LOS ANGELES Like the most popular kid in school, Vanity Fair’s Oscar party doesn’t have to try too hard to impress anyone. While the ultra-exclusive bash remains the most sought-after invite, the magazine’s planners have done little to change it from year to year, opting once again to keep to the familiar—and apparently winning—formula.
Outside of Morton's restaurant, as in years past, 150 guests found the now-traditional myrtle topiary marquee bearing the magazine’s name. (About 800 more A-listers arrived for the after-party.) During the ceremony, guests nibbled on a hearty menu prepared by Morton’s chef Lorenzo Roman, which included an endive and avocado salad with beets, steak with spinach and French fries, roasted chicken with caramelized brussels sprouts and parsnip puree, butternut squash risotto, and fruit sorbets served in tuille cups with berries. Once again, In-N-Out served burgers to late-arriving guests starving after the lengthy award ceremony.
Sara Marks, the magazine’s director of special projects, worked with her usual production team of New York-based Basil Walter Architects, Londoner Pete Barford, and lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe. The mostly white color scheme was clean and muted. Luxury items like custom-made Zippo lighters engraved with the magazine’s name sat on each table. (Haven’t guests from years past amassed enough engraved cigarette lighters?) Stenciled cookies also appeared again this year, bearing celeb images from the cover of the magazine’s Hollywood issue and from its noir-style photo feature.
There was one new twist: Throughout the night, Vanity Fair editors live-blogged the party and posted exclusive photos on “Little Gold Men,” the mag’s Oscars blog, giving the uninvited masses an insider’s peek at Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi working the room and Oprah partying with Beyoncé and Mary J. Blige. Deputy online editor Jessica Coen wrote, “When Aland Tipper Gore arrived, and you could hear a collective, admiring sigh from the crowd. Admittedly, it was hard for me not to hug him.”