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Partying With Oscar : VANITY FAIR-TISCH : The Literati Came Early, the Celebrities Stayed Late

March 23, 1994|JEANNINE STEIN | TIMES SOCIETY WRITER

Air kisses, caviar, champagne, table-hopping, low-cut gowns and the fire marshal: Yep, this must be an Oscar party.

Not just an Oscar party, the event thrown by Vanity Fair and producer Steve Tisch drew a crowd of very beautiful people, including actors, directors, producers, singers, studio chiefs, models, artists and writers.

It was the biggest Monday night Morton's had ever seen.

Vanity Fair Editor-in-Chief Graydon Carter knew he had an A-list on his hands. "But," he added, "I think it puts on a lot less pressure than if we had the B-list."

Weeks before the event, Tisch found out just what a popular guy he was.

"I've been getting calls from a lot of people claiming they went to Hebrew school with me," he said.

Still, by midnight none of the big winners had shown up. Later on, several nominees and presenters arrived, and some people did come in clutching gold statues. But few guests seemed to know who they were.

The party's first act started at 5:30, when guests invited to the seated dinner began to arrive: Gore Vidal, Lee Radziwill, Wendy and Leonard Goldberg, Barbara and Marvin Davis, Jackie Collins, Nancy Reagan, Michael Stipe, Anjelica Huston and Robert Graham, Candice Bergen, Barry Diller and Oliver Stone, plus Conde Nast Chairman S.I. Newhouse and Vanity Fair's Bob Colacello, Dominick Dunne, Reinaldo Herrera (with wife Carolina) and Annie Liebovitz.

Photographer Liebovitz circled the room with a small auto-focus Nikon taking copious snapshots. "They're just for me," she said.

There was no way to stop this crowd's instinctive urge to schmooze. Guests changed seating arrangements around and flitted from table to table while the awards played on several big-screen televisions.

After the show, waiters whisked away most of the tables, preparing for the second act: the onslaught of celebs from the awards.

In this wave was Liam Neeson with Natasha Richardson, Geena Davis and Renny Harlin, Prince, Debra Winger, Marisa Tomei, Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh, Anthony Hopkins, Nancy Kerrigan, Whitney Houston, John Singleton, Ralph Fiennes, Claudia Schiffer and David Copperfield, Joel Silver, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, Christian Slater and Rosie O'Donnell.

"I feel like we're groupies waiting for the band to play," said a Big Agent standing with friends and surveying the crowd.

Nominee Liam Neeson admitted to having "a couple of butterflies" during the show.

"That's only natural," he said. "Fellini called it a great circus, and he was right. But it was great fun. Whoopi was great, what an artist. Was anyone thinking of Billy Crystal tonight? But now it's back to reality. These clothes turn into rags in 10 minutes."

This was Rosie Perez's second party of the evening, and about 11:30, the best supporting actress nominee was starting to look weary.

"I'm having a ball," she said. "But after this, no, no more parties. I think I'm going to go home and go to bed."

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