Oscar after-parties flash global glitter
HOLLYWOOD -- The glitzy, global spirit of Hollywood raged into the wee hours after the Oscars, with parties around town feting everyone from British best actress winner Kate Winslet down to the youngest "Slumdog Millionaire" star, drinking caffeine to keep up his strength.
Ayush Mahesh Khedekar, only 8, slurped on a can of Coca-Cola at Fox Searchlight's packed after-party Sunday night at ONE Sunset in West Hollywood honoring "The Wrestler" and "Slumdog Millionaire." Filmed in the slums of Mumbai, "Slumdog" snagged eight Oscars, including best picture and director.
Ayush, who lives in India and plays the youngest version of the movie's protagonist Jamal, sat on a sofa at the club, nursing his soda after midnight.
"Very excited," said Ayush, when asked about the wins. "It's unbelievable. I never thought I would get an Oscar. Daniel (director Danny Boyle) told us, 'If you work hard, the Oscar will come to you.' And it came."
As for being tired?
"No, that's why I'm drinking this," he added.
Madhur Mittal, who plays the character Salim in the film, held a drink as throngs of women passed by offering their congratulations. Guests, including Serena Williams, nibbled on red velvet cupcakes and sipped on cocktails including "The Slumdog," a mix of vodka, raspberries and lime garnished with a lollipop - far from the modest fare depicted in the film.
"It feels unreal. This is the best day of my life, man," said Mittal. "I come from India and I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be at the Oscars, much less be part of the movie that sweeps the Oscars."
Despite economic woes, myriad parties had all the glam and celebrity fraternizing of past soirees, though guest lists were substantially slashed and simple comfort food reigned.
Jennifer Love Hewitt hosted AIDS Project Los Angeles' annual bash at The Abbey, and Chevy Chase, Laura Dern and other famous faces flocked to the Night of 100 Stars gala at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Lindsay Lohan joined her DJ girlfriend Samantha Ronson, who spun at the Mercedes-Benz after-party at the Montage Beverly Hills.
Best actor winner Sean Penn and nominees Taraji P. Henson, Marisa Tomei, Amy Adams and Anne Hathaway were just a few of the stars who made the Governors Ball at the Kodak Theatre their first post-Oscars stop.
Guests nibbled on lobster and shrimp and three-level dessert boxes topped with chocolate Oscars. Penn, his co-star Emile Hirsch and "Twilight" hottie Robert Pattinson were among those who enjoyed the outdoor smoking lounge, a recessed area topped with a dozen overturned parasols.
The Asian-themed affair featured bonsai trees inlaid in the tables and images of bamboo leaves projected on the walls. There was also a chocolate-and-champagne fountain to entertain guests on the back patio.
Blocks away from Fox Searchlight, Vanity Fair's revived Oscar party was all about A-list camaraderie.
The annual celebrity-stuffed bash, canceled last year before the end of the Hollywood writers' strike, roared back into style, with Oscar winners literally rubbing shoulders at the hilltop Sunset Tower Hotel, a new venue for the party after years at the restaurant Morton's. A tented area outside had a stunning view of Los Angeles.
At 11:30 p.m., Winslet swept in. Clutching her Oscar trophy for "The Reader" in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other, she grinned and hugged admirers left and right.
"Great Britannia," said Anthony Hopkins, bearhugging the actress.
"Oh my God!" yelled Winslet back to the Oscar-winning actor, later adding, "I was actually very calm ... I got so many text messages."
The party's exclusive, pared down guest list meant that only the cream of Hollywood showed up, from Jennifer Aniston snuggling next to her boyfriend John Mayer, to Halle Berry drinking champagne on a couch and shaking hands with Russell Simmons.
Best supporting actress winner Penelope Cruz happily munched on a brownie, later hugging Tilda Swinton. Amy Adams laughed in a tight cluster with Uma Thurman, Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon.
Other guests included Robert De Niro, Tina Fey and Josh Brolin. Attendees feasted on more working-class offerings like bagel, egg and bacon sandwiches and In-N-Out burgers.
Nearby, Elton John's annual viewing dinner and after-party at the Pacific Design Center's tented courtyard was another glamorous affair, complete with a five-course menu, including risotto, black sea bass, pear compote and puffed chocolate tartlet.
Dressed in black, wearing strands of Chopard diamonds, John greeted tables of guests, including Simon Cowell and Sharon Stone. Chace Crawford was seated across the room from his amiable ex, Carrie Underwood, who glittered in a silvery dress.
"People are going through tremendous hardship," John told his guests before the night's big auction for his Elton John AIDS Foundation. "In this time of hardship, we are going to raise as much money as we possibly can."
That he did, with $4 million, according to the party's publicist. A stay in Normandy, France, was auctioned off for $80,000.
John later joined musical guest Raphael Saadiq onstage, garnering cheers for a version of John's "Benny and the Jets."
Across town, in Hollywood, Prince ended the night on his own rock 'n' roll musical note, taking the stage at his last-minute Oscar after-party at the Avalon club at 1:45 a.m.
Wearing black sunglasses, and waltzing onto the stage twirling a gleaming silver cane, Prince noodled on his guitar to whoops and hollers from the audience, which included nominee Henson.
"This is what we do at house parties. I'm the DJ tonight," he said.
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