David Edelstein, New York's new film critic, and his Park Slope neighbor, NPR's Brooke Gladstone. It was that kind of night.
New York magazine was very proud, in advance, of its first-ever Oscar-night party. The grand dame of NYC Oscars events, the Entertainment Weekly fete, at the grand dame of media hangouts, Elaine's, was stodgy and unsexy, New York said. It has third-rate Hollywood types. New York's party, on the other hand, would be hip and sexy: hip New York celebs — Liev Schreiber, they promised, and Moby and Mandy Moore and Jimmy Fallon — at a hip New York restaurant, the Spotted Pig, having a hiply good time.
And, largely, that's how it turned out. Except for one thing: The celebs didn't so much show. While EW had Marcia Gay Harden, Iman, Alan Cumming, Dan Aykroyd, Fran Drescher, Chris Noth, Billy Baldwin, and Chris Meloni, according to today's Daily News (plus Elizabeth Rohm, Fred Thompson, Victoria Gotti, and Beth Ostrosky, according to our — admittedly drunken — spies), New York had Famke Jansen and... um... Mark Green? Andy Borowitz? Malcolm Gladwell?
But the truth is that notwithstanding the not-quite-living-up-to-the-hype part, the absence of big-deal celebrities made the New York night — dare we say it? — awfully fun. It was a Jewier-than-average, gayer-than-average, nerdier-than-average crowd of New Yorkers gathered to watch the New York Jew host Oscar's big gay night. The wine flowed freely, as did the shmooze, and everyone thought Jon Stewart's monologue was fantastic. ("The best in years," we heard someone — we think it was On the Media host Brooke Gladstone — say as he finished, and we were shocked, shocked, to discover Stewart killed in this room.)
So if Elaine's had the movie celebs, who came to the Spotted Pig? Media people, basically. MTV's Gideon Yago — bulked up, beared, and apparently now doing the bear thing — arrived with New York's David Amsden. Timeswoman Jodi Kantor was showing off baby pix, New York's Sarah Bernard couldn't help showing off her TK-soon baby, and funnymen Jonathan Ames and Andy Borowitz huddled near one of the TVs, Ames with his trademark cap and Borowitz with his trademark nose. The Ambiguously Straight Duo of Dan Abrams, from MSNBC, and Dave Zinczenko, the Men's Health editor, arrived from the Elaine's party and pronounced this one far more fun, though perhaps only because there were more available young women. Gladwell and his 'fro arrived late; Curbed publisher and Gawker Media whip-brandisher Lockhart Steele patrolled the bar area with his wingman, Playboy's Matt Shepatin; superpublicist Lisa Dallos settled into a back corner and didn't move.
New York was, naturally, very well represented. Adam Moss, of course, and Larry Burstein, the publisher, and party gal Jada Yuan and features editor Jared Hohlt and editorial director Hugo Lindgren and flacks Serena Torrey and Betsy Burton, who held court in the center of the crowd. David Edelstein, the movie critic, shuttled between intense viewing and intense wine-refilling, punctuating both with moderate bitching about the fact he'd have to file something by midnight.
Political people also predominated. Anthony Weiner and Andrew Cuomo and Mark Green and Bill Weld and Joe Lockhart, who was there early and stayed late. And there was a handful of celebrity-celebrity sorts, too: Oliver Platt, who came to visit has brother, Adam, the New York restaurant critic, and Sweeney Todd's Michael Cerveris and rich kid Jamie Johnson (with another rich-seeming guy who may or may not have been Donald Trump Jr.) and Carolina Panther Brandon Short, who couldn't get his girlfriend (wife?) to try the chicken-liver canape of which he was so fond. (It was delicious, and its chopped-livery goodness immediately brought us back to Jewish holidays at Grammy Syl's, a sort of recherch du Pesachs perdu.)
After the rapt attention to Stewart's opening monologue, the crowd more or less stopped paying attention to the show, preferring the novelty of drinking to excess on a Sunday night. After a few hours of that, everyone regained focus — if briefly — for the final, big awards. Local boy Phillip Seymour Hoffman got a burst of genuine applause from the room, and this West Village crowd was crushed that Brokeback got crashed.
And then, maybe because of that disappointment, and maybe because it was late, and maybe because we were drunk, but mostly because Adam Moss closed the tab, everyone went home.