At 11:30 p.m., Daniel Kwan was ready for a late dinner. The movie that he co-directed — “Everything Everywhere All At Once” — had swept the 95th annual Academy Awards, winning a historic seven statues, including best picture and best director. But he hadn’t had a bite to eat in hours. So at Vanity Fair’s annual Oscars party, he grabbed an In-N-Out burger from a tray to refuel.
But before he could dig in, he was greeted by one of his many fans — named Steven Spielberg. The man who saw his cinematic memoir, “The Fabelmans,” get crushed by the Daniels (as Kwan and his collaborator Daniel Scheinert are called) didn’t seem the least bit upset.
Instead, Spielberg animatedly spoke to Kwan for a long time, beyond the normal length of chitchat at an Oscar afterparty. Was Spielberg giving him advice? Expressing his admiration? Talking about butt plugs (a key plot device in “Everything Everywhere”)? It was too loud to tell, but Kwan nodded and smiled, as he held the uneaten burger — the melted cheese turning gooey — in his hand.
This was an Oscars year that marked the changing of the guard, and the cast of A24 indie film that became a pop culture juggernaut were some of the most popular stars at Vanity Fair, hosted by the magazine’s editor in chief Radhika Jones. The glitzy celebration is always the last hurrah for everyone in Hollywood — from David Zaslav to Donna Langley to the Rock — to say good riddance to awards season.
Michelle Yeoh, fresh off her historic Oscar win as the first Asian woman to win best actress, was surrounded by a mosh pit of groupies. After taking photographs on the 125-foot-long carpet, she hit the dance floor and shook her statue to the ‘90s banger “Jump Around.” Ke Huy Quan, the best supporting actor winner and awards darling, excitedly chatted with guests (and made a point of telling us that he read Variety online every morning).
By 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, the line to get inside the event at the Wallis Annenberg Center was overflowing with so many VIPs that one member of Cara Delevingne’s entourage had to breathlessly part ways with her because he couldn’t get in. Two Pauls (Mescal and Dano) waited feet away from Ariana DeBose to walk the blue carpet at the entrance — a catwalk packed with photographers and press (also on the final leg of a never-ending Oscar journey).
Yes, Mescal was a hot commodity in the room as one of the breakout stars of the season with his performance in “Aftersun.” Inside, he hung out with Austin Butler and Laverne Cox, and a little later, Billie Eilish. Andrew Garfield parked himself by the bar and exchanged pleasantries with Elizabeth Olsen. Sharon Stone, who donned a dress with a yellow cape, found herself in the middle of a friendly exchange with two very hot — we mean that in terms of career success, of course — TV stars: Pedro Pascal and Brett Goldstein.
It’s hard to imagine a better spot to people-watch. Tony-winning playwright Jeremy O. Harris was looking for a lighter. Ronan Farrow wore a sparkling top under his jacket. Hugh Grant chatted with his “Dungeons & Dragons” co-star Rege-Jean Page. Cate Blanchett erupted in laughter at a joke from Sarah Paulson and later mingled with Ava DuVernay. J. Smith Cameron of “Succession” took a solo selfie seated at the party — sans entourage. Zachary Levi pulled up his tux trousers as he chatted with James Corden. Alan Cumming escaped from the bar with two glasses of white wine… and a water, for good measure. Joe Jonas was spotted texting outside the men’s bathroom.
At 2 a.m., Jimmy Kimmel was ready to call it a night. But not even an Oscar host can make a quick escape in Hollywood. As he waited by the curb, he was on the phone, giving a driver directions on where to pick him up.