THE GOVERNORS BALL
SHRINE EXPOSITION HALL
An oasis of food and drink after the arid four-hour-plus telecast.
On location Hobnobbing with the nominees (Julianne Moore, Tom Cruise, Paul Thomas Anderson, and others) were Robin Williams, San Francisco mayor Willie Brown, and Austin Powers costars Mike Myers and Heather Graham.
What a difference a trophy makesWhen Best Actor Kevin Spacey twirled date Dianne Dreyer across the floor, he was overcome by photographers. When six-foot-five-inch losing nominee Michael Clarke Duncan got up to boogie just a few feet away, nary a flashbulb fired.
Burying the hatchet?DreamWorks honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg denied a feud with Miramax, saying ''I called Harvey [Weinstein] today and wished him well tonight.'' Sure, there's no feud when you win.
'VANITY FAIR' FETE
On location No matter where they started, everyone ended up here: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz...and we haven't even gotten to the E's.
Finally, he smiles Stoic, simmering, smoldering Insider star Russell Crowe appeared to liven up while talking to Courtney Love over drinks.
Food of the gods Went quickly. But as Jennifer Tilly observed, ''Who could eat?''
But wasn't Rounders last year? Matt Damon arrived after watching the telecast at Affleck's house, where they made wagers on the outcome. ''I came out on top about $100,'' says Damon. ''But if you talk to [Ben], he'll tell you he came out on top. He's full of s---.''
ELTON JOHN 'IN STYLE' PARTY
8800 MELROSE AVENUE
Think Godfather 4: At this AIDS benefit, Elton stayed cordoned off in a VIP area greeting guests.
On location Last-minute arrivals by Robin Williams, Haley Joel Osment, and Time Warner chairman Gerald Levin redeemed a roster that had topped out with Laurence Fishburne and...oh, dear...Steven Seagal.
Saved by the boy Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson enraged a bouncer by lifting the velvet rope surrounding Elton to let in Tiffani-Amber Thiessen.
Revenge of the nerds On-deck partiers outside cheered as the Matrix winners drove up waving their Oscars. But the roar died down when it turned out the F/X guys were headed to the Vanity Fair party across the street.
Prize fight The Oscar race was nothing compared with the vying for the In Style gift bags containing more than $800 worth of stuff, from perfume to chocolate.
THE MIRAMAX AFFAIR
THE POLO LOUNGE
The harder they fall. Without Best Picture bragging rights, the studio's bash was so muted that Patrick Swayze was the life of the party.
On location Michael Caine and John Irving came to wave trophies, but members of the Miramax posse came either late (Charlize Theron, Tobey Maguire) or not at all (Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Affleck). Et tu, actors?
At the concession stand Sushi and prime rib. No cider.
Cheer up, hockey pucks! Quentin Tarantino, Harvey Keitel, and Malcolm McDowell were in hysterics while Don Rickles treated them to a round of abuse. After the heckling, Tarantino deadpanned, ''We can all go home now.''
THE DREAMWORKS BASH
SPAGO BEVERLY HILLS
A far cry from last year's mope-fest after the Saving Private Ryan robbery. This year the triumphant hosts (Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and Katzenberg) were more ecstatic than a Benigni/Almodovar love child.
On location The cast and crew of AB, including Spacey, Sam Mendes, and screenwriter Alan Ball, which ensured a nearly one-to-one guest-to-trophy ratio. But few non-Americans flagged the event.
Petal pushers Decorators used 10,000 roses to festoon the ceiling and tables.
Was Martha Stewart on the planning committee? Guests lined up to bag their own rose potpourri, make-your-own rose necklaces, and get henna tattoos.
The 'I' network Enormous TVs replayed a loop of all the Beauty acceptance speeches. We're guessing the Miramax fete didn't get that channel.