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It's an honor just to be nominated, now where's the food?

Nominees and winners adjourn to after-parties at upscale venues. Statuettes garner the usual attention, then it's off to the buffet for champagne and some chow.

September 22, 2003|Gina Piccalo | Times Staff Writer

The glittering throngs, studded with golden statuettes, left their velvet seats promptly at 8 for the traditional post-awards party pilgrimage. They started at the Governors Ball, held in a room adjoining the Shrine Auditorium that this year had been transformed into a scene from another era.

Here at "Club 55," palm trees surrounded a rotating stage, where the Glenn Miller Orchestra played big- band hits. Costumed couples twirled around the dance floor, doing the jitterbug. Roses and orchids topped every table, and every plate held a lobster tail. Cigarette girls carried trays offering cigars and chocolate roses.

Near the entrance, "Six Feet Under" star Peter Krause gave a bearhug to "Will & Grace" star Eric McCormack. Around the corner, Francis Ford Coppola raised a glass of red wine to toast his family, with Thora Birch by his side. Garry Shandling, meanwhile, shared with friends his inspiration for the evening's big kiss.

"I called Duchovny," he said. "And I said, 'Dave, I'm doing a bit where I kiss Brad Garrett, and I want you to know that I'll be thinking of you. It's you that I'll have in my heart.' "

While press grumbled that the show's stand-up routines fell flat, Coppola, Krause and others cheerfully praised the multiple emcees. "It was a smart way to do it," said Krause, who had joined Wanda Sykes' electric slide in the aisle, "but it's hard to get a sense of it with a camera shoved in your face."

Just then, James Gandolfini walked in, took in the room, the photographers crowded around him and asked the security guard: "Just tell me where the cars are." And with that, he and his statuette headed out a side exit.

Across town, the HBO crowd gathered under a huge tent just outside the Pacific Design Center. As the party started, the most pressing concern was sustenance, as the stars rebuffed reporters and headed straight for the buffets. Gandolfini beamed at friends as he walked in, shaking hands and accepting congratulations.

The tent was awash in garden greenery, with well-placed lighting suggesting sunlight through treetops, all offsetting the dark-suited crowd of execu- tives. The "Sex and the City" crew sat near the food and fielded questions from reporters about their wardrobes. When asked what look she was going for, Kristin Davis said, "I'll let you figure that out." California gubernatorial candidate Arianna Huffington stood nose to nose with Larry David's wife, locked in conversation. Behind them, David, apparently oblivious, bent over a plate of pasta salad.

Elsewhere, "Entertainment Tonight" and Glamour magazine hosted A-listers at the Mondrian Hotel on Sunset Boulevard, with the Bangles slated to perform poolside. A few blocks south, 20th Century Fox held its annual Emmy bash at Morton's. Meanwhile, at the Lot, a Hollywood staging area near Santa Monica Boulevard, the Foo Fighters were scheduled to rock TV Guide's guests.

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