EW's behind-the-scenes look at four star-packed Oscar soirees

By EW Staff
Updated March 02, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST

The 14th annual post-Academy Awards bash was, as usual, the place to be. (Elton John even ran over after his own Oscar-viewing party.) Among those navigating the endless sea of celebrities (and encircling winners Martin Scorsese, Jennifer Hudson, and Forest Whitaker): Tobey Maguire, George Lucas, Rachel Weisz, Vince Vaughn, and Ben Stiller — the latter not in the flesh, but pictured this year on the event’s signature lollipops. Indeed, the place was so overrun with film-star gazers (Anderson Cooper, Maria Sharapova, Gwen Stefani…) that Gael García Bernal and Sacha Baron Cohen were forced to take their chat into a corner under the elegant tent. Perhaps it was this congestion that caused Cinderellas like Meryl Streep and Gwyneth Paltrow to depart before midnight. ”The Oscars are a bit like the Super Bowl,” said George Hamilton on his way out. ”They went an hour too long so now I’m beat.”

The Grand Ballroom
Oscar’s official after-party had a new, casual vibe: The usually grand, seated dinner was made over with low-slung couches and eight organic-food stations. Still, the guest list was as A-list as ever, thanks to Clint Eastwood, Leonardo DiCaprio, and the Queen herself, Helen Mirren. ”I loved Ellen,” the Best Actress winner said of host DeGeneres. ”Thanks to her, there was no bitchiness.”

Casa Banderas
Three days before his documentary An Inconvenient Truth nabbed an Oscar, the ex-vice president mingled with stars at an eco-friendly bash thrown by EW at the home of Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas.

Pacific Design Center
Guests at the singer’s viewing party participated in a live auction (Diddy bid $65,000 for a David Beckham soccer lesson but lost) and were serenaded with a duet of ”Tiny Dancer” by James Blunt and Sir Elton.