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Oscars '98 / THE PARTIES | COLUMBIA TRISTAR

This Was a Class-Conscious Soiree

March 25, 1998|BETTY GOODWIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Scene: The party given by the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group ("As Good as It Gets," "Men in Black" and best foreign film winner "Character") at the old Chasen's, disarmingly brought back to life with lights, potted palms and obscene amounts of flowers and food.

Who Was There: Masses of sequined and suited-up studio executives and the people they do business with, plus a few genuine stars, including Sean Connery, Paul Sorvino and Larry King, whose mad night of party hopping would not include Vanity Fair's event. "They did an article on me that was preposterous," said the still-miffed TV personality.

Modus Operandi: You could have waited an eternity and never have known that Jack Nicholson (tie off) and Helen Hunt (coat on) were among guests. Big shots immediately entered a roped-off VIP zone and sat at tables topped with "reserved" signs.

You Should Know: The difference between a three-time Oscar winner and a first-timer is that the multiple winner--Nicholson--leaves his statuette in the limousine. The novice--Hunt--clutches hers at the party.

The Helen Factor: If there was any doubt that Hunt is queen of the Sony lot (her just-picked-up series, "Mad About You," is produced by Columbia TriStar Television), executive Chris Lee offered, "We will definitely be giving her a feature to direct in the future."

Photo Op: Dog star Jill, who played Verdell in "As Good as It Gets," sat comfortably on a chair at a table in the VIP section with her trainer, Roger Schumacher. (Her diamond necklace, he admitted, was a fake.)

Fashion Statement: Meg Tilly said of her slinky black dress, "I paid for it, so I'm not going to publicize it. You don't want to feel like a walking advertisement."

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