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The Little Gold Guy Awaits

Parties: On the night to watch, and be watched, in Hollywood, one of the biggest competitions may be over who has the best post-Oscar bash.

March 24, 1997|HEIDI SIEGMUND CUDA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

No matter who walks away with the most prizes tonight, it's likely that Miramax Films will have scored the evening's biggest hit.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, there's an award show going on at the Shrine Auditorium, but everyone in L.A. knows the real revelry takes place at the post-Oscar bashes, and with 20 nominations under its belt, Miramax--home of "The English Patient," "Sling Blade" and "Trainspotting"--is hosting an epic affair at the newly renovated Mondrian.

The champagne will flow as well as the gowns in the white-hot hotel--whose understated, minimalist elegance should offer a fine backdrop for all the evening's vamping and vogueing.

It's better than a dishy novel: After making appearances at competing parties, the world's most famous people will make late-night arrivals at a hotel owned by Ian Schrager, who rose to fame with the most decadent nightclub of them all, Studio 54.

The entire first floor is devoted to partying, including the outside lounge area, where a see-through, acrylic checkerboard covers the pool, so guests can walk on water while viewing city lights.

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But the real action will be on the 12th floor, where Hollywood royalty will be escorted, allowing the privileged to cavort in private suites. Sound like fun?

"Miramax really wanted to have a great party, and we were interested in picking up the mantle left behind by Swifty Lazar," says Schrager, who created his first Oscar party in 1978 for Andy Warhol at Studio 54. "When people wake up Tuesday morning, I want the hotel to have been the next most magical place to have been that night."

Well, Schrager will have to fight Vanity Fair for Swifty's mantle. The magazine is offering its fourth annual heavy-hitting gathering at Morton's.

"There's no comparison--our party is about glamour and comfort," says Vanity Fair editor in chief Graydon Carter. "Most of the parties have a VIP area, and I think that's embarrassing for the guests--we don't have that. The Vanity Fair party is the only major party not affiliated with a studio, and it's a great party. Heck, even the Weinsteins [Miramax co-chairmen Harvey and Bob] RSVPd. What does that tell you?"

Directly across from Morton's on Melrose, Columbia-TriStar is hosting a shindig at the Eclipse. And rounding out the high-profile revelry is Elton John, who teams up with In Style magazine to take over Maple Drive for the fifth time and transform it into a fab fund-raiser for his eponymous AIDS foundation.

Notably missing from the scene: Georgia restaurant, which declined this year to throw its intimate post-Oscar dance party at its Melrose site.

But there are upstarts, including Fargo, N.D.'s very own black-tie gala. The city is celebrating its Hollywood arrival--compliments of Ethan and Joel Coen's multi-Oscar nominee, "Fargo"--with a fund-raiser for the restoration of an Art Deco movie theater in town.

Fargo even has its very own star hosting the event, Fargo native Kristin Rudrud, who plays "Fargo's" Jean Lundegaard, the ill-fated wife of the character played by best supporting actor nominee William H. Macy.

In addition, an Oscar tribute to animator Chuck Jones is happening in Pasadena tonight, to kick off the weeklong World Animation Celebration, and the Earth Communications Office is having an eco-friendly affair over at Puck's Obachine in Beverly Hills.

But the Mondrian, home of the Sky Bar and Coco Pazzo restaurant, will likely be the epicenter of Oscar chic. Between the private guest lists held by Schrager, Sky Bar owner Rande Gerber, who hobnobs with the Beautiful Ones at the Whisky bars and Armani cafes he runs, and Miramax, it should be a spectacle.

A-listers such as "Trainspotting's" Ewan McGregor, Gerber's squeeze Cindy Crawford and last year's best actor, Nicolas Cage, are expected to mingle with Miramax nominees Billy Bob Thornton, and Kristin Scott Thomas and Ralph Fiennes.

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One of the few people present that night who won't be having much fun is planner Jeffrey Best, who has created 18 events for Miramax and is familiar with post-party pressure--he was given 30 hours' notice to throw together Courtney Love's private post-post-Oscar party at the Chateau Marmont in '95. Says Best, "I like to think of this event as no bow-tied waiters, no chicken wings and no sparkling wine."

Dom Perignon will be growing on trees. A tree bar has been constructed poolside, and bottles of the champagne will hang as lanterns.

If the starlets bother to eat, such delectables as sweet red pepper quiches and mushroom profiteroles will be at their fingertips--served by waitresses and waiters dressed in white sarongs. Anna Litt, who's married to producer Scott Litt (known for his work with such artists as R.E.M. and who, by the way, also has a celeb-studded guest list), is the evening's deejay. Her playlist includes Frank Sinatra, the Chemical Brothers, Otis Redding and Beck. Beat that.

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