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NEW YORK While Julia, Russell and Benicio were carrying on in Los Angeles, the New York events committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held its own glamorous Oscar night celebration at Le Cirque 2000. This is the second year Le Cirque has hosted the event (following previous venues like the Russian Tea Room and 21 Club), and owner Sirio Maccioni clearly went all out.
Maccioni personally watched over the event, mingling with the Academy members and their guests. The 120 attendees included actresses Arlene Dahl, vice-chair of the committee and organizer of the evening, Celeste Holm and Sheila MacRae, plus movie historian Robert Osborne.
One highlight of the cocktail party, held in the restaurant's library room, was a lavish raw bar, with oysters, shrimp and spectacular ice sculptures (by Ice Sculpture Design) of an Oscar statuette and a scroll with the names of the five movies nominated for best picture. Equally spectacular was a tall chocolate replica of a movie camera by Le Cirque pastry chef Iacopo Faloi. Hors d'oeuvres included terrine of foie gras on brioche, Asian tuna roll, sesame chicken and lamb satay.
A sit-down dinner and Oscars program screening--both exclusively for academy members and their guests--were later held in the L'Orangerie, where the tasteful d?cor overseen by Dahl was inspired by top-rated flicks Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Gladiator. Tables were covered in mandarin-orange iridescent taffeta, while white napkins were tied with gold, tassled cords. Centerpieces, by L'Olivier Floral Atelier, were a knockout: orange roses festooned with red and green grapes, with an Asian touch of papyrus and tropical, folded green leaves. Other accents were gold Roman coins (actually chocolate) and small, gold glass bowls containing flickering candles.
The all-important audio-visual set-up--three large screens, two small monitors and a cable feed of the Oscar broadcast--was provided by RMS and Dolby Laboratories Inc.
The menu featured Oscar-themed food specially created for the evening and prepared by Le Cirque executive chef Pierre Schaedelin and Faloi. Courses included a seafood salad named after Crouching Tiger; roasted filet of “Maximus” beef a la Gladiator with overstuffed tomatoes inspired by Erin Brockovich's curvy title character; Chocolat cassolette panna cotta; and a surprisingly un-P.C. delicacy based on the drugged-out scenes in Traffic: a chocolate straw served with a line of powdered sugar.
--Jane L. Levere
See the desserts from this event...