LOS ANGELES (AP) — Greta Gerwig screamed with delight and relief as she hugged a group of friends once she got into the Vanity Fair Oscar party.
The “Lady Bird” director and Oscar nominee had just walked down the last red carpet of her long awards season. She quickly pulled up her long flowing gown, kicked off her high heels and put on a pair of checkered Vans sneakers so she could run through the room in comfort.
On the surface, Hollywood’s after-Oscar parties are held to celebrate the winners and almost-winners at the Academy Awards. But their real purpose, for many anyway, is to recognize that the entire exhausting epic of the awards season is finally over.
Nowhere is this more true than the Vanity Fair party, where the tables are stacked with junk food made with highbrow flair, and an endless stream of In-N-Out burgers are served in overflowing boxes by the chain’s workers in uniform, all of it telling partiers that the time to starve yourself to fit into tuxes and gowns is over. It’s time to eat again.
Gerwig was all smiles as she walked into the room in her Vans, saw Octavia Spencer, nominated for best actress for “The Shape of Water,” sitting on a couch and trotted over to give her a hug.
Saoirse Ronan, the star of Gerwig’s movie, went even more casual, walking the room and even the sidewalks outside while barefoot.
In the outdoor patio of the party hosted by Vanity Fair editor Radhika Jones at a custom-designed space that connects the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts with Beverly Hills City Hall, best actress winner and rousing speech-giver Frances McDormand was struggling to get through an In-N-Out Burger because of a steady stream of well-wishers that included a fawning Jon Hamm.
McDormand, with her husband the director Joel Coen having an easier time of eating nearby, held her burger in her left hand while she hugged and shook hands with her right, posing for pictures with dozens of doting fans.
She repeatedly joked “I lost it” to all who asked where her Oscar statuette had gone. It had actually been stolen at the Governor’s Ball party earlier in the evening, though it was quickly recovered and a suspect arrested. Its exact whereabouts during the Vanity Fair party are unclear.
While the nominees make it a regular stop, the Vanity Fair party, whose atmosphere with its dim lighting and throbbing music feels like a night club, prides itself on hosting A-list guests that had no part in the Oscars or movies at all.
At one point Sunday night Drake and Diddy, major figures representing two generations of hip-hop, ran into each other and made a scene with a giggle-filled hug.
Moments later across the room, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” star Tom Holland by chance bumped into his on-screen aunt and guardian Marisa Tomei, and the two also shared a happy hug to the delight of onlookers and photographers.
Sarah Silverman, Donald Glover, Emily Ratajkowski and Kate Upton all chatted with groups of friends over tables stacked with truffled popcorn and buttermilk fried chicken nuggets.
Kendall Jenner drew gawkers and compliments with a short black dress whose huge, multi-layered levels resembled a building designed by Frank Gehry.
The party’s first phase earlier in the evening was a dinner for a smaller group of invitees, who dined on slow-poached dover sole and grilled beef calotte as they watched the show, where “The Shape of Water” was the big winner.
A similar viewing party was going on back in Hollywood at Elton John’s annual AIDS Foundation soiree, where star party-goers cheered on the biggest moments of the Academy Awards.
Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, Ricky Martin, Billie Jean King, Lionel Richie, Caitlyn Jenner, Lea Michele and Judith Light were among other celebs who cheered loudly during some of the show’s bigger moments.
Allison Janney’s best supporting actress win for “I, Tonya” got wild applause, as did McDormand when she called for an “<a target=”—blank” href=”https://apnews.com/937519a337ed445baef829f4d21de423″>inclusion rider</a> ” during her acceptance speech celebrating diversity and women storytellers. (The rider would be inserted into artists’ contracts to mandate diversity on projects.)
The 26th annual event features an elegant dinner during the show, then later, a silent auction to raise funds for the charity and a concert featuring the rock band Greta Van Fleet.
Janney showed up late at the Vanity Fair party, also holding no Oscar, and took over the toast-of-the-room role earlier played by McDormand.
She had traded her red gown for a more comfortable outfit with a white blouse. And after sweeping nearly every award since the Golden Globes in January, she could not have looked happier as she took in the love of the room.
Meanwhile, Oscars’ official after-party, the Governors Ball, paid tribute to the film academy’s 90-year history. Antique cameras, scripts and props decorated the ballroom just upstairs from the Dobly Theatre, where the Oscars were presented earlier Sunday.
Stacks of scripts and film tins served as backdrops for several bars inside the Roy Dolby Ballroom, where the orchestra played classic movie themes throughout the night.
Other historic displays included the 1935-era camera used to shoot “Citizen Kane,” animation cells from the first Pinocchio film, historic press cameras from the 1960s and a replica of an old movie makeup station. Costume illustrations, wigs and other memorabilia decorated the room in honor of the Oscars’ milestone birthday.
Mahershala Ali and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu were among those who enjoyed the tiny cheeseburgers, mini chicken pot-pies and extensive sushi bar.
The Governors Ball is also where Oscar winners can have their statuettes personalized with their name and category. Otherwise all the golden guys look the same.
Guillermo del Toro, who won for best director and best picture, sat with his two newly personalized Oscars on a sofa near the engraving table. He commandeered a couch near the trophy station with his friends, where they snacked on mini-tacos and chicken skewers.
Janney also brought her statuette over for engraving. Barefoot, the actress toted her new Oscar to a nearby couch, where she sipped on a martini and a glass of white wine.
Other Governors’ Ball guests included Oscar winners Rita Moreno and Eva Marie Saint, who shared their table at the Oscars’ after-party.
McDormand brought her son along for the Oscar-engraving experience — a cordoned-off area at the Governors Ball where winners have their trophies personalized while they sip champagne, protected from the party crowds.
Other stars who had their Oscars personalized Sunday included James Ivory and Jordan Peele.
Hungry stars got a chance to indulge in food and drink after the nearly four-hour Oscar ceremony. Waiters passed food and appetizers, and various stations around the Ray Dolby Ballroom beckoned guests. There was a broad dessert bar, with crepes and tiny chocolate Oscars. Mira Sorvino caused a bit of a traffic jam with her voluminous dress — no one wanted to step on it or even pass the Oscar winner as she sampled tequila at a Don Julio table.
Other guests included Christopher Walken and Andy Serkis.
And everyone got an Oscar as they left the party — a three-inch tall chocolate version.
Associated Press Writer Nekesa Moody Mumbi contributed to this report.
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