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The Oscars: Parties / The Governors Ball

Afterward, family time

Heath Ledger's family met some of his peers. And pizza planes were

February 24, 2009|Richard Rushfield

Seven steps were all it took to take some of the glamour out of Oscar night. "Be careful. We had a few incidents on these stairs," an official warned guests climbing up the short flight into the Governors Ball after the Academy Awards on Sunday night. Women in long trains and 4-inch heels stumbled to heed his warning even as the crowd stampeded toward the hall, desperate after a long night of nerves for a solid meal courtesy of Wolfgang Puck.

Seth Rogen was among those who spied a little pit stop seafood buffet just outside the ballroom. "They were very smart to give us food before dinner," Rogen said while scooping up the lobster and sushi. His girlfriend, Lauren Miller, resplendent in a red gown, told what must be an all too familiar tale of woe for women at the show. "I was in the bathroom," she said, "looking at myself in the mirror, and I was thinking, 'I look really cute in this dress' when over my shoulder I see Heidi Klum walk in in a red dress . . . ."

Inside the ballroom, a critical mass was forming around the tables for the "Slumdog Millionaire" team in the room's center. Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy ate his "slow braised Asian-spiced short rib with spring vegetable risotto" while admiring the little gold man on the table in front of him. Beaufoy recalled his last visit here, being nominated for "The Full Monty" the year "Titanic" swept the show, and said this night rated much higher. "This is the most famous piece of sculpture in the Western world. Everyone knows this statue. It's amazing to have one."

At the next "Slumdog" table over, star Dev Patel spent the evening perched between the children who played his character as a boy and the girl who played little Latika. While award presenter Adrien Brody attempted to chat up Patel's fetching costar, Freida Pinto, he played airplane games with slices of pizza, feeding them to the kids. As photographers circled to capture the charming moment, in the aisle behind them Robert Pattinson, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, for perhaps the first time in years, slid by the pack of photographers and out the door unnoticed.

Standing nearby, Anil Kapoor, who portrays the film's game show host, seemed overcome by the moment. "Around the world, everybody makes films and everyone who does dreams of coming to the Academy Awards, to the Governors Ball and winning best picture. And here," he gestured to the room, "here we are."

An hour or so after the show's end, guests began to move on -- heading to the next wave of parties.

Calling out to a friend as she left, Anne Hathaway yelled, "I would have thanked you! I swear!"

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richard.rushfield@latimes.com

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