Oscar Week: Vanity Fair's Back, Mercedes Moves to Montage, Governors Ball Tones Down, Suites Abound

By Alesandra Dubin February 18, 2009, 11:17 AM EST

The 2008 Governors Ball featured a splashier look than this year's planned Zen theme.

Photo: Nadine Froger Photography

The catastrophic state of the economy hardly bears repeating here—except to say that it hasn't done much to diminish the sheer number of Academy Awards-related event offerings on this week's calendar, even if it has affected those events' budgets. From an array of suites to Vanity Fair's apparently triumphant return, many guests' dance cards—even in this recession—are completely full.

The plethora of gift and hospitality suites around town include GBK’s “Circus of the Senses” at the SLS Hotel on Friday and Saturday. The event will give 20 percent of its proceeds to four charitable organizations. Melanie Segal’s “Be the Change” Oscar lounge, presented by Sensé Beautiful Science, will take to the Pali House on Thursday and Friday. Silver Spoon’s suite today and tomorrow benefiting the Chrysalis organization offers spa treatments, caviar tasting, and gifts. Stuart Weitzman's Oscar styling suite kicked off yesterday at the London West Hollywood hotel, and runs through Saturday with beauty treatments and a chance to peek at the shoe designer's 2009 red-carpet collection.

Haven takes over a private Trousdale residence above Beverly Hills today through Friday, featuring spa services and gifting by day, plus nighttime events, including an event tonight for the 25th anniversary of WrestleMania featuring an airbrush tattoo studio and photo studio where guests can take pictures with WWE championship belts.

On Thursday afternoon, Essence magazine will host its second annual Black Women in Hollywood luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Thursday. Lexus is the presenting sponsor. And later that evening, the sixth annual Global Green U.S.A. pre-Oscar party will take to the Avalon Hollywood with performances by Sheryl Crow and Gavin Rossdale, plus Black Cowboy. Cohosts include Leonardo DiCaprio, Orlando Bloom, Penelope Cruz, and Rosario Dawson.

Also Thursday, the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening relationships between the two countries, will honor Brendan Gleeson, Hylda Queally, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers at its Oscar Wilde awards. Irish musicians Laura Izibor, Gemma Hayes, and Republic of Loose will perform, and Dana Delany and Kate Winslet will present.

On Friday evening, Montblanc will host an event for about 300 occupying an entire soundstage, Stage 16, at Paramount, with production by Delphi Productions. High-profile brand ambassadors will be in attendance and will sign portraits of themselves for a silent auction to benefit Unicef. On Saturday, hosts Rober Valleta, Amber Valleta, and Mark Wahlberg will launch the Tag the World nonprofit at the new nightclub MyHouse.

On Sunday night—the night the Academy Awards are presented at the Kodak Theatre—a glut of events will blanket town. SBE Entertainment and the Abbey will present their annual “The Envelope Please” cocktail reception and viewing party for about 300. Proceeds from the evening will benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles, and Jennifer Love Hewitt will host for the fifth year in a row.

Leeza Gibbons and Olivia Newton-John will team up with David Foster for the first Night to Make a Difference at Mr. Chow, a viewing dinner and after-party benefiting the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation and Oliva Newton-John’s Cancer and Wellness Centre. Ken Paves will host red-carpet arrivals as a correspondent for the event, which will feature a 10-course meal by Mr. Chow, and performances by musical guests including Newton-John, Foster, and DJ Steve Aoki.

Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, 95.3 the Beat, and Children Uniting Nations will present the 10th annual dinner and after-party at the Beverly Hilton.

Vanity Fair will take its Oscar-night party to the Sunset Tower hotel this year, after last year's cancellation. (The magazine has a host of other events planned this week, which it's dubbing “Campaign Hollywood." These include the launch of a BMW art car at Lacma, a Dior-sponsored silent auction and launch party for the Paul Haggis-founded artist charity Brandaid, and a test-drive of the new BMW 7 Series beginning at Griffith Observatory and ending with lunch at the John Lautner-designed home, according to Women's Wear Daily.)

Mercedes-Benz will take its annual party to the new Montage Beverly Hills this year, after having hosted it at the Four Seasons prior. The evening will include a viewing party in the Spanish-inspired ballroom, where guests are invited to watch the telecast. Following the viewing, DJ Samantha Ronson will spin for a lounge-style after-party.

Sir Elton John will perform with Raphael Saadiq at the 17th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Party at the Pacific Design Center, with proceeds benefiting the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Cosponsors include Chopard, Jo and Raffy Manoukian, and VH1.

The 19th annual Night of 100 Stars 
gala will take to the Beverly Hills Hotel’s Crystal Ballroom. Veteran agent Norby Walters will reprise his role as producer and dinner chairman.

Finally, as we've reported extensively, the Governors Ball will take over the grand ballroom at Hollywood & Highland with a more-understated-than-usual Zen look, and an exhaustive spread from Wolfgang Puck.

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