Forget shopping; for celebrities, December meant aggressive party hopping, with 12—count ‘em, 12—premieres in 16 days. The galas included first peeks at some of 1997’s most anticipated films, including As Good as It Gets, Amistad, Jackie Brown, and Titanic.
In short, ‘twas the season to par-tay. Here, some memorable moments:
Most unexpected guest: After a lifetime of dissing the West Coast, groom-to-be Woody Allen stunned partygoers by treading on L.A. soil for the Dec. 5 premiere of Deconstructing Harry. Second-hottest topic of the evening: the torrential rain. ”I wore a hat,” declared Fran Drescher. ”It keeps the Jewish hair from frizzing.” Balding Manhattanite Allen, however, was thrilled with the dreary conditions. ”It couldn’t be better,” he gushed. ”I am so lucky.”
Fare faux pas: At the Dec. 15 fete for Martin Scorsese’s Kundun, guests somberly waxed philosophical about China’s brutal occupation of Tibet (”It’s a beautiful, sacred place we should protect,” said Kelly Lynch) while munching Chinese hors d’oeuvres. Pot sticker, anyone?
Biggest horror show: Overbooking caused a killer bottleneck at the Dec. 10 Scream 2 soiree at Mann’s Chinese Theater. ”It was insane,” said Screamer Sarah Michelle Gellar. ”The [fire marshal] closed it off. Tori Spelling, Jerry O’Connell, and I couldn’t get in.” One guest resorted to name-dropping. ”I’m Neve’s mother,” shouted one woman, referring to the film’s star Neve Campbell, ”and I will not tolerate this.” (She got in.)
Best stocking stuffers: the special Swatch watch given out at the Dec. 11 showing for Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown. First runner-up: lip gloss, a giveaway at the premieres of Scream 2 and Dec. 16’s Tomorrow Never Dies. Just in time to kiss the holidays goodbye.
(Additional reporting by Zorianna Kit and Jessica Shaw)