Thursday, April 25, 2024

Oscar Week Parties: Mahershala at Spago, Glenn Close, Others Hit Women in Film, “Megan Draper” at Cadillac, Kenneth Branagh at Lunch, Jamie Lee Curtis Still Hates Journalists


The Oscar week of parties has been a little…weak, let’s say…

The best party came Wednesday night at Spago for Universal Pictures and Focus Features, which meant great food and a lot of enthusiasm for “Green Book” and “Blackkklansman.” Mahershala Ali and Linda Cardellini represented the actors, Ron Meyers and Donna Langley were the gracious hosts, and he vibe was very Oscar positive. Universal had the calmest Oscar season over all even if “First Man” didn’t come off as I expected. “Green Book” is a lot of people’s favorite movie. It was great to see composer Kris Bowers and his fiancee, actress Briana Nicole Henry from “General Hospital.” No sign of Spike Lee, but it was early yet in the week and most New Yorkers were warmer staying home than coming to frigid Hollywood!

Last night, the focus was on Women in Film, in Hollywood, which honored costume designer Sandy Powell and all the female acting nominees starting with Glenn Close. Other guests included Regina King, Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Angela Bassett, Eva Longoria and José Bastón, Rita Ora, Felicity Huffman, Kate BosworthConnie Britton, Lake Bell, Alexandra Shipp, Jaime King, Rumer Willis, KiKi Layne, Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder, Justin Baldoni and Emily Baldoni, Madelaine Petsch, and Ashley Madekwe. 

Again, it was like Ice Station Zebra outside.  Nia Vardalos and I waited by a heat lamp for the valets, and powerhouse PR Lisa Taback nearly got icicles while her vehicle went missing for 45 minutes.

Still, Women in Film is growing bigger by the minute, and the numbers of ladies now making films is burgeoning. Oscar winning producer Cathy Schulman noted all of this in her opening remarks…

Earlier, Friday, came the ICG Publicists Lunch, which gave awards to the Warner Bros. publicists for “Crazy Rich Asians” and the PR team for Stephen Colbert. My favorite part of the lunch was Rogers & Cowan chief Alan Nierob saluting our dear departed friend Paul Bloch.

Jamie Lee Curtis spoke. The best part of her remarks was a toast to everyone’s favorite PMK publicist, Heidi Schaeffer. I’ve known Heidi for 200 years and there’s no one better. JLC noted that Heidi even got engaged to her husband at JLC’s wedding to Christopher Guest. JLC is a strange combo of contradictions. She noted that as a child of Hollywood she knows it’s all a ‘game’ and that actors must do their publicity. But she’s always been hostile to journalists, and reminded the audience that press and actors are basically enemies. I thought this funny coming from the daughter of the actor– Tony Curtis– who so famously played Sidney Falco in “The Sweet Smell of Success.” John Springer used to tell me stories about dealing with her crazy parents when they got married (her mother was Janet Leigh)…later, at the Beverly Hilton valet line, I chatted with Kate Linder, who’s been on the “Young and the Restless” for 52 years (just kidding), looks great and is always a cheerleader for her character, Esther, a warm presence in the cold machinations on TV Land…

Meantime, over at the Grill on the Alley, there was real lunch, like actual food and we ran into Kenneth Branagh, an actual star, dining with his agent, the great Robert Newman, and other pals.

And yes, the agencies had their little parties where they show the actors how well the agents have lived off their commissions. “Bohemian Rhapsody” rhapsodized at Cecconi’s. Someone threw a lunch for this one or that one. And everyone yapped about Vanity Fair’s takedown by the New York Times.

And please, someone turn the heat up or the air conditioning off. Hollywood is a cold enough place. It’s even more unpleasant in inclement weather!



Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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