It is an honor just to be invited

Times Staff Writer

This week marks Hollywood's traditional springtime bacchanal of self-congratulatory events, a Swarovski-studded whirl that doesn't let up until the wee hours of Oscar night.

Some highlights:

On Wednesday, Women's Wear Daily and the Diamond Information Center host a party at a 75-year-old Moorish estate in Los Feliz. The theme of the decor, by event designers Rabin Rodgers Inc., is "Technicolor," and will feature dyed eggshells filled with diamonds. Pretty Babies, a band featuring actresses Samantha Shelton and Zooey Deschanel, will perform cover versions of 1920s and 1930s hits. The same night Courteney Cox and David Arquette welcome friends to a private home in Hollywood for a Vanity Fair-sponsored event. Fiona Apple is scheduled to perform.

On Thursday, Nicolas Cage, Salma Hayek and Russell Simmons are expected at a Holmby Hills home for a fund-raiser for Chrysalis, a nonprofit that helps the homeless. The event, sponsored by Vanity Fair and Guess, honors CAA president Richard Lovett and Kathy Nelson, Universal Pictures/Universal Music Group president.

And on Oscar night ...

After the requisite post-ceremony appearance at the Governor's Ball, hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Kodak Theatre, the stilettoed and tuxedoed hordes begin their limousine caravan throughout Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.

While there are last-minute gatherings when a dark horse nominee wins, studio execs generally announce post-Oscar parties when they expect to get a statuette. This year, Focus Features ("Far From Heaven," "The Pianist"), DreamWorks ("Catch Me If You Can," "Road to Perdition") and Sony Pictures ("Adaptation") have no plans for gaudy celebrations.

However, with 40 Oscar nominations, Miramax Films clearly feels destined to be a winner. In addition to Harvey Weinstein's pre-Oscar night party, the studio will host a post-ceremony affair for more than 600 people at the St. Regis Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Paramount Pictures, which shares credit with Miramax for "The Hours," will celebrate in a 4,000-square-foot transparent tent on the balcony of the Pacific Design Center's restaurant Astra West.

By far the most exclusive Oscar night affair is Vanity Fair's party at Morton's restaurant in West Hollywood. This event requires about as much strategizing as the U.S. mobilization on the Iraqi border. Planners live in the Beverly Hills Hotel for weeks as they hone every detail of this annual party, which has been estimated to cost more than $800,000. And everyone who is lucky enough to be invited makes an appearance at this one.

Right around the corner is Elton John's fund-raiser with InStyle magazine for his AIDS Foundation. To be held at the former Moomba nightclub on Robertson Boulevard, ticket sales are expected to raise more than $700,000. Following an 11-year tradition, John will share the stage at the party. This year, he performs with John Mayer.

For The Record Los Angeles Times Tuesday March 18, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 0 inches; 29 words Type of Material: Correction St. Regis Hotel -- An article in Sunday Calendar's Social Climes column incorrectly stated that the St. Regis Hotel is in Beverly Hills. The hotel is in Los Angeles. For The Record Los Angeles Times Sunday March 23, 2003 Home Edition Sunday Calendar Part E Page 2 Calendar Desk 0 inches; 30 words Type of Material: Correction St. Regis Hotel -- An article in last Sunday's Social Climes column incorrectly stated that the St. Regis Hotel is located in Beverly Hills. The hotel is in Los Angeles.
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