By Andrew Dalton The Associated Press
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Oscar night’s epic Vanity Fair party is a black-tie affair but also a lose-the-black tie affair, a place where stars can unbutton their shirts or in some cases lose them entirely kick off their high heels and celebrate the end of a long awards season by eating, drinking and dancing with abandon.
Richard E. Grant, who did not win best supporting actor for his role in “Can You Ever Forgive Me,” looked like he’d won a shelf full of Academy Awards, throwing off his jacket, untucking his shirt and loosening the top few buttons as he walked through the party with its thumping music, his face lit up with delight as Sunday night became Monday morning.
Jason Momoa of “Aquaman” was missing the shirt he wore earlier in the evening as a presenter, going bare-chested under his tuxedo jacket with his hair up in a bun as he handed out hugs and high-fives, towering over everyone around him.
James McAvoy turned his tuxedo shirt into an autograph book. It was covered with star-studded signatures in red sharpie as he danced alongside Emilia Clarke to “This Is How We Do It.”
Nearby on the dance floor, photographers and well-wishers crowded around newlyweds Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra, with many seeing them for the first since they married in India in December.
Just off the dance floor, Dick Van Dyke, 93 years old and holding a cane, swayed and grooved to hip-hop tunes as though he were still the romping chimney sweep from the original “Mary Poppins” 55 years earlier.
Oscar statuettes, as always, were the most popular accessories at the annual gala hosted by Vanity Fair editor Radhika Jones and held both indoors and out between the Annenberg Space for Photography and Beverly Hills City Hall.
Lady Gaga made one of the biggest stirs of the night when she walked in with platinum hair and golden trophy for best original song, for “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born.”
Spike Lee, dressed all in purple, proudly strode in holding his first competitive Oscar in a 30-year career, earned earlier in the evening for best original screenplay for “BlacKkKlansman.”
At the end of the show, Lee had nearly stormed out of the ceremony when the feel-good tribute to racial harmony “Green Book” beat his and six other films for best picture, but a few hours later he said he had made peace with it and had congratulated several people who worked on the movie.
“I’m not going to trash the film. They won,” Lee told The Associated Press as he walked in on the party’s striped carpet. “This is not like sports, where you could go to the video and overturn the call. It’s done.”
There were also plenty of not-so-famous faces proudly sitting with statuettes and downing Dom Perignon. Winning an Oscar means instant celebrity status and a hard-to-get invitation to the party for the sound editors, special effects supervisors and short-form filmmakers fortunate enough to have their names called from the stage.
The party, as usual, had a big dose of big stars from outside of movies, including Taylor Swift, Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and NFL star Odell Beckham Jr.
Many gorged on the traditional highbrow and lowbrow fare, as servers walked the floor with boxes overflowing with In-N-Out burgers, trays of bottled milkshakes with paper straws and platters stacked with tiny carrot cakes.
Diana Ross, Ava DuVernay and Tracee Ellis Ross were among the approximately 100 guests who watched the Oscars telecast over a formal dinner that preceded the bigger party.
Just after the ceremony, where multiple winners included “Green Book,” ‘’Roma,” ‘’Black Panther” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” most victors and nominees made a first stop at the Governors Ball, the official after-party just held a few floors up from the Oscars, to sip some champagne and sample some Wolfgang Puck cuisine, including thinly sliced Spanish ham, Japanese beef and fresh vegan pasta.
“Eighth Grade” star and presenter Elsie Fisher wandered the party with her dad, while Awkwafina did the same, grateful her public appearance was over. “It was nice to play a nervous person,” she said after presenting a pair of Oscars with comedian John Mulaney, both acting intimidated at being part of Hollywood’s biggest night.
Glenn Close may have missed out on the best actress prize for the seventh time, but she was in good spirits and in an entirely different outfit at the ball, where many stopped to tell her how great she is. “We’re here for you, Glenn,” one man said.
Many of the winners were all smiles, including “Free Solo” directors Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, and the women behind the short documentary “Period. End of Sentence,” whose energy had not waned since their win a few hours prior.
Attendees clamoured to talk to best actress winner Olivia Colman, who got her trophy engraved next to best director winner Alfonso Cuaron. He eventually found his “Roma” cast and crew, including Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira, to toast their win before heading to the Netflix party. And Mahershala Ali gladly posed with Angela Bassett, clutching his supporting actor trophy for “Green Book” proudly while smiling for the cameras.
But by 9:30, many had already started making their way to the Vanity Fair party, including Melissa McCarthy, who looked in good spirits despite having to hold up her own train.