Arts & Culture · Film & Television

Diary of an Oscars Weekend, Part 3


Playwright/producer/screenwriter Elizabeth Hemmerdinger offers an inside look at what it was like out there in Hollywood during Oscars weekend. (Here’s Part 3 of our series—working the parties on Oscars Day.) —Ed.


Dear Diary,

11:45 am

My film partner Catherine Tambini and I had been spending quiet moments in various inspiring spots (like the elevator €”and the bar) around the Peninsula Hotel, working on what’s known as “the elevator pitch,” the totally compelling encapsulation of the film you’re working on—in hopes that you travel briefly with a mogul who can’t escape. This is also used at lunch and cocktail parties or after breakfast when you re-introduce yourself to a powerful producer.

IMG_Meryl 2179Elizabeth Hemmerdinger and TV mogul Meryl Poster exchange business cards.

1:30 p.m.

Oscar1 Elizabeth prepares for the parties. Hair and makeup by Lynzi Massey.

 oscar 2Catherine Tambini on her way to the first party.

Frankie Valli’s “Oh, What a Night” kept spinning on the turntable of my mind. Yup—a dinosaur of a mind and metaphor, but still moving . . .

4 p.m.
First stop: Elton John’s mythic Viewing Party to benefit AIDS research. More than 900 partygoers made merry in huge white tents with glass tops.  Good thing, since it was pouring. By the end of the night, the white wall-to-gigantic-wall carpet was soaked.  But it didn’t stop the hoards of ravenous-for-a-quote reporters and photographers snapping and barking over the fence that somewhat contained them on the red carpet (here, actually a white carpet) and the willing celebs who stepped up to the mics.  Our little party blew past them. Relatively speaking, I looked as if I were dressed for the tundra in February. Or New York City.  Vin Roberti and I are in eveningwear, though it’s broad daylight. Weird. Weirder?  It’s quite cold in the tent, but the rest of the women take no notice at all.

FullSizeRenderElizabeth and Vin Roberti at Elton John’s Viewing Party. (Photo: Amy Roberti)

Great music, drinks, and food—and enormous screens—in the first tents. Then we were called in to dinner as the Oscar broadcast began. I was seated between Vin and his wife, Amy. On Vin’s other side: Cloris Leachman. When I introduced myself, she laughed at “Hemmerdinger.”  She made me repeat it at least five times, and kept on laughing. Well, she’s entitled to her (private) sense of humor at 88.  

7DAD9F67-F2E6-421F-AD88-6F1659BC599CVin Roberti, Cloris Leachman, and Tom Vogel (Photo: Elizabeth Hemmerdinger)

8:30 p.m.
Catherine and I slipped out to drop by Harvey Weinstein’s Viewing Party.  It was also great fun, with a less raucous vibe. Great views of the city and plenty of screens. Brava, Julianne Moore—what a wonderful performance in Still Alice.

26Catherine at Harvey Weinstein’s Viewing Party with Julianne Moore accepting her Oscar.
Congratulations to Ellen Goosenberg and Dana Perry for winning Best Short Documentary!  What do you send to friends who go home with the Oscar??? 

9:15 p.m.
Back to Elton’s party.  After the broadcast—which was short on suspense—the real party began. The huge stage in the dinner tent was flooded with sensational musicians.

5224642F-C323-424A-891F-67D6035E9303Nile Rodgers and Chic was on the main stage.

Cloris and I danced a bit.  The guests were invited to visit the other tents for more food at sumptuous buffet tables and drinks at huge glowing bars. We didn’t feel the need to eat, but we did have one last glass for the road. 

Then Elton (well, of course we’re all on a first-name basis after an evening that begins at 4 in the afternoon) took over on the ivories.  So generous and inspiring. Such a grand host and talent!

33DAE15E-021A-46DE-89AB-E61B506A89D3Elton John on February 22, 2015.

11:59 p.m.
Leaving Elton’s Party. Cinderella’s feet need a rest.

Dear Diary,

Sadly packing up to come home to the cold weather but warm hearts of the family. It was nice to go, and great to come home. Even without an Oscar. 


49FB8E13-75AF-494B-8B0B-BF1E573D2219Who am I wearing?  NYC Couture by Deborah Johnson. She made this dress for me before Sarah Hyland (in Modern Family) was born!  Great design is forever.

Dawn Patrol   Dear Diary,   It was great to see always-gorgeous, always-working Cindy Adams at the end of the festivities—and to have her comments.  Here’s the link:


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  • freddie ross hancock MBE February 25, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Hope you remembered to drink a toast to Absent friends with Vin and his wife Amy and Catherine.