The Scene: A surprisingly intimate Hollywood bash--if a party for 600 can be described in those terms--to launch the release of a home video of Academy Awards ceremony highlights called "Oscar's Greatest Moments." It goes on sale Feb. 19, which is practically a national holiday in this crowd, being the day nominations for the 64th annual Academy Awards are announced.
The Money Thing: A portion of proceeds from video sales will go to an endowment fund for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' new state-of-the-art Center for Motion Picture Study on La Cienega Boulevard, where the party was held. (The building is a rescued architectural delight that was once a water purification plant for Beverly Hills).
Who Was There: Hollywood stars galore--Oscar winners, also-rans and hopefuls--including Faye Dunaway with Robert Evans, Kathryn Grayson, Esther Williams, Raquel Welch, Tom Hulce, Nancy Allen, Ben Kingsley, Diane Ladd with daughter Laura Dern and Dern's beau Vincent Spano, Sally Kirkland, Joe Mantegna, Edward James Olmos, Kathy Bates, Charlton Heston, Joel Grey and Michael Lerner; also producer Arnold Kopelson, director Arthur Hiller, Academy Awards ceremony director (and director-producer of the video) Jeff Margolis and Academy Awards ceremony writer Hal Kanter; plus Academy president Karl Malden and past presidents Fay Kanin, Howard Koch, Walter Mirisch, Robert Wise and Richard Kahn.
Buzz: Shop talk dominated by Oscar warm-up chatter, even though the ballots haven't even been turned in yet. Publicists were talking up the likely Oscar nominees, while cynics decried the paltry number of truly great films this year. Regarding fiscal matters, everyone agreed that the academy has come into its own with its new aggressive marketing posture.
Quoted: "We finally did what everybody wanted us to do with the Oscars--cut the dull moments," said Karl Malden, describing the video.
Overheard: "Let me break ground for you here," said Charlton Heston, sounding remarkably like his movie alter ego, Moses, as he helped his wife negotiate through the crowd.
Dress Code: "Business attire" was specified, a cause of bemusement when Raquel Welch squeezes into black spandex and Faye Dunaway slithers in satin.
Party Decorations: About a dozen human-sized gold Oscar statuettes ("These would look great in my driveway," offered Joe Mantegna) and display racks full of videos. Even though each guest received a video at the dinner tables, more people in this well-heeled crowd than we care to name, and we won't, helped themselves to extras from the displays.