a cocktail."

What is Oscar Worth? "I figure I can probably hock this for some decent money," joked Affleck about his best original screenplay trophy (which he won with Damon). "Because we work for Miramax. So we're still--well, you know, I have some debts."

Quoted: "Now that the shock is wearing off, it feels extraordinary," said Williams, clutching his first-ever Academy Award. "Of course, all of this has a half-life of about a day. And then all of a sudden, people go, 'Yeah, OK, Robin, now you gotta go back to work.' "

Best Speech by a Nonwinner: "It feels great," said best actor also-ran Fonda. "I love my friend Jack. It's not like we both played Hamlet and he beat my pants off. I've been nominated by my peers. They don't un-nominate you."

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