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January 16, 2012 at 11:03 AM EST

The saying that Hollywood is one giant small town is never truer than at the Golden Globes. Unlike the after-parties for every other major awards show (which can sprawl out across Los Angeles), virtually every big party after the Globes takes place either inside or very near the Beverly Hilton hotel. It makes party hopping — and random celebrity run-ins — that much easier. (Of course, the convenient location also meant it was easy for women to swap heels for sandals, causing a few inadvertent gown-stepping-on mishaps.)

Even the space between the parties is lousy with odd and thrilling Hollywood moments, like Castle‘s Nathan Fillion chatting up New Girl‘s Max Greenfield (which only conjures images of Capt. Mal Reynolds slapping Schimdt), or Globe winner Idris Elba (Luther) sharing the briefest of greetings with nominee Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin) as they pass each other in the hall. In fact, you could almost call the lobby of the Beverly Hilton the best unofficial party of the Globes. There was Jane Fonda, looking amazing in a long navy gown. On the way to the elevator? Penny Marshall in her signature shades, having a tete-a-tete with Kathy Griffin in a purple gown. And as the night drew to a close, you could catch Josh Radnor, Tiffani Thiessen, Connie Britton, Topher Grace, and James Marsden all within the same 10 square feet.

Needless to say, EW was everywhere at last night’s Golden Globes parties, and we’ve got all the on-the-scene scoopage on what it’s like when everyone in movies and everyone in television gets all gussied up and crams inside the same famous hotel for one fabulous Hollywood night. 

The Weinstein Company hosts the hottest party of the night

Even 90 minutes after the Globes had finished its live broadcast, the folks from The Artist were still working their way down the press line for The Weinstein Co.’s chic shindig, which was held in a tent near the hotel’s famed Trader Vic’s restaurant and decorated like a stately old-school Hollywood event. Thanks to the black-and-white silent film’s three wins — along with Meryl Streep’s Best Actress in a Drama win for The Iron Lady, Michelle Williams’ Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy win for My Week With Marilyn, and Madonna’s Best Song win for W.E. — the Weinstein Co. was by far the studio with the most hardware, and Hollywood likes nothing more than a big winner. Consequently, their party was full-to-bursting with a constant stream of A-listers winding their way through the crush of people to pay their respects to Harvey “the Punisher” Weinstein: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ewan McGregor, Sean Combs, Paul Giamatti, Tim Robbins, Kelsey Grammar, Idris Elba, and Heidi Klum and Nina Garcia, to name just a few. And when a party burns that white hot, it’s bound to attract folks like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, who seemed to pop in just long enough for the paps to snap their photo of them pressing the flesh with some VIPs.

Intriguingly, we never saw Streep, Williams, or Madge at the event. So instead we focused on Viola Davis, who’d ensconced herself at Harvey’s table on the far side of the party, and spent most of the evening buried in her iPhone. Occasionally, an assertive well-wisher would descend upon her for a photograph, and Davis would gamely pose and smile — and then her head would turn immediately back to the 3.5-inch screen glowing in her hand. She had the look of a woman who wanted to be anywhere else but where she was, and yet was resigned to the fact that she could be no place else. It’s a good problem to have, as no doubt Davis herself would say, but you have to feel for her as she stares down the possibility of six more weeks of watching Meryl Streep try every way she can to graciously suggest that maybe Davis should have won Best Actress instead.

Meanwhile, The Artist‘s director Michel Hazanavicius and star Bérénice Bejo enjoyed a grand, romantic embrace in the old-school style of their film… while taking a novelty black-and-white digital photograph at a special HP vendor booth by the entrance. The sublime and the ridiculous tied together in one lusty moment: That’s the Golden Globes at their best. —Adam B. Vary

Modern Family and Glee kick the Fox party into full gear

Chinese lanterns (er, globes, if you will) emblazoned with the Fox logo set the scene for a night of dancing and celebrity sighting at the party, held down the block from the Beverly Hilton near the old Robinsons-May building. The after-party doubled as a viewing party, and following the show, the Globes stayed on a loop in the background. A pinkish light made the space feel intimate and out on the patio, guests chatted around bar tables and made their way to the photo booth for snapshots.

The Fox party was buzzing with the cast of Modern Family following their win for best comedy series. Showrunner Steven Levitan was looking sleek, walking in holding his shiny Golden Globe (smaller than you’d think in person — the Globe, not Levitan). He said he was so excited about the win and joined his cast to celebrate.

EW’s very own video blogger Rico Rodriguez (Manny on Modern Family), his sister Raini, and costar Ariel Winter were the first to tear it up on the dance floor, energizing all the adults around them. Julie Bowen was also on hand in her stunning princess-y gown and greeted everyone sweetly — we even caught her giving a waiter a kiss on the cheek. And Sofia Vergara was holding court in her gorgeous teal mermaid gown.

The cast of Glee was hanging out, but in classic high school clique fashion, they seemed to be chatting amongst themselves, with Chris Colfer, Amber Riley, Dot-Marie Jones, Ashley Fink, and Matthew Morrison all on hand.

Homeland, winner of the Globe in the best TV drama category, was well repped at Fox, with Mandy Patinkin making the rounds and stars Damian Lewis and Morena Baccarin schmoozing with execs. And speaking of execs, News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch even made the trip to L.A. for the event, looking pretty spry, surrounded near the entrance by security. —Laura Hertzfeld

NEXT PAGE: Chuck‘s Zachary Levi becomes Lord of the Dance…Floor

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