On Saturday night in Los Angeles, the studios and networks held their own parties around town to honor their Oscar nominees. Since Sunday is the big night, Friday and Saturday become the lone opportunity to get everyone’s attention, and Saturday was so crowded with Oscar parties that you couldn’t attend them all, unless you wanted to spend most of the night in West Hollywood traffic.
Miramax and Disney co-hosted a laid-back soiree at the new London Hotel, celebrating nominated films such as Doubt, Happy-Go-Lucky, and Wall-E. The nominated Doubt cast hung out by the rooftop pool, with Philip Seymour Hoffman having hurried over from the Independent Spirit Awards across town, where he was a presenter. There was no sign of Wall-E, but I kept looking for something, a toy version, anything. There was no Wall-E, but there was Mike-Leigh, another diminutive nominee (for Best Original Screenplay) with a two-syllable name.
For a steady portion of my time at the party, I engaged with a group of online reporters, namely Eugene Hernandez (indieWIRE), David Poland (Movie City News), and Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood). And, we all discussed our last-minute predictions for the Oscars. The coolest moment of perhaps the whole day was when my fellow partygoers and I hopped into the elevator to make our exit, and were joined by rock icon Peter Gabriel. Gabriel is nominated for his Wall-E song, “Down To Earth,” his first Oscar nomination. I totally embarrassed myself, and didn’t care, when I told him on the way down to earth that I was a huge fan. He was nice about it.
After Miramax, we made our way to the HBO party at the nearby Sofitel Hotel. It was a raucous and fun event, with most of the documentary crowd enjoying cocktails and tasty food (most of us never had a chance to eat a proper dinner with such a busy day). I got to spend some time hanging with PJ Raval, Austin pal and Trouble the Water cinematographer. In a geeky moment, PJ showed me his ticket to the Oscar ceremony, and I kept trying to steal it from him. Otherwise, I got to catch up with folks like Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock, Sundance’s Caroline Libresco, The Betrayal co-producer Chiemi Karasawa, The Garden director Scott Hamilton Kennedy, Hollywood Reporter writer Steve Zeitchick, producer’s rep David Garber (who is handling doc nominee The Garden), and many more. It was a great final lap during an altogether exhausting and enjoyable day of Indiewood and Hollywood.