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OSCARS 2000 | Vanity Fair

Where Elite Keep an Eye on the Prize

March 28, 2000|KATHLEEN CRAUGHWELL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Minutes before the best picture winner was announced, Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter said his pick was "American Beauty."

"But I have to say that; David Geffen is at my table," he said with a laugh.

When the odds-on favorite cinched the award, the glamorous crowd at Vanity Fair's annual Oscar party at Morton's erupted in applause, and the others at Carter's table--Jane Fonda (who left the awards immediately after she presented an honorary Oscar to veteran Polish director Andrzej Wajda), Diane von Furstenberg, Barry Diller, Fran Lebowitz and Carrie Fisher--raised their glasses to the DreamWorks principal.

So elite is the magazine's fete that even a power player like Geffen chose to watch the awards there rather than schlep to the Shrine Auditorium.

And sometimes even the stars get star-struck. "Wow, look. It's Brad," whispered Trey Parker to "South Park" partner Matt Stone (sans the Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow frocks they wore to the awards) as they moseyed up to the bar.

Who was there: The starry throng was like the glossy mag come to life. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman; Elizabeth Hurley and Elle Macpherson; Dominick Dunne and Betsy Bloomingdale; Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston; Cher; James Woods; Angie Dickinson; Minnie and Kate Driver; George Hamilton; Rod Stewart; Ron Howard; Regis and Joy Philbin; Artie Shaw; Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger; Paltrow and Ben Affleck.

Quote: "He's like Moses in the Bible, people keep making reference to him," Tony Curtis said of Billy Wilder, whom best director Sam Mendes singled out in his acceptance speech.

Scene: Raven-haired Jenny McCarthy snapped a spaghetti strap in the ladies room hugging a friend. The solution? She ripped off the other strap and turned the dress into a strapless gown.

Suggestion for next year's telecast: "Instead of highlights, I think they should show clips of bad career moves," quipped Jay Leno.

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