For Brad Pitt, being so devastatingly popular definitely has its drawbacks. Even at the starry Vanity Fair Oscar party, the actor was surrounded by so many A-list well-wishers, he had to beat a hasty retreat.
Pitt was one of the very few big names who did not walk the red carpet at the wall-to-wall A-list big name bash late on Sunday. Only he, Al Pacino, Jeff Bezos and fiancée Lauren Sanchez sought fit to sneak in the side door.
But once inside the party, Pitt was the hero of the hour, the beloved actor’s actor, Hollywood manhood’s answer to Meryl Streep. “Oooh look, there’s Brad Pitt!” Spike Lee loudly cried out before heading over to congratulate the Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner, who arrived late on Sunday night without his gleaming gold statue.
Lee’s beeline to Pitt was followed by a stampede of well-wishing stars including Minnie Driver, Tyrese Gibson, Tiffany Haddish, Elizabeth Banks, Adrien Brody, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, who kept his laser eye surgery-style sunglasses on all night at the seductively-lit soiree.
All this adulation seemed rather too much for the laid-back Pitt, who amiably shook hands, nervously tucked his hair behind his ear, and took a barrage of bro hugs in his stride, but soon after headed for the exit, saying apologetically, “I’m not really a party guy.”
However the “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood”s star could not get out of the door before the man who hired him in the ‘80s for one of his first acting jobs as a chicken mascot for El Pollo Loco popped up to congratulate Pitt on how far he’d got in life since that poultry part.
Witnesses said the ever-modest Pitt was charming to the ex-El Pollo Loco luminary Michael Kassan – now a powerful ad and marketing exec – and even “thanked him for the opportunity” as a young actor.
Pitt has previously said he has “no shame” admitting he worked as a struggling actor as the yellow feathered mascot for the fast food chain. He last year reminisced to Ellen DeGeneres that he dressed as the chicken for the grand opening of the chain’s Hollywood location, where he “got flipped off a lot.” DeGeneres couldn’t resist responding, ”So the bird got the bird?”
Fellow Best Actor Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix — also not exactly known for his enjoyment of exuberant Hollywood events — appeared at the venerable celebration, hosted by Vanity Fair editor Radhika Jones at the Wallis Annenberg Center in Los Angeles.
“The Joker” star Phoenix, accompanied by his fiancée Rooney Mara and family such as sisters Rain and Summer, was seen in deep discussion with 2019 Best Actor Oscar winner Rami Malek, while his mother Arlyn Phoenix enthusiastically got down on the dance floor to Dua Lupa’s “New Rules” next to NBC “This Is Us” star Chrissy Metz and her female friends.
Billy Porter — dressed in a lush deep purple Christian Siriano feathered ensemble with a dramatic matching train and giant bolero hat — hit it off at the party with the heavily made-up shock rocker Marilyn Manson, who also took selfies Joe Manganiello.
Porter — who had earlier co-presented the pre-Oscar show for ABC — said of Manson, “He’s actually very sweet,” before chasing down a server passing around In-N-Out burgers, pulling a long satin glove off with his teeth, and devouring the delicacy.
Soon after the Oscars ended, the venue – a specially-constructed vast marquee tent – became standing room only. Robert De Niro arrived with his “The Irishman” cast and crew including producer Jane Rosenthal. Best Actress winner Renée Zellweger – who brought her statuette with her – posed for pictures with fellow Oscar winners, “Ford v Ferrari” film editors Andrew Buckland and Michael McCusker.
Cynthia Erivo worked the room with Lena Waithe, while “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot chatted to Emily Ratajkowski, as Gabrielle Union, Chrissy Teigen and Jessica Alba huddled nearby. Adam Sandler held court at the bar, and Charlize Theron, who also brought her mom as her date, was seen embracing Kate Hudson.
Dancing the night away were Greta Gerwig with Beanie Feldstein, as well as Antonio Banderas with girlfriend Nicole Kimpel. Plus orange-haired British designer costume Sandy Powell was seen getting the stars to autograph her white suit, which will be auctioned off for charity. She was seen bending over to allow talk show host James Corden to write his digits on her derriere.
Inside the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party:
It may have been rather too late by this stage, but suddenly deciding to keep a lower profile, Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos and fiancée Lauren Sanchez skipped the camera-packed red carpet and arrived at the Vanity Fair party through a side door.
Guests speculated that — while the couple had been front and center at a host Oscar week events — Bezos may have had a sudden attack of shyness following Chris Rock’s jokes about him onstage at the Academy Awards.
Rock had quipped, “Jeff Bezos is so rich, he got divorced and he’s still the richest man in the world.” And, “He’s so rich he saw ‘A Marriage Story’ and thought it was a comedy,” while the camera panned to Bezos trying to see the funny side.
Meanwhile in other billionaire news, the son of philanthropist Wallis Annenberg, Charles Annenberg Weingarten somehow managed to smuggle his dog into the Vanity Fair Oscar Party. As far as we can tell, the white fluffy pooch is the only animal who has ever made it on the esteemed Vanity Fair guest list and past the event’s famously tight security.
Annenberg, an animal lover, who reportedly sometimes calls himself “The Dogfather,” was seen introducing the white fluffy white pooch to a highly amused Kanye West. The dog looked somewhat less impressed that he wasn’t allowed an In-N-Out burger before being whisked home in a luxury SUV.