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"I'm thrilled to be asked to host the Academy Awards for the second time because, as they say, the third time's a charm," Host Jon Stewart.


 

Hosted By: Jon Stewart

  

 
OSCAR PARTIES

Morton's

8764 Melrose Avenue (at Robertson)
West Hollywood, CA. / (310) 276-1253

Morton's is one of the leading hangouts for Hollywood agents, producers, and other such players. For a change, here's a place where agents rarely do "power lunches"... they do power dinners instead.

In addition to Oscar night, the hot night at Morton's is Monday, when the restaurant becomes a major scene.

The restaurant is owned by Peter Morton, the guy who gave us the worldwide chain of Hard Rock Cafes (including one at the nearby Beverly Center). It's a beautiful room, in tropical surroundings, at rather high prices (expect to pay about $85 for dinner for two, or about $45 for lunch).

But few people come for the food or the decor. They come for the scene, to make deals, and to spot celebrities. That can be difficult at dinnertime, when the lighting at Morton's is dim; lunch is brighter and star-gazing is easier.

It's difficult to imagine a more star-studded crowd than you'll find at Morton's on Oscar Night.

In 1994, when Spago closed on Oscar night of that year, in memory of the late Swifty Lazar, Morton's made a successful bid to replace Spago as the place to be on Academy Awards night. and the annual post-Oscar party moved to Morton's. It was a major success, and just about every star in town showed up, from Tom Cruise to Whitney Houston.

The Vanity Fair party at Morton's  

is now considered the hottest post-Oscar private party in town (although there are at least a dozen other such parties at various restaurants around Hollywood). 

Stars on hand for the 2001 Oscar party  

at Morton's included Best Actress winner Julia Roberts, Russell Crowe, Angelina Jolie & Billy Bob Thorton, Kevin Spacey, Tom Cruise, Ashley Judd, Warren Beatty & Annette Bening, Calista Flockhart, Jennifer Lopez, Puff Daddy, Elizabeth Hurley, Lara Flynn Boyle, Samuel L. Jackson, Rob Lowe, Pamela Anderson, David Geffen and so many more that there is talk now that Vanity Fair may actually try to cut back on the number of stars who are allowed inside.

Celebs who showed up at Morton's for the 2000 Oscar party

included many of the above, as well as Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Winona Ryder, Arnold Schwarzenegger & Maria Shriver, Michael Caine, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Elle Macpherson, Cher, James Woods, Minnie Driver, Courtney Love, Edward Norton, Jane Fonda, Phil Collins, Ron Howard, Regis Philbin, Joan Rivers, Angie Dickinson and director Sam Mendes.

The pre-Oscar party starts at 5 PM

then the restaurant gets its second, main wave of star arrivals after the Oscars show is over (at around 10 or 11 p.m.)  

The rest of the year, getting in can be a problem, especially on Monday, unless you're famous - so be sure to make a reservation. (Be warned: they don't care for tourists here.)  The preferred seats for those "in the know " are in the front room, just past the desk, and against the back wall.

Morton's is open for dinner Monday through Saturday, from 6:30 to 11 PM, and for lunch Monday through Friday. (Closed Sundays.) A jacket is required, and naturally it offers valet parking.

Getting there: From Rodeo Drive, turn east on Santa Monica Boulevard and follow it northeast (a little over a mile) to Melrose Avenue. Bear right (east) on Melrose, and go three blocks east to Robertson. The restaurant will be on your right (south) side.  

 

SPAGO'S

Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, California

In 1998, Sir Elton John moved his star-studded post-Oscar party from Maple Drive to Spago, Beverly Hills.

This spot was Nancy Reagan's favorite restaurant, back when it was the Bistro Garden. But then celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck purchased the property. For a while, there were rumors that Puck was going to move his fabled Spago from its longtime home above the Sunset Strip to his new posh digs. But in the end, he decided to have it both ways. He kept his original Spago open in West Hollywood (re-naming it Spago Hollywood), and opened Spago Beverly Hills in this beautiful space in April of 1997, investing some $4 million in the process.

As you might expect, the new Spago was an immediate sensation, jammed with Hollywood stars from day one. Reservations were being taken a month in advance. In November of '97, the President of the United States, Bill Clinton showed up at the new Spago to host a benefit for the "Rock the Vote" effort. The celebs in attendance included Tom Hanks, Kevin Spacey, Lou Diamond Phillips, Graham Nash, Don Henley, Michael Bolton, and several studio leaders.

This is an invitation-only event (dinner guests pay $1,000 each), and the only charity event on Oscar Night to raise money for an organization that is seeking a cure for AIDS.

That year's guests included "Titanic" director James Cameron and Linda Hamilton, Michael Douglas, Arnold Schwarzenegger & Maria Shriver, Sharon Stone, Jon Bon Jovi, Faye Dunaway, Matt Damon, Minnie Driver ("Good Will Hunting"), Robin Williams, Kim Basinger & Alec Baldwin, Sandra Bullock, Pam Grier, Fran Drescher, Natalie Cole, Jay Leno, and many more, including Elton himself (who gets there at 4 p.m., and doesn't leave until 2 p.m.).

In 1998, they shut down two lanes of Canon Drive for the big night, and erected a giant tent on the street, as Spago hosted the arriving stars. (But since then, Elton has moved his affair to other spots.)

On Oscar Night of 2000,

DreamWorks took over Spago Beverly Hills to celebrate their Best Picture winner, "American Beauty." The place was decked out with more roses than you'd find in Pasadena, and party guests included Kevin Spacey, Thora Birch, Mena Suvari, Peter Gallagher, Kevin Pollack, Roberto Benigni, Val Kilmer and (from "The Sixth Sense") Haley Joel Osment. Plus the DreamWorks trio of Spielberg, Geffen and Katzenberg, of course.

In 2001,

Tom Cruise & Penelope Cruz had their first date at this Beverly Hills restaurant. That same year, DreamWorks decided to have it's party at Spago the day before the Oscars, since so many of their actors were up competing each other for the awards (e.g. both Russell Crowe and Tom Hanks were up for the Best Actor award.)

This location has always housed a big, beautiful restaurant, but Puck and his wife have managed to improve things. At the center of the sophisticated restaurant is the old Bistro Garden's romantic patio, shaded by tall pepper trees. A fountain inscribed with the word "passion" (in various languages) bubbles next to a pair of 100-year-old olive trees imported just for Spago. The restaurant's striking interior shows none of Barbara Lazaroff's usual excess. But it does feature an open kitchen, like the original Spago Hollywood.

In March of 2001, Puck finally bowed to the inevitable and closed the older, original Spago restaurant on Sunset Blvd. But this new Beverly Hills branch remains open and thriving.

Spago Beverly Hills is open daily for dinner, and is open for lunch Monday through Saturday. Reservations are essential (and almost impossible to get during prime hours); preferably weeks in advance. But be warned that the restaurant doesn't take reservations between 7 and 9 p.m. (unless you're a celeb, of course). You can expect to pay between $70 and $110 for two.

Getting there:

From Rodeo Drive, take Wilshire Boulevard six blocks east to Maple Drive. Turn left (north) on Maple Drive and go four blocks north to 3rd Street. The restaurant is located one block north of 3rd, on the left (west) side.

  OFFICIAL OSCAR PARTIES AROUND THE COUNTRY

Check the OFFICIAL WEBSITE FOR THE OSCARS, OSCAR.COM FOR OFFICIAL SPONSORED PARTIES AROUND THE COUNTRY.

THE BEST OF THE BEST PARTY

No question about it, the Best of the Best parties are the ones held by you guys out there.  Thereās nothing like getting together with great friends, great food, dressed up for the night at someone's home, or at your local pub·and speculating, and oooahhhhhing, and cheering and sharing.  Donāt be left out this year, join the one billion others doing it.


 
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