- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Oscar’s melting pot

A global mix of Oscar winners, international stars, hip-hop royalty and politicos united under one language at this year’s Academy Awards parties: glamour.

From Vanity Fair’s celebrity-packed after-party to Elton John’s annual Oscar viewing bash, Sunday night’s Hollywood festivities were as diverse as they were glitzy, Associated Press reports.

Best supporting actress winner Jennifer Hudson, wearing a snug gold beaded gown, attended Vanity Fair’s party at Morton’s just before 1 a.m., thrusting her trophy for “Dreamgirls” into the air. “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell, waxed poetic on the “Idol” castoff-turned-Oscar-winner. “I feel like her foster parent,” he said, beaming about the woman he once berated before millions of “Idol” viewers.

At the same time, best actor winner Forest Whitaker entered the bash trailed by a long line of fans and well-wishers. Long-overdue Oscar winner Martin Scorsese clutched his best director’s trophy for “The Departed” amid heaps of praises and hugs. A few feet away, his “Departed” star and best actor nominee Leonardo DiCaprio wolfed down veggie egg rolls.

Accents and myriad languages swirled around the massive restaurant.

Mexican actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna chatted in Spanish next to Mr. Bernal’s one-time paramour Natalie Portman and Spanish starlet and best actress nominee Penelope Cruz. British actor Sacha Baron Cohen, sans his “Borat” threads and wearing a snazzy tux, joked with fellow Brit Orlando Bloom, and danced to Gnarls Barkley’s hip-hop hit “Crazy.” Even former supermodel rivals Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks laughed together, towering over everyone else in their dazzling dresses.

Former Vice President Al Gore, on hand to celebrate his documentary win for “An Inconvenient Truth,” was a party favorite as he made the rounds. Earlier in the night, at Mr. John’s 15th annual Oscar viewing party to benefit the Elton John Aids Foundation, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Sheryl Crow, Gloria Estefan and Eve ate risotto, filet mignon and chocolate pudding on plates resting on mirrored tabletops.

The party raised $4.2 million for Mr. John’s foundation, due in large part to Sharon Stone.

The actress, unsteady on her feet and slurring her words, helped out onstage with the night’s mega auction of prizes.

On Saturday, Vibe magazine’s pre-Oscar bash — hosted by 2003 Oscar-nominee Queen Latifah at West Hollywood’s Republic restaurant — added to the party pack’s diverse, fun-loving vibe.

Even Sunday night’s traditional Governors Ball following the Oscars got a new, savvy look. Instead of the usual rows of tables, the rooftop ballroom was filled with chairs and divans. Gone were chef Wolfgang Puck’s suppers served by waiters. Guests could fill their plates with delicacies at buffets stationed around room.

“I think it works,” Clint Eastwood said.

Local Oscar tie

The Arlington-based Friends of Cancer Research, a nonprofit organization headed by Ellen Sigal and Marlene Malek, was mentioned in Sunday night’s Oscar telecast during the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award presentation in which actor Tom Cruise introduced this year’s recipient, Friends board member and former Paramount Pictures Chief Executive Officer Sherry Lansing. Miss Lansing has been an active board member of Friends since its inception 10 years ago.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web, wire and staff reports.

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