LOS ANGELES The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hosted the 86th annual Oscars last night at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood with Ellen DeGeneres as a crowd-pleasing and successful—if safe—host. And while DeGeneres poked fun at the unexpected rain Los Angeles saw before the ceremony, the wet weather posed something of a challenge to the people behind the scenes at the glitzy parties.
Virginia Fout of V Productions, who produced the annual Elton John AIDS Foundation party in West Hollywood Park, said: “Production was a bear, for me and everyone else all over town with the rain. In my 10 years doing this event, this has been the toughest trying to navigate and plan for the weather and execute rain plans to accommodate any open space to protect our guests.”
Change was also a factor for Vanity Fair, which hosts one of the most coveted Oscar-night events in town. Most noticeably, the magazine's post-ceremony party moved from its home in recent years, the Sunset Tower Hotel, down Sunset Boulevard to a larger space—a glass structure in a parking lot behind tourist-friendly restaurants such as Chin Chin. According to The New York Times, guests were admitted in 30-minute time slots based on status; industry insiders speculated that new Condé Nast artistic director Anna Wintour intends to grow the party into a bigger and less relentlessly exclusive event à la New York's Costume Institute gala. Regardless, the event was the dramatic culmination of the title's Oscar week events, known as “Campaign Hollywood,” which this year added to the lineup a new so-called “social club” space, with events and resources for digital media types in town for the big show.
Sunday night's biggest bash was, of course, the academy's own Governors Ball. After the winners—including 12 Years a Slave for best picture—accepted honors revealed in specially designed gold envelopes by Marc Friedland, the majority of the A-listers moved upstairs at Hollywood & Highland to the event, produced and designed once again by Cheryl Cecchetto of Sequoia Productions with ball chair Jeffrey Kurland. This year's event got a look evocative of an elegant parklike setting, with massive vertical garden walls from Mark’s Garden and a starry ceiling designed by Larry Oberman. (The production team called the program, aptly, “stars under the stars.”)
Here's a closer look at the design, catering, and entertainment from these parties and more—including blowouts from QVC, Essence magazine, and Variety—during a week of events rendered soggy, but not slowed down, by rainstorms.