Vanity Fair Oscar Party: Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Jay Z amp up star power
As expected, Vanity Fair once again delivered Hollywood celebrity mega-wattage with its 2015 Oscar Party, held this year in Beverly Hills and hosted by editor-in-chief Graydon Carter.
Colored lights splashed on the side of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts highlighted the magazine’s name in huge letters as a long line of cars wrapped around the venue on nearby streets, waiting to deliver guests to the A-list event.
The party took place in a structure built between Beverly Hills City Hall and the Annenberg Center, the latter of which served as the entrance to the event. Inside, pink lights were splashed high up onto the City Hall tower, providing an inspiring view for those brave enough to hazard the sometimes-drizzly outdoor courtyard.
“It’s built to last five years and it’ll be taken down in two days,” Carter said of the party structure, which from the inside had a rather permanent feel. Vanity Fair will keep its gala at this location -- its third in as many years -- for the next three years.
By 11:30 p.m., the party was near capacity and the main room was packed as guests sipped free-flowing drinks and enjoyed simple snacks passed on trays wielded by roving servers. Of course, the event’s traditional In N Out Burgers were in ample supply, accompanied by paper buckets of French fries and onion rings.
Newlyweds Dee Dee and Paul Sorvino held down the fort on the banquettes near the entrance to the main party room, where Oscar winners like best actor Eddie Redmayne would embark on the battle to make it more than a few yards into the packed party before well-wishers dogged their every step.
By the time a high-energy Chrissy Teigen and John Legend -- original song winner for “Glory” -- made it midway into the room, she was thrusting her husband’s trophy above her head with both hands and a lot of bubbly joy. Then she was swarmed by thrilled girlfriends who took turns snapping pics. “Say Oscar!” Legend shouted in lieu of the traditional “Say cheese” as he posed with a trio of lovely ladies, Academy Award in hand.
The event had started with a dinner and viewing party for 150 guests in the circular dining room, its walls lined with eight TV screens that would later show clips from the show as well as a live feed of arrivals for the after-party, which kicked off at 9 p.m., after the dining tables had been removed.
The prize for most photogenic -- or photo friendly? -- celeb had to go to last year’s supporting actor winner, Jared Leto, who worked the room with gusto in his risky pale-blue suit. After mugging for the red carpet cameras and photobombing the unsuspecting as they arrived, he spent a few minutes with Kevin Hart. The guys examined each other’s unusual lapels, giving ‘em a good feel before kicking back into a selfie. Leto then roped in Jeff Goldblum for another selfie across the room, and later posed with Lupita N’yongo as a party photographer did the honors.
With several sprints through the party rooms mixed in, Robert Pattinson anchored the stalwarts -- a lot of them smokers -- who braved the elements outdoors, where umbrellas were offered to those who seemed to be melting. Tom Sturridge sported a proper hat to defend against the elements.
Reese Witherspoon spent some time in a healthy line for the photo booth, still rocking the black-and-white Tom Ford number she wore on the red carpet (but didn’t want reporters to ask about) and taking time to pose with a few ladies who hit her up for pics.
Julianne Moore planted her Oscar statuette on a table in a back-room booth next to the rear exit, where she took a seat and held court for hours as the party rolled on.
Near her, around midnight, Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux snuggled up to one another, grabbed hands and walked with purpose toward the main room, not to be seen again.
Queen Latifah made an appearance, and we can only hope she connected at some point with Common, her “Just Wright” costar. He did cross paths with tennis goddess Serena Williams, who delightedly grabbed his Oscar for a good close look -- and maybe a few curls.
As ‘70s tunes like David Bowie’s “Fame” set a disco tone in the room, Noah Wyle and pregnant wife Sara Wells hopped around the room, finally landing to converse at length with Tim Allen and Dermot Mulroney.
Documentary short Oscar winner Ellen Goosenberg knelt down with her shiny gold trophy to chat with supporting actress nominee, Emma Stone, who was seated on a banquette with her plus-one: her mom. J.K. Simmons would be so proud!
“I love Emma,” Goosenberg said, remarking how she was impressed by younger actors and actresses who’d managed to keep their acts together.
Her group, including husband Donald Kent and co-winner Dana Perry (she was the one wearing the dress with those fuzzy balls, amusingly highlighted by host Neil Patrick Harris) made the most of the evening, dancing, chatting and savoring the fun of the win up against the seriousness of “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1,” the suicide-focused film that had earned them their invites.
Then, a few moments later, space opened up in the packed room, at the far end in front of one of the André Carrilho murals showcasing nominees.
To the right, Jennifer Lopez had draped herself and her phenomenal, see-through, cleavage-revealing dress over one of the banquettes, striking a pose that stopped traffic as party-goers tried not to look as if they were staring only at her. Which of course they were -- until Beyonce, Jay Z and Solange set up shop on the banquettes to the left. Then Kevin Hart dropped into the middle between the superstars.
(Oh yeah, Jared Leto also managed to find time to pose for a pic with Jay and Bey. Seriously, dude was all over the place.)
After a while, they’d all make their way out the back -- though Jay Z and crew would return and score a back-room booth with Hart, where they’d stay long enough for Beyonce to get caught doing a little seat dancing as the tunes morphed to current hits.
And like that, those banquettes had turned ordinary once again, taken up by mere mortals checking their smartphones.
Toward the end of the night, Bill Maher and Judd Apatow could be found conversing in a back-room, both no doubt plotting some hilarious plot to take down Western civilization.
Adapted screenplay winner Graham Moore chatted late in the evening with “The Imitation Game” star Benedict Cumberbatch, whose pregnant new wife Sophie Hunter was radiant in bright red.
As the clock struck 2 a.m., the bars shut down and the song selection started hinting that guests might start thinking about leaving, Vin Diesel headed out to his car in full voice, adding his own words to a Billy Joel tune before closing out his solo performance with the lyrics as written.
“If that’s what it’s all about,” he boomed, stretching the notes as far as they could go. “Mama, if that’s movin’ up then I’mmmmmmm ... movin’ out.”
And away he went into the night.
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