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What you DIDN’T see at the Oscars: ALISON BOSHOFF reveals where Eva Mendes really was during Ryan Gosling’s triumph, what happened at the Vanity Fair party and what guests got in their gift bags

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Oscars Night 2024 fizzed into being with the energy of a popping champagne cork.

After the trials of Covid and the lengthy actors’ and writers’ strikes, and boosted by the ‘Barbenheimer’ box-office phenomenon which had seen the world fall in love with cinema again, Tinseltown was ready to party again – to excess.

Not much food was eaten – one observer says this was the year that weight-loss jab Ozempic ‘ate the Oscars’ – but cocktails, dancing and a vast gathering of the famous were on extravagant display.

Singer Kylie Minogue, who went to the legendary annual Vanity Fair party, told us she was ‘feeling the general sparkle’.

She added: ‘It’s not work for me tonight, it’s fun. Like, what do I have to do at the Oscars? Nothing! But I’m looking forward to catching up with some friends, people I know in the business.’

Stephen Spielberg holds an In-N-Out burger as he attends the Vanity Fair Oscar party in California

Stephen Spielberg holds an In-N-Out burger as he attends the Vanity Fair Oscar party in California

Saltburn star Barry Keoghan, 31, right - possibly the most hyped up star of this awards season - also attends the Vanity Fair party

Saltburn star Barry Keoghan, 31, right – possibly the most hyped up star of this awards season – also attends the Vanity Fair party 

From left: Lenny Kravitz, Lauren Sanchez, Jeff Bezos, Kim Kardashian, Sofia Vergara, Kris Jenner and Demi Lovato attend Vanity Fair's Oscar's bash

From left: Lenny Kravitz, Lauren Sanchez, Jeff Bezos, Kim Kardashian, Sofia Vergara, Kris Jenner and Demi Lovato attend Vanity Fair’s Oscar’s bash

Reunions seemed to be the order of the evening, with Christopher Nolan, fresh from his best director win for Oppenheimer, taking time backstage to reminisce about the time we used to sit together in History lessons at Haileybury College in Hertfordshire.

‘That was in “Trotsky” Turnbull’s class’ Nolan said, recalling a long-ago nickname for our Left-leaning teacher. ‘I was not expecting to be thinking about that tonight!’

As usual, the awards ceremony itself was followed by a raft of parties competing to draw the stars: the film studio Universal went up against the official Governors Ball (held upstairs from the ceremony), while Jay Z’s event vied with Madonna’s. The largest event of all, of course, was the Vanity Fair shindig.

Outside the ceremony, some had graver issues on their minds. Pro-Palestine and pro-Israel protesters scuffled on the manicured lawns outside the party. Some protesters were pepper-sprayed and dispersed by police: at least one arrest was made.

Inside, the Kardashians posed, and billionaire Amazon-founder Jeff Bezos toured the room with his pneumatic fiancée Lauren Sanchez.

The start of the Oscars broadcast had also been held up by protests, with the final guests taking their seats only at 4.06pm, six minutes after the show had been scheduled to start (just after 11pm in the UK). A number of roads around the Dolby theatre had been blocked, with the limo gridlock even worse than usual.

The latest of latecomers included Martin Scorsese, Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling – the star who provided the night’s stand-out performance of I’m Just Ken.

Best actress nominee Carey Mulligan, beautiful in bespoke Balenciaga, was later still. Mulligan missed the opening monologue and also watched Da’Vine Joy Randolph winning best supporting actress for her role in The Holdovers from outside the auditorium, with her place taken by a seat-filler.

What else did viewers at home miss?

Eva Mendes in the wings, proudly watching husband Ryan Gosling performing with other ‘Kens’ including Kingsley Ben-Adir and Ncuti Gatwa. The couple never do the red-carpet thing.

Scorsese comforting Lily Gladstone after she lost out in the best actress race.

People at home also thought that Messi the dog was in his seat clapping – one of the most tweeted moments of the show – but actually that was a pre-recorded shot, captured before the ceremony began. (Messi, for the uninitiated, is the canine actor who portrayed Snoop in the film Anatomy Of A Fall).

The Vanity Fair party gift bag had skincare essentials including a face serum, skin cleanser and eye cream

The Vanity Fair party gift bag had skincare essentials including a face serum, skin cleanser and eye cream

Madonna¿s party was held in manager Guy Oseary¿s house in support of her Raising Malawi charity

Madonna’s party was held in manager Guy Oseary’s house in support of her Raising Malawi charity

Another take home gift from Madonna's bash included a cap

Another take home gift from Madonna’s bash included a cap

And was wrestler-turned-actor John Cena — who shuffled on stage to present the award for best costume design with his modesty seemingly covered only by the envelope containing the name of the winner — really completely naked? Well, the team was very quick to drape him in a curtain when he dropped his envelope and the lights did dim, but the consensus in the room was he was wearing a modesty pouch.

Academy publicists were insisting last night that the extraordinary, mumbling presentation of the best picture Oscar by Al Pacino was intentional – sources said the veteran actor was never going to do the usual thing and read out the titles of all the nominated films.

Pacino, 83, said: ‘Ten wonderful films were nominated, but only one will take the award for best picture – and I have to go to the envelope for that. And I will. Here it comes. And my eyes see Oppenheimer? Yes.’

Not everyone was convinced Pacino’s terse performance was deliberate – the show ran two and a half minutes shy of its allotted duration, and that was even with host Jimmy Kimmel taking time to read a tweet from former US President Donald Trump insulting Kimmel’s performance on the night.

At least Oppenheimer was the true winner: the moment crowned a great night for the film, which won seven awards.

It was a career-making triumph for British-American director Chris Nolan and his producer wife Emma Thomas.

Presented the best director Oscar by the great Stephen Spielberg, Nolan almost wept as he thanked ‘the incredible Emma Thomas, the producer of all our films and all our children, I love you.’

Backstage, Nolan told me it would probably take six months for the win to sink in.

Martin Scorsese comforts Lily Gladstone after she lost out in the best actress race against Emma Stone

Martin Scorsese comforts Lily Gladstone after she lost out in the best actress race against Emma Stone

Barbie actor Ryan Gosling provided the night¿s stand-out performance of I¿m Just Ken

Barbie actor Ryan Gosling provided the night’s stand-out performance of I’m Just Ken

John Cena shuffled on stage to present the award for best costume design with his modesty seemingly covered only by the envelope containing the name of the winner

John Cena shuffled on stage to present the award for best costume design with his modesty seemingly covered only by the envelope containing the name of the winner

He and Thomas went to the Governors Ball to get their Oscars engraved, and he then joked with the Godzilla crew about doing bicep curls with his two heavy statuettes (for best picture and best director). His wife and creative partner was hanging on to a third, for her role as a producer on Oppenheimer.

People didn’t hang around for long at the Ball, but every single winner made their way back there to have their trophies engraved. Chef Wolfgang Puck laid on a delicious spread, including chocolate ‘Oscar pops’ in the shape of the statue.

Spielberg was seen leaving the Ball wearing a face mask – the only time I saw one over the entire event.

Actress Emma Stone – a surprise best actress winner for her role in Poor Things – was in and out of the Governors Ball in just six minutes. She spent most of those hugging and kissing her comedian husband Dave McCary.

Stone revealed she had suffered a minor wardrobe malfunction by the side of the stage: ‘They sewed me back in! I genuinely do think I busted it during “I’m Just Ken”. I was so amazed by Ryan [Gosling] and what he was doing, and that number just blew my mind.’

From the Governors Ball, Nolan went on to the Vanity Fair party, arriving at around 10pm, before eventually making his way to the Universal after-party at Soho House in West Hollywood accompanied by his wife Emma.

The Universal party was big, and the atmosphere extremely energetic. Robert Downey Jr, who took the first Oscar of his long career for his role as Rear Admiral Lewis Strauss in Oppenheimer, was spotted heading for the garden area in the venue, possibly in search of somewhere he could hear himself think.

At Vanity Fair, held in the Wallis Annenberg Center and beyond question the grandest of the night’s bashes, guests grooved to Kylie’s 2023 smash-hit Padam Padam on a lit-up dancefloor. Those who had won Oscars handed them round for others to hold, as is customary.

Of course Barry Keoghan, possibly the most hyped actor of this awards season, was there – wearing a string vest and striking poses.

Nobody has enjoyed the past few months more than the Saltburn star, 31, who posed naked – again – for the magazine last month. The bad news for him is that some in Hollywood are saying they have rather had enough of his thirst for the limelight.

At Vanity Fair there were trays of In-n-Out burgers, pizza, a photo booth and goody bags which included slippers and gowns for those ready to rest. Scorsese circulated with a glass of champagne, Lindsay Lohan chatted with her one-time party partner Paris Hilton. Singing stars including Usher and Lenny Kravitz mixed with fashion designer Tom Ford.

Margot Robbie, stunning in a 1996 vintage Mugler corset, joined acting legends like Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone and Nicolas Cage.

The interior was all red velvet drapes and deep red walls, with Negroni cocktails to match. Some internet wits thought the outside of the building, which featured the words ‘Vanity Fair’ in a bold yellow over that same shade of red looked just like a box of McDonald’s french fries, which will not have been the look the magazine’s editor-in-chief Radhika Jones had in mind.

A rather racier crew was in evidence at Madonna’s party, held in manager Guy Oseary’s house in support of her Raising Malawi charity. The going-home gift there was a Raising Malawi scarf, but the food – chicken masala and naan bread – was left largely untouched.

Elton John’s Aids Foundation fundraiser attracted Liz Hurley and son Damian, plus Julia Fox, formerly Kanye West’s girlfriend, in an outlandish get up – a black minidress that left her breasts exposed but for a pair of bejewelled nipple tassels – which burnished her reputation for trashy dressing.

The real hardcore crew then made their way to Jay Z and Beyonce’s bash at the Chateau Marmont. Leonardo DiCaprio – who didn’t go to the Oscars ceremony – was reportedly spotted going in.

DiCaprio was the star of Killers of the Flower Moon, Scorsese’s epic Western, which was nominated for ten awards though not for best actor. It came away with none.

The veteran actor went to a number of parties in the lead-up to the event, including the William Morris Endeavour bash where guests were given $169 Birkenstock clogs to soothe their aching feet, plus monogrammed-to-order baseball caps and pocket squares.

Over the past week DiCaprio, 49, has been constantly in the company of best pal Tobey Maguire rather than his latest girlfriend Vittoria Ceretti, 25.

As dawn broke, the Jay Z party was still going strong.

For Hollywood’s finest, it was a night of riotous cross-town revelry buoyed by an undeniable confidence that the Oscars are back – and in style.

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