There was best-actress winner Nicole Kidman, cornered by a pack of men in suits in a rose-filled room on the eighth floor of the Beverly Hilton, acknowledging a fan as he handed her a buffet plate to autograph at the Paramount Pictures party. On the roof at the Focus Features soiree, inside a transparent plastic tent carpeted in white, nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal, her brother, Jake, and his date, Kirsten Dunst, preened for each other like teenagers at a senior prom. And in the winners' camp down at Trader Vic's, Harvey Weinstein worked the room, stopping to gush over Neve Campbell, who repeated: "Thank you, thank you." Salma Hayek primped in the ladies' room. Rachel Griffiths shouted down the red carpet to Peter Krause, as Mena Suvari rushed toward the entrance.
And there was party crasher Andrea Porrello, a University of Missouri law student looking elegant in diamond earrings and a long black dress, but, nevertheless, an uninvited guest. "I'll tell you how this works," she said, fresh from a chat with Hugh Grant. "There was a big group of people at the elevator, and I just walked in with them."
Porrello's easy authority landed her inside every one of the hotel's five well-guarded Golden Globes after-parties Sunday night. (Hotel entry required an invitation and a photo ID, followed by the now ubiquitous metal detector passage.) As she waited by the elevators, she said, "I feel like Frank Abagnale." It was a heady sensation that she later shared with Leo DiCaprio, who starred in "Catch Me If You Can," the film adaptation of Abagnale's precocious youth. "He laughed," Porrello said of the actor. "But he really wasn't that friendly."
Porrello, an aspiring entertainment lawyer, made reservations back in September to stay at the hotel. She traveled alone, knowing her chances of penetrating the exclusive crowd were better solo. "I bought the dress, some makeup and I brought an attitude," she said.
It was an early night for many of the stars, who left the hors d'oeuvres and expensive champagne to an appreciative crowd of nobodies.
For the A-list, Sunday's festivities started around noon, with hair, makeup and wardrobe appointments. The limos picked them up at 2. So, 10 o'clock felt more like midnight, especially for the hordes headed to the Sundance Film Festival in Utah the next day. "Until three days ago, I was working," said Maggie Gyllenhaal. "It really kept my feet on the ground. I was really experiencing [the Globes] peripherally."
In the hallway outside the Miramax party, Jeff Goldblum and "Talk Soup" host Aisha Tyler held hands and exchanged compliments. The two actors had never met. "You are a vision," said Goldblum, grasping Tyler's hands and closing his eyes. "And you," replied Tyler. "You're so funny! It's so good to meet you! I'm going to sleep so good tonight!" Nominee Kieran Culkin stood behind Goldblum during the love fest, giggling, as if unsure of the seriousness of the exchange. Tyler summed up the scene, aptly: "It's like a high school reunion!"
At HBO's poolside party, the cast of "Sex and the City," including supporting actress winner Kim Cattrall, was nowhere to be found when the clock struck 10. "They all have babies now," said an HBO publicist. At this hour, even the man most revered by the entertainment press, Tom Hanks, boycotted cameras and reporters. Actress Cheryl Hines, of the best-comedy series "Curb Your Enthusiasm," dutifully posed for photos as her shy co-star, Larry David, sneaked out behind her. "I'm tired and excited," she said. "I hopped in the shower at 11. It was a few hours of beauty."
Not everyone was sated with the evening's glamour. Brothers Edward and Joseph O'Connor leaned over the fourth-floor balcony outside the Focus Features party, staring down at the HBO party. "Do you have an extra invitation to that one?" Edward asked a stranger as she thumbed through her invites. The answer was no. But that didn't stop the brothers from bragging about their star sightings. The two men traveled from their home in Waterford, Ireland, to crash the after-parties. (A producer friend was their one link to the action.) "Cameron Diaz was rude," said Edward, 21. "She only takes pictures with kids, she said." Joseph added, "But we took pictures with Queen Latifah."
Once inside, they used Porrello's technique of following the crowd. "You gotta take your chances where you can," said Edward. "We got all the attributes as everyone else here."