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Oscar Weekend

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood February 23, 2008 at 7:14AM

It started on Thursday night, with the first round of parties. Due to the driving rain, New York-based IHOP PR chief Jeff Hill hosted his annual indie-confab inside the Avalon Hotel bar, rather than poolside. Sony Pictures Classics co-prexies Tom Bernard and Michael Barker, SKE marketing guru Bingham Ray, MPRM's Mark Pogachefsky, Michael Clayton Oscar-campaigner Michele Robertson and a good crowd relaxed in advance of their Oscar weekend labors.
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It started on Thursday night, with the first round of parties. Due to the driving rain, New York-based IHOP PR chief Jeff Hill hosted his annual indie-confab inside the Avalon Hotel bar, rather than poolside. Sony Pictures Classics co-prexies Tom Bernard and Michael Barker, SKE marketing guru Bingham Ray, MPRM's Mark Pogachefsky, Michael Clayton Oscar-campaigner Michele Robertson and a good crowd relaxed in advance of their Oscar weekend labors.

Oddly, Paramount Vantage and Fox Searchlight hosted pre-Oscar celebrations at the same weeks-old restaurant, STK on La Cienega. They couldn't have been more different. The Vantage party Thursday night was packed with 500-odd souls, chowing down on a buffet dinner and jostling to pay their respects to Paramount's John Lesher and Nick Meyer and There Will Be Blood Oscar nominees Daniel Day Lewis and Paul Thomas Anderson. PTA seemed in good spirits and told me he's been getting through this pre-Oscar craziness by focusing on finishing the extras on the There Will Be Blood DVD. He wasn't so pleased when the NYT's David Carr, aka The Carpetbagger, admitted that TWBB wasn't his favorite Oscar movie:

Mr. Anderson laughed for a while. And then he laughed a bunch more.

“You know you don’t know a thing about movies,” he said.

(David Carr confirms that there was a "f**king" in there. But the NYT frowns on such language.)

By contrast, Friday night's TSC Fox Searchlight affair was an intimate sit-down dinner party. Jason Reitman introduced me to Juno's on-screen Dad, J.K. Simmons. Ellen Page really is a diminutive waif. Diablo Cody was wearing a faux leopard-skin coat. Searchlight prexy Peter Rice whooped it up with The Savages writer-director Tamara Jenkins and writer hubby Jim Taylor (Sideways).

WMA's Cassian Elwes didn't go to Ari Emanuel's party Thursday night; his wife went instead. Instead he had a blast at Salma Hayek and pal Penelope Cruz's black-tie Night of Elysium party for about 200 at the Beverly Hills Hotel on a 40s theme, complete with a domino contest. Charlize Theron won.

I must take off to the Spirits and beyond. Will report and blog when able.

[Originally appeared on Variety.com]

This article is related to: On the Town, Awards, Oscars


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.