James Franco, Gal Gadot and Mary J. Blige help W magazine kick off the 75th Golden Globes party circuit

James Franco, from left, Gal Gadot and Mary J. Blige were among the bold-faced names who turned out to the Chateau Marmont for W magazine’s January 4 pre-Golden Globes shindig.
(Owen Kolasinski / (left and right), Donato Sardella / Getty Images (center))

Emilia Clarke and James Franco smiled for the phalanx of photographers surrounding them as they perched beside a sofa; Brooklynn Prince paused in the entry hall to spend a moment with Gal Gadot; and Mary J. Blige found a spot, just barely quieter, to relax with friends. There, in a penthouse suite at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, a mass of A-listers crowded into the various rooms, some spilling onto the terrace for fresh air, while others ducked into side rooms to sample the dinner or dessert buffets.

“It’s kind of a great moment” said party host Stefano Tonchi, editor-in-chief of W magazine, taking time out to chat with the Los Angeles Times. “It’s the beginning of the awards season. The Oscars, somehow, are the grand finale, but now, before the Golden Globes, everybody has a chance.”

The event

W magazine celebrated the 75th Golden Globes, along with the publication’s movie issue, at the Jan. 4 affair. Hosted by Tonchi and editor-at-large Lynn Hirschberg in partnership with Audi, Dior and Dom Perignon, the Thursday night fete kicked off L.A.’s jam-packed schedule of pre-Golden Globe shindigs. Added Tonchi, “It’s a little bit in the DNA of W to be first.”

W magazine celebrates thew 75th Golden Globes
Justin Hartley ('This Is Us'), from left, W magazine's editor-at-large Lynn Hirschberg and Allison Williams ('Get Out') at the January 4 soiree. Donato Sardella / Getty Images for W magazine

The crowd

Partygoers featured in W’s “best performances” portfolio included Franco (‘The Disaster Artist’), Blige (‘Mudbound’), Prince (‘The Florida Project’), Gadot (‘Wonder Woman’), Daniel Kaluuya (‘Get Out’), Hong Chau (‘Downsizing’), Sam Rockwell (‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’), Jim Belushi (‘Wonder Wheel’) and Salma Hayek (‘Beatriz at Dinner’).

And yet the A-list didn’t stop there. Also on scene were Allison Williams (‘Get Out’), Justin Hartley (‘This is Us’), Frankie Shaw and Connie Britton (‘SMILF’), Aziz Ansari (‘Master of None’), Tracee Ellis Ross (‘Black-ish’’), Caitriona Balfe (Outlander’), Elizabeth Olsen (‘Wind River’), composer Alexandre Desplat (‘The Shape of Water’), writer Danny Strong (‘Empire’), artist Catherine Opie, CBS Corp. chief executive Les Moonves and fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger.

W magazine's
Hong Chau, from left, Salma Hayek and W magazine editor-in-chief Stefano Tonchi. Donato Sardella / Getty Images for W magazine

The quotes

“It’s amazing when you get to experience your best-case scenario,” said Williams, speaking of ‘Get Out,’ a best picture contender in the musical or comedy category, with its star, Kaluuya, nominated as best actor. She noted that the surprising mega-hit, which has now grossed $175 million, had been shot in 23 days on a $4.5 million budget.

Asked about his predictions for Sunday, Hartley said, “I predict ‘This is Us’ in all categories all the time,” after praising the show’s writers and their talent in evoking tears at every episode. The TV drama has been nominated for best series, while two of its actors — Sterling K. Brown and Chrissy Metz — are also up for awards.

Frankie Shaw
'SMILF' creator, writer, showrunner and star Frankie Shaw arrives at W's pre-Globes bash on January 4, 2018. Joe Scarnici / Getty Images for W magazine

As the writer, creator, showrunner and star of ‘SMILF,’ Shaw acknowledged that she was “beyond excited” about the show’s success, which includes Golden Globe nominations for herself as best actress and ‘SMILF’ as best TV series in the musical or comedy category. “It all happened so fast,” she said. “We started writing in June, we started shooting in August, and the show premiered in November. I’ve been so amazed at everyone’s response.”

As much a basketball fan as her character in the show, Shaw offered to show off her basketball tattoo, which makes a cameo in the series’ final episode.

And as for Sunday’s attire, she said, “I’m wearing black in solidarity with all the women who have now come out and all the women who are not represented,” adding that she’ll accessorize with “black Puma sneakers — mainly because it’s painful to walk in heels.”

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Ellen Olivier is the founder of Society News LA.