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Graydon Out Ganja In At VANITY FAIR Party

Frances McDormand takes a victory lap at the annual must-attend Oscar party hosted by the new Vanity Fair editor, Radhika Jones.
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CreditNoel West for The New York Times

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — It was a little after midnight at the Vanity Fair Oscar party, and no one was about to get in Frances McDormand’s way.

A few hours earlier she had won her second best actress Oscar, and now she bobbed and weaved through a packed crowd, lifting a bucket of fried chicken above her head, going to destination unknown.

That is, until she saw Timothée Chalamet, the 22-year-old star of “Call Me by Your Name.” She stopped hard, offered him a kiss and a piece of fried chicken. Mr. Chalamet, who spent the better part of the ceremony giggling, started giggling once more. Armie Hammer, his co-star, bow tie undone, came in to give Ms. McDormand a big hug. Then, materializing out of nowhere, came Christopher Walken.

Ms. McDormand, who had misplaced her Oscar at the Governors Ball earlier in the night (she found it by time she showed up here), had given a fiery speech about gender equality in Hollywood. Would it last? Would #metoo and #timesup last past Monday? she was asked.


“It better!” Ms. McDormand said, before she disappeared into the crowd. She seemed determined to be the star of the party.


It was a convulsive year not only for Hollywood, but also for Vanity Fair.

Graydon Carter, who presided over this must-attend party for years (taking over the slot from the agent Swifty Lazar), was out. Radhika Jones, the new editor, officially took over the master of ceremony duties, standing tall the whole night (even though she was tempted to ditch the heels early on).

But if the Vanity Fair party was once about recreating the spirit of Old Hollywood glamour (there were “cigarette girls” as recently as three years ago), this was decidedly something else.

“Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands in the air!” screamed a D.J. a minute before midnight, an unimaginable declaration in the quieter, smoky, boys club spirit of years past.

Some things, however, don’t change. Free of any controversy like blurting out “La La Land” to close out a night, Faye Dunaway took to a couch all alone and asked someone to pass the fries. There was Donald Glover speaking to Matt Bomer. And a bearded Drake a few feet away. And Salma Hayek grabbing an In-N-Out burger. And there was a conga line heading toward the exits that included Mary J. Blige, Sean Combs and Naomi Campbell.

The sports people were there — Lindsey Vonn, Kobe Bryant — along with the openly gay Olympians Gus Kenworthy and Adam Rippon. (Mr. Rippon, in a harness-cum-tuxedo, happily sat outdoors in the chilly degree weather.).

And what of those cigarettes? Once freely available by the carton loads, they were now replaced by miniature “No Smoking” signs indoors. But at this party space — a custom-designed spot that connects the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts with Beverly Hills City Hall — there was the unmistakable smell of marijuana.

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