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With the Vanity Fair party out, the Governor’s Ball, normally just a stop-over for winners and presenters, was way more packed than usual after Sunday’s Academy Awards, and so getting in was more difficult. Spike Lee and Wesley Snipes found this out the hard way when they went up to the security guards without a ticket and spent nearly 20 minutes trying to find a way in. “Mr. Jones, if you just wait a minute, we’ll take care of you,” a publicist told the director. “I’m not Spike Jonze,” he said. “I’m Spike Lee.” This didn’t do him much good, as 10 minutes later, he was formally denied entrance. Then when he tried to sit on a bench and make a phone call, a security guard told him to take a hike. “What do you think I am, a terrorist? Bin Laden?” he said. Of course, one wonders whether Lee might have had an easier time if he were a renowned white director. “This is all gonna change when [Barack] Obama gets elected president,” he said with a laugh, riding down to the lobby in the elevator with the hoi polloi. “Vote for Obama and we’ll all get into the Governor’s Ball.”
Across town, Elton John held his 16th annual Academy Award viewing party, sponsored by Chopard and benefiting his Elton John AIDS Foundation. Sharon Stone showed up to the Pacific Design Center to schmooze with Simon Cowell, Minnie Driver fueled pregnancy rumors with an Empire-waist gown, and John hugged or politely planted a kiss on the forehead of nearly every attendee.
Sean Penn loudly predicted that Daniel Day-Lewis would win best actor before the Englishman claimed the prize. And best actress Marion Cotillard, who stopped by post-ceremony with Oscar in tow, received the loudest applause of the evening — of course much of it was coming from the Chopard table (the jeweler has dressed five female Oscar winners in a row).
Cotillard was one of the few actresses this year in even slightly fashiony frocks, in part because everyone is so terrified of winding up on a worst dressed list. “Stylists have ruined everything,” said John Waters, who watched the broadcast from a table nearby. “Nobody wants to be Björk. I love Björk. We need Björk.”
Later, Stone and Jamie Niven called a bawdy auction that raised over $5 million and John sang duets with Mary J. Blige and Jake Shears, who was wearing a lime green corduroy Marc Jacobs suit. “Ladies always get to have all the fun,” Shears said. “For me, black tie means dress the opposite of everyone else in the room. I want to feel as unique as any woman walking around in a gown.”
Calista Flockhart and Harrison Ford headed home around midnight, while across town, the Miramax bash was still going strong, high on the four wins for its film “No Country for Old Men”: including best picture, best supporting actor (Javier Bardem), and best director and best adapted screenplay (Joel and Ethan Coen). Ethan Coen had no idea where he was going to store his little gold man, but he won’t be giving it away like Tilda Swinton said she would in her acceptance speech. “We’ll find a place for it,” he said.
Nearby, Bardem and Penélope Cruz were dancing to Blondie, and Diane Lane was bobbing up and down on her husband Josh Brolin’s lap. “My buttons are bursting for him,” she said.
Where were she and Brolin headed to next? “I’m not sure,” she said, which could have meant Madonna’s party at Guy Oseary’s house or Prince’s late-night bash. “I’m up for anything. We got a babysitter.”