Inside the Vanity Fair Oscar Party


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Inside the Governors Ball and Vanity Fair Oscars Party

CreditNoel West for The New York Times


LOS ANGELES — “You can see my tattoo?” Halle Berry asked in the early hours of Monday morning, when a reporter spotted petals peering out from the plunging back of her Atelier Versace dress.

“It’s a sunflower,” the actress said of a tattoo devised to camouflage her former husband’s name.

Accidents happen, perhaps none bigger than the presentation of the best picture award to the wrong film. Predictably, a moment destined for a thousand Oscars blooper reels was the talk of the 23rd annual Vanity Fair Oscar party, hosted by Graydon Carter in a pavilion connected to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

Much about a buzzy evening served to remind an observer of the role that chance and mischance play in any Hollywood success. Working actors know the odds of a lightning strike are higher than those of finding oneself among the countless stellar beings at the Vanity Fair party.

Held in a room banked with white hydrangeas and rimmed by mileslong bars, where white-coated servers dispensed Dom Pérignon and Casa Dragones tequila, the event, though mobbed, was smaller than in previous years and smacked of a return to the exclusivity and glamour some complained it surrendered when it moved from its longtime setting in the Sunset Tower Hotel.

Famous faces in random juxtapositions were everywhere, pairings reminiscent of the “Impossible Interviews” caricatures that Miguel Covarrubias drew for Vanity Fair back in the 1930s. Many had just arrived from the Governors Ball.

Look right and there stood two six-footers, Caitlyn Jenner and Josh Hartnett, shoulder to shoulder. Turn left and Dev Patel was towering over itty-bitty Janelle Monáe. Wrapped in a Gucci bathrobe coat, Jared Leto stood clasped in the embrace of Bruce…

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