BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Two years ago, several Golden Globe Awards after-parties raged at once at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, with movie and television stars co-mingling, braving the chilly night air and sometimes waiting in line for hours to get into lavishly decorated bashes.
On Sunday night, a year after the writers' strike shut down the awards show ceremony and its onsite parties, the weather was much warmer and alcohol flowed again throughout a spate of shindigs at the hotel, though fewer than before and not quite so extravagant.
Still, the current economic recession didn't stop post-Globe revelers from indulging in booze, food and the sheer will to make merry.
Clutching a tumbler of whiskey, his hair askew, "Mad Men" actor and nominee Jon Hamm grinned next to his wife, surrounded by cast members at an intimate, exclusive bash for the AMC '60s-themed show, which won a best TV drama trophy for the second year in a row. Retro tunes blasted overhead as guests ate mashed potatoes served in martini glasses. Decorations were minimal.
"To win again is great. We're going to light the lamp. We're going to party until late," said Hamm, a little unsteady on his feet.
Hamm pointed out that even with layoffs within the entertainment industry and beyond, a party could provide an economic boost.
"It employs a lot of people. I was a caterer and waiter for a long time of my life," he said.
Hamm's co-star Michael Gladis, sipping on a scotch and soda, said he had been drinking for hours.
"We're good at it. It's all about pacing," he joked, noting the show's characters' penchant for at-work boozing.
Unlike previous years, The Weinstein Co., E! and Paramount Pictures did not host after-parties at the hotel. Showtime held an offsite party at the nearby Peninsula Hotel, and Fox Searchlight hosted a party at the restaurant Craft.
NBC Universal's annual party on the Hilton's rooftop was a mostly industry affair, with guests dancing to a DJ spinning tunes by Prince and Britney Spears. Vases of white roses and lilies, and silver containers full of white feathers, decorated the area. Massive black chandeliers hung from the ceiling.
Attendees feasted on a modest spread of grilled vegetables, mashed potatoes, pasta and beef tenderloin served with mustard and horseradish.
With only two onsite parties left, most celebrities flocked to the Warner Bros. In Style bash in the Oasis Courtyard or HBO's grand party at its traditional home at the Circa 55 restaurant and poolside patio.
Both parties did their part to save on costs. Warner Bros. In Style reused decor which would have been used last year, and did not hand out gift bags. HBO also recycled decorations from other events.
Warner Bros. In Style's soiree still looked, well, in style. A live band pumped out covers of tunes by Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson and the Talking Heads. Guests chomped on slices of pizza, bologna and turkey. A couch-sized silver-plated ball drooped from the ceiling, circled by glittering strings of fake crystals. Pink fake feathered peacocks sat alongside platters of red roses.
Eva Longoria Parker and nominee Leonardo DiCaprio made early appearances. Gerard Butler, thoroughly enjoying himself, danced and then mingled. Adrian Grenier sat on a couch, drink in hand, flanked by two women.
Other attendees included Aaron Eckhart, Mira Sorvino, Debra Messing and a dapper Terrence Howard.
At the end of the night, though, HBO's gold-and-brown themed party reigned, with a line to get in snaking down the hall after midnight. The cable network came away from the awards rewarded with major trophies for actors in multiple shows and miniseries.
Eva Mendes, Drew Barrymore and Lauren Hutton made for a glamazon trifecta, huddled together smoking outside next to the pool, which was lit up by dozens of circular trays sporting candles.
"It's a privilege to be here, and it should never be forgotten what a privilege it is," boasted Barrymore, when asked about the opulent setting, given the sorry state of the economy.
Earlier in the evening, a hungry Paul Giamatti, holding his best actor trophy for the title role of John Adams in the HBO miniseries, also reflected on partying and Hollywood. "John Adams" snagged acting awards as well for Laura Linney and Tom Wilkinson, plus a trophy for best miniseries or TV movie.
"It's 'basta' with the glitz and the glam. It's enough. But I'm gonna go along with it, man," said Giamatti, before searching out a plate of food.
Anna Paquin, who won as best actress in a TV drama for the vampire series "True Blood," looked dazed as she sat at a table waiting to dig into some steaming chicken. Grilled scallops, rice, macaroni and cheese and beef tenderloin rounded out the menu.
"I'm loopy, and the adrenaline has started to wear off. Now I'm just hungry," said Paquin, happy she didn't have to be at work the next day until 7 a.m.
Jeremy Piven, who plays irate agent Ari Gold on the HBO show "Entourage," broke out into smiles as he joked to friends about losing to Wilkinson. Munching on chocolates and taking pictures with fans, the actor didn't indulge in champagne and wine like his co-stars. He said he was drinking a lot of water instead.