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Academy Awards parties aplenty for Hollywood elite

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Mrs. Mark Wahlberg, Rhea Durham, Wahlberg, Christian Bale and his wife, Sibi, at the Governor's Ball after the Academy Awards. ((Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Last fall, it looked like "The Social Network" would clean up at the Oscars. Thanks to Colin Firth and "The King's Speech," that didn't happen, but do you think Ben Mezrich minds?

Of course, he does. But Mezrich, the author of "The Accidental Billionaires," on which David Fincher's Facebook movie is based, still managed to have a swell time in Tinseltown.

By Mezrich's own admission, authors are the lowest form of life in the Hollywood food chain, but if you stay close to the big fish - that'd be "TSN" screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and producer Kevin Spacey - you have entree to some sweet shindigs.

Like the pre-Oscar bash at super-agent Ari Emanuel's house. (For you rubes, Emanuel is the inspiration for Jeremy Piven's character on "Entourage" and the brother of Chicago's new mayor Rahm Emanuel.) The host greeted guests at the door, and Mezrich says - wishfully perhaps - there was a glimmer of recognition when Emanuel said hello.

Later, Justin Timberlake, who plays Facebook co-founder Sean Parker in the film, took a seat next to Mezrich and his wife Tonya, and ate corn on the cob. There were hundreds of people milling around under a tent, and a lavish Las Vegas-style spread of soups, steaks, and shrimp.

"He tells us a funny story about running into the real Sean Parker," says Mezrich. "Tonya wants to tell him we saw 'N Sync at the Garden years ago but the crowd gets too crazy."

Even better, he says, was Oscar night, which began with hair, make-up, and jewelry at the couple's chic hotel, the SLS in Beverly Hills. Tonya wore a platinum necklace with 130 pear-shaped diamonds - a loaner from DePrisco Diamond Jewelers - and Mezrich was terrified the expensive piece would be lost.

It wasn't, of course, even amid the swarm at the post-Oscar party hosted by Madonna and Demi Moore at Guy Oseary's house.

"Madonna walked past us with a bottle of Moet, with (daughter) Lourdes nearby, looking more like sisters than mother and daughter," says Mezrich.

Guests included Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, Leonardo Di Caprio, Jack Black, and Gwen Stefani, who looked "ethereal, white on white, like a statue," says Mezrich. But the best was Atticus Ross, who along with Trent Reznor won the Oscar for "The Social Network" score. (Sorkin also won for his screenplay.)

"Atticus lets me walk around the party holding his Oscar," says Mezrich. "All in all, awesome."

But there was plenty of fun to be had elsewhere, too. Elton John hosted his annual Oscar Night bash benefiting the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and Captain Fantastic drew quite a crowd. The celebrity press was invited to attend the fancy affair at the Pacific Design Center but then kept in a pen like poor saps in steerage. Bemused women in ball gowns actually gawked at media scarfing pizza as they prepared to feast on beef tenderloin with charcoal oil and crispy bacon and goat cheese soup fixed by star chef Ludo Lefebvre.

Lefebvre, owner of the popular touring restaurant LudoBites, tried to explain to us in a heavy French accent the inspiration for the evening's menu, but we were too busy admiring the tattoos on his arm.

Sir Elton, with his teased bouffant and oversize specs, was gracious with the press, wandering the rope line in what looked like gold-studded slippers and chatting about Zachary, the baby he adopted with partner David Furnish. Asked if he wants more children, Elton was emphatic.

"Oh no, we're just getting used to this one," he said.

Nor should we expect the Rocket Man to sit in judgement on "American Idol" a la Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler.

"No, I can't be horrible to people," he said. "I just can't do that."

What Elton John can still do is sing, and he demonstrated that by joining indie warblers Florence + The Machine for renditions of "Tiny Dancer" and "You Got the Love."

The guest list included everyone who's anyone, and a few of us who are no one. (That means you, too, Dean McDermott.) Tyler walked the yellow carpet with girlfriend Erin Brady, but wouldn't stop to chat. Some who did included composer Quincy Jones, tennis ace Serena Williams, Oscar winner Ben Kingsley, supermodel Heidi Klum, whose hairstyle reminded us, unfortunately, of a young Martina Navratilova, as well as "Modern Family" actor Eric Stonestreet, Kim Kardashian, singer Rufus Wainwright, and actor Tom Sizemore, who told us he's frightened for Charlie Sheen.

"I know Charlie and he's definitely in the throes of addiction," said Sizemore, whose own substance abuse issues landed him on Season 3 of "Celebrity Rehab." "Charlie's got enormous recuperative powers, and he's going to need them."

"Access Hollywood" correspondent and Medford native Maria Menounos hurried to Elton's event after concluding her red-carpet interviews at the Kodak Theatre. But in four-inch heels and a long, one-shouldered black velvet gown by Johanna Johnson, Menounos was not exactly nimble.

"It's the first dress I tried on and I fell in love," she said.

From there, it was off to the super-exclusive Vanity Fair party at the Sunset Tower Hotel. How coveted was a ticket to Graydon Carter's celeb-heavy soiree? A pair were auctioned at Elton John's party and fetched $70,000. Security was ridiculous - guys with guns and ominous-looking earpieces greeted guests at checkpoints on Sunset Boulevard - and the tickets came in hard-plastic cases with a hologram.

Hollywood is an industry town, and all the captains were there. Amid large-scale photos of luminaries like Jean Harlow, Rita Hayworth, and Marlon Brando, the A-listers dined on steak and sea bass, and then schmoozed. We spied Mick Jagger and girlfriend L'Wren Scott, Jane Fonda greeting brother Peter with a kiss on the cheek, Donald Trump and wife Melania gabbing with gossip Richard Johnson, Harvey Weinstein, Paul Haggis, Quentin Tarantino smooching a bleary-eyed Paz de la Huerta, Tom Hanks, Tyler (again) with daughters Liv and Chelsea, and Pittsfield native Elizabeth Banks talking shop with Harvard man Darren Aronofsky.

Around 2 a.m., we saw filmmaker and Newton native Eli Roth chatting with Zooey Deschanel at the valet stand. They got into separate SUVs and drove away, and so did we.

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Robert Downey Jr, his wife Susan, and Jude Law at the VF party (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images)

About this blog

This blog features the latest local and national celebrity news from The Boston Globe's Names column team. Check back for the latest updates.
Mark Shanahan joined The Boston Globe in 2003, having worked previously at the Portland Press Herald, where he covered City Hall, and the Lewiston Sun-Journal, where he was the education reporter. A Northampton native and graduate of Bates College, Shanahan enjoys the usual - books, music, movies, etc. - as well as the unusual.
shanahan@globe.com
Follow on Twitter: @GlobeNames, @MarkAShanahan
Meredith Goldstein has worked for the Globe since 2003, covering everything from nightlife to New Kids. She keeps her eyes peeled for celebrity juice, and also writes Love Letters, a Boston.com blog for hopeful (and hopeless) romantics. Meredith chats about love problems every Wednesday at 1 p.m. If you see Justin Timberlake or someone like him at a local eatery, please e-mail her immediately. mgoldstein@globe.com
Follow on Twitter: @GlobeNames, @MeredithGoldste

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