Ostensibly, it’s in honor of Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter. But if you ask me, Barry Diller’s annual Oscars picnic today, complete with four buffet stations, is the ultimate mogul meet’n’greet.
Sure, on Friday night, Bryan Lourd’s party got the stars (but would it kill him to actually serve dinner?) and Ed Limato’s got talent and execs. And tonight Jeffrey Katzenberg’s got money ($50,000 a ticket to benefit the Motion Picture Home), which is why Clint Eastwood, Will Smith, Helen Mirren, Rick Fox, Serena Williams and Alan Horn put in an appearance at the Beverly Hills Hotel pool where the cabanas were taken over by McDonald’s, L’Oreal, Lexus, and Target. But Diller’s luncheon sur l’herbe (VIPs sitting at picnic tables with a careless let-them-eat-cake air) was filled with cashmere polo-shirted raw power — and a few has-beens for comic relief.
I’ve sleuthed out who was there this afternoon between 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., and even I’m impressed. Let’s put it this way, I’m told Jann Wenner’s eyes looked like they were going to bug out of his head — if, for no other reason, than that he was small fry among all the Big Media bigwigs. But super-casual gatherings like this also come with pitfalls: Jeff Zucker probably didn’t want to run into Les Moonves. Just as Jonathan Dolgen and Tom Freston didn’t care to chat with Sumner Redstone. On the other hand, everyone did want to come up to Larry Mark and congratulate him for Dreamgirls. Even the moguls were eying Anderson Cooper in his tight-fitting grey T-shirt. Sidney Poitier was lunching with Sherry Lansing. But when David Geffen arrived, he was greeted like a visiting potentate. And, of course, Diller (in green cargo pants, no socks and Puma sneakers) played host at his Beverly Hills mansion with wife Diane Von Furstenberg (in one of her signature wrap dresses). Complaints came in to me about this year’s food (“the worst I’ve had — ever”). The only edible offerings were those little cups of lobster or tomato bisque soup served on trays like appetizers, and the entrÃ©es of Philly cheesesteak and lobster club sandwiches.
The guests included (in no particular order, so don’t draw conclusions): Michael Eisner, Bert Fields, Rupert Murdoch, Jack Valenti, Brad Grey, Harvey Weinstein, Ron Meyer, Joel Silver, Jeff Robinoff, Kevin McCormack, Tom Rothman, Jim Gianopulos, Larry David, Warren Beatty, Bette Midler, Laurence Bender, Penny Marshall, Sheryl Crow, Hugh Jackman, Bryan Lourd, Jeff Berg, Jim Wiatt, John Goldwyn, Larry Gordon, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Sandy Gallin, Dominick Dunne, Bob Colacello, Jeff Greenfield, Arianna Huffington, Fran Leibowitz, Bob Daly, Cheryl Tiegs, Howard Rosenman, Jason Binn, Sydney Pollack and Shirley MacLaine. My favorite line from the afternoon: one of “Chuck’s” valet parkers running down Coldwater Canyon shouting, “Get Joel Silver’s Maybach.” That’s the $400,000+ business jet on wheels, in case you didn’t know.
Visit Ms. Finkee’s Oscar Rundown: Click Here