By now you’ve heard the news, the dreadful news, that Vanity Fair has canceled its traditional Oscar-night party due to fears that the writers’ strike would ruin the Academy Awards ceremony. Many Hollywood types are positively despondent over the news, as the Vanity Fair party is usually THE cultural event of the season. But you know what? When I’ve been to the Vanity Fair party, it hasn’t even been that great.
A lot of my friends in Hollywood — Jack, Denzel, Cate, and so forth — simply LIVE for the Vanity Fair soirée each year. I don’t understand their enthusiasm. There’s always some kind of snafu to ruin an otherwise serviceable gala. Why, one year I was casually enjoying a bit of sturgeon roe caviar when a waiter bumped into me, causing me to spill my glass of Clos du Mesnil champagne all over my $8,000 tuxedo. You can bet Vanity Fair got the bill for the dry cleaning!
Then there was the time I was chatting with Oprah and Tom (who was still married to Nicole at that time), and the subject of tax shelters came up. Tom was insistent that a Roth IRA and a system of flow-through shares and limited partnerships was the best method, while Oprah and I felt a more diversified approach would yield better long-term results. The disagreement became heated and soured much of the evening, with Tom eventually storming away and insisting his squadron of chauffeurs drive him home at once.
Or what about the year Dame Judi and Sir Ian got into a tussle over whose vacation home — hers in Majorca or his on the French Riviera — was nicer? Many of us had been to both and could easily compare their relative merits (the one in Majorca has a much nicer swimming pool), but it seemed Judi and Ian only wanted to bicker amongst themselves. It was most unpleasant, dahling, I can tell you that.
I recall another horrid instance in which the Chateaubriand served at dinner was notably drier than it ought to be, and the marbling was not as exquisitely flavorful as we’d been accustomed to eating. The chef was Wolfgang Puck, but for weeks after that embarrassing mistake he was known as Wolfgang Suck. Why, if I wanted to eat dry Chateaubriand, I could go to Chez Michel on Rue de Rivoli in Paris! Am I right? You’ve been there. You know what I’m talking about. (Michel is a dear friend of mine, but he can’t cook a proper Chateaubriand to save his life!)
So I confess I truly don’t see what the big deal is about the Vanity Fair party. The cocktails are no better than they are at Tavern on the Green (I try to luncheon there whenever I take a meeting in Manhattan), and as for the string quartets they usually get to provide the music — well, let’s just say I’ve heard better Bach concertos in basement taverns in Vienna! Good riddance to the Vanity Fair party, that’s what I say. A few hundred of my closest friends and I are going to rent a villa in Spain to celebrate the Oscars privately, and I’ll bet our gala goes off better than Vanity Fair’s ever did.