The Hottest Ticket in Town: 28 Years of Vanity Fair’s Oscar Party


The ’90s

In 1993, power literary-and-talent agent Irving “Swifty” Lazar—known for holding an exclusive yearly Oscar-viewing dinner and after-party—died at the age of 86. Lazar’s annual soirée had been a staple of Old Hollywood, drawing in society figures and working actors since 1964. So Graydon Carter and producer Steve Tisch decided to step into the ring, co-hosting the first V.F. Oscar party together in 1994. The event was relatively modest that year, and began with a 100-person dinner held at Mortons steak house on Melrose (the lot now occupied by Cecconi’s) that featured Lee Radziwill, Nancy Reagan, Oliver Stone, Gore Vidal, Gene Hackman, Donald Sutherland, Barry Diller, and Diane von Furstenberg among its seated guests. A hundred more famous figures arrived after the Oscar ceremony, including Robert De Niro, Prince, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Liam Neeson, and Natasha Richardson. As the decade continued, the event grew—in 1999, an architect even had to temporarily expand Mortons in order to fit the overflow—and cemented itself as the premiere destination for actors to let loose on Oscar night.

Prince entering the party in ’94, lollipop in hand; Courtney Love & Amanda de Cadenet in ’95; and Anna Nicole Smith entering the party in ’94.

Top left, by ® Eric Charbonneau/BEImages/Shutterstock; Right and bottom, by Dafydd Jones.

Traci Lords & Elisabeth Shue in ’96; Salma Hayek entering the party ’97; Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin share a laugh inside Mortons in ’96.

Top, by Dafydd Jones; bottom left, by Joyce Silverstein/REX/Shutterstock, by Alan Berliner/Bei/REX/Shutterstock.


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