The swirl of parties during Oscar Week is always a heady mix of sponsors, celebrities, venues and traffic snarls; in fact, trying to do too many events in one night is almost impossible (unless a car and driver is at your beck and call, of course).
Take Tuesday night (February 25) for example. You could have spent the whole evening at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, at the Icon Mann "Power 50 Pre-Oscar Dinner," hanging out with the top 50 most philanthropic Black men in L.A. Think Forest Whitaker, Blair Underwood, Michael B. Jordan, Bill Duke, Michael Ealy, Marcus Samuelsson and Paris Barclay in that dapper crowd.
Or perhaps have headed off to the Vanity Fair and Fiat-sponsored "Young Hollywood" bash at No Vacancy in Hollywood, where Chris Evans hosted and pretty people like Stacy Keibler, Kellan Lutz, Grace Gummer, Kate Mara and Jordana Brewster made the scene, all in support of the nonprofit Concord Youth Theatre, who benefited from the bash.
We went in between, first to the Petit Hermitage, where Porter & Plot launched their new line of limited production artisan wines with a special tasting party. Sommelier/wine maker Brian Smith and his marketing team offered up three well-balanced wines, to be sold for under $20. Their 2012 Columbia Valley Pinot Gris, 2013 Edna Valley Single Vineyard Pinot Noir and 2013 Costieres de Nimes Grenache-Syrah blend were a big hit with the crowd of restaurateurs, sommeliers and wine critics who gathered at the WeHo luxury boutique hotel.
"We're looking at a new way to bring top-quality wine to people, at a reasonable price," Smith explained. "Porter & Plot isn't about the cult of the winemaker, nor about a specific place.
Then it was on to the hottest ticket in town, the Bulgari Jewelry "Decades of Glamour" bash nearby at SoHo House. Naomi Watts hosted, and dripped with emeralds, amethysts, rubies and diamonds in a breathtaking Bulgari "Heritage Collection" choker made in 1989. She was the center of a swirl of famous friends in the posh upstairs terrace of the private club - those that could get in, that is. For the fire marshal had closed down admittance by 8 p.m. (the party started at 7) and a slew of well-heeled revelers were left cooling their heels in the underground parking lot that marks the club's entrance, unable to get in the front door.
Those that won the golden (well, black, actually) admittance ticket inside found a sea of gorgeous women all done up in Bulgari. Kate Hudson glowed in an intarsio (inlaid) diamond necklace and ring, while Marcia Gay Harden's intarsio necklace was inlaid with onyx. Emmy Rossum, Camilla Belle, Olivia Munn and Ashley Greene showed off some Bulgari bling, too, and even the men got into the act, with Jeremy Renner and Alexander Ludwig telling the time with watches from the vaunted Italian jeweler.
But what really got people talking at the party wasn't all the fabulous jewels being worn by celebrities nor the ones on display in theft-proof Plexiglas cases. Instead, the incredible mushroom risotto with freshly shaved black truffles was the real star of the night, so good it caused even the most figure-conscious ingénues to break their diets for a few heady moments. That's almost a sin in a week with so many parties leading up to Oscar Sunday!
Follow Jenny Peters and Spywitness on Twitter at @jennpeters.