The Governors affair is, well, a ball

Times Staff Writer

The legendary Vanity Fair Oscar party may have been canceled, but this year's Governors Ball almost made it up for it. Usually a sedate affair the stars use as a preamble to the more serious partying later on, this year's ball seemed to have an elevated cool quotient.

The music was by the charming, genre-busting band Pink Martini, rather than the usual orchestra playing movie scores and golden oldies. The main course was an excellent steak by Wolfgang Puck. The mood was classy and exciting, with the winners' packs moving confidently through the crowded aisles like street gangs. As the night went on, many at the Kodak Theatre seemed in no hurry to get to another party.

At the Warner Bros. table, which included several of the "Michael Clayton" posse, Warner Bros. President Alan Horn, chatted movingly about how these nights make him appreciate the legacy he oversees.

Michael Clayton himself, George Clooney, soon dropped over and shouted to the group, "You know what this is? This is the losers' table! Look at me! You know what I am? I am a loo-ser! All night long everyone who comes up me, makes this face," he said. He mimicked the hangdog sad face he'd been receiving all evening. The table laughed and seemed in fine and cheery spirits.

The table soon received a winner, however, when Tilda Swinton finally shook loose her coterie and managed to sit down and eat, passing around her statue as she did. For a woman who was quoted at the beginning of the night saying the Oscars, which she claimed to have never watched before, seemed like a dog show, she seemed pretty peppy -- not quite giddy, but certainly not sad to be here.

Nearby, Amanda Micheli, nominated director for the documentary short "La Corona" about a beauty pageant in a Colombian women's prison, talked about her Oscar learning experience.

"Documentary filmmakers don't get to dress up very often," Micheli said, "so I never knew until tonight about Spanx." She explained that they are an almost full-body girdle that women squeeze into in order to stay in place within their evening gowns.

"I had no idea that women wore girdles anymore. This has completely reshaped my view of modern femininity. Everyone is wearing them!" Micheli said.

To prove her point, she grabbed the first two women who walked by. "Are you wearing Spanx?" she asked. "Yes!" They both shrieked, and all huddled to compare undergarment notes. Mere documentarian though Micheli may be, she was part of a great entertainment tradition.


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