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Stars still plan to party at Oscar time

Stars still plan to party at Oscar time. Here’s where the stars will whoop it up, free from the prying eyes of paparazzi

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Chicago, Catherine Zeta-Jones
Chicago: David James

Even with a war on, celebrities still plan to party before and after the Oscars much as they usually do. They just don’t want to be seen whooping it up at a time when bombs are dropping. So the major post-Oscar blowouts are banning interviewers and photographers this year. (Which leads to the zen koan: If a piece of sashimi drops from Catherine Zeta-Jones’ lips and no camera is there to shoot it, does it make a sound?)

The Academy’s annual Governor’s Ball, held in a ballroom adjacent to the Kodak Theatre after the show, is said to be a smaller affair this year, if you can call a sit-down dinner for nearly 2,000 people ”small.” The formal dinner, catered by Wolfgang Puck, tends to attract the Academy’s old guard, while younger stars and filmmakers will hop to several other parties around town.

Vanity Fair magazine is having its annual party at Morton’s restaurant in West Hollywood. Everybody, it seems, comes to this one, but we won’t know until the photos appear a month later in the pages of VF. (Editor Graydon Carter has said his magazine’s own photographer will be the only one allowed on the premises.

One block east, at the Pacific Design Center, will be the Paramount Pictures party. Expect the stars from ”The Hours” to show, especially if, as many oddsmakers expect, Nicole Kidman wins the Best Actress award.

Elton John’s 11th annual Oscar party is being held at Hollywood’s Marquee Club. Stars from the music world traditionally rub shoulders with Oscar winners at this AIDS fundraiser. John has said he’ll perform duets with John Mayer and Anastacia, marking her first performance since her breast cancer surgery in January. InStyle magazine is a cosponsor, which means, as with Vanity Fair, you won’t be seeing pictures from the party anywhere else.

Miramax, the studio with plenty to celebrate this year (40 nominations), traditionally has a party the night before, complete with skits in which Miramax actors make fun of the nominated films and various movie moguls, including the studio’s own Harvey Weinstein. This year, however, there will be no skits and only several hundred people, shy of the 1,200 who attended last year, the Washington Post reports. The event, at the St. Regis Hotel, will surely be a lovefest for the ”Chicago” and ”Gangs of New York” contingent.

The Miramax bash may be upstaged this year by a benefit thrown by DreamWorks partner Jeffrey Katzenberg that follows on the heels of the Miramax event. Raising money for the Motion Picture & Television Fund, the Katzenberg party at the Beverly Hills Hotel boasts a host committee that includes Nicole Kidman, Cameron Diaz, Leonardo DiCaprio, and such power couples as Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, Halle Berry and Eric Benet, Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, Denzel and Pauletta Washington, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, and Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas.

Another fundraiser, for Children Uniting Nations, will take place at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. Celebs who’ve RSVP’d reportedly include Bill Clinton, Tara Reid, J.C. Chasez, Jeff Goldblum, Jane Seymour, Anjelica Huston, Alec Baldwin, Aaron Carter, and Carmen Electra.

On the opposite coast, Entertainment Weekly hosts its own annual party at Manhattan celeb hangout Elaine’s. Expected to attend are Sean ”P. Diddy” Combs, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Regis Philbin, Chris Noth,  Alan Cumming, Chloe Sevigny, Macy Gray, Rufus Wainwright, Ice-T, and Mariska Hargitay. Reporters and photographers are welcome.