The Golden Globes has its requisite number of luncheons, where nominees can commingle with fellow nominees, nosh lightly on the catering, and maybe enjoy a cocktail or two to ease pre-awards jitters. And they're plenty fun. But leave it to the Brits to put these lunch parties to shame by importing that English-style gathering, the tea party, to LA.
On Saturday, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts held its annual Awards Season Tea Party at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, inviting Englishmen and locals alike to indulge in Earl Grey, cucumber sandwiches and champagne by the hotel's courtyard. A classic red London phone booth greeted attendees at the entrance, and — because our good friends at Jaguar sponsored the event — a Jaguar F-TYPE with a Union Jack paint job was parked outside. We did some damage with that particular car in Miami, if you recall.
Among the luminaries who hail from across the pond, Benedict Cumberbatch arrived to a horde of screaming fans who looked like they were about to faint when they caught glance of him. British-born Chiwetel Ejiofor chatted with his 12 Years a Slave director, Steve McQueen, a fellow countryman. On the other side of the scones, Tom Hanks and Martin Scorsese came to temper all that British brooding. Hanks joshed with his publicist as Scorsese held court on one side of the ballroom, greeting supplicants such as Cate Blanchett and Sandra Bullock. We managed to say hello to the great director before he was whisked from the room, off to another event.
Full of bubbly, English Breakfast, and mini beef Wellington, we met a friend at the Roosevelt Hotel for a drink, slipped Clark Kent-like into a restroom, and emerged in a tuxedo. It never hurts to traipse around Los Angeles in a black tie, but in fact we had an engagement, The Art of Elysium Heaven Gala, where amid performances and speeches, we ran into Johnny Depp in his trademark tan fedora. The classic bad boy has apparently been tamed: he told us he had come because his girlfriend, Amber Heard, is involved with the charity.
The tuxedo didn't serve us well at the last stop, the opening of the Ace Hotel. Instead of glam movie stars in gowns with long trains, the crowd was art-conscious and dressed down. The Ace is in the heart of downtown, a watering hole of hip not far from the bling-heavy stretches north, in Hollywood. The ancient theater, refurbished for the hotel, uncannily recalled Club Silencio, the eerie theater in Mullholland Drive.
And then, still in a tuxedo, we indulged in that tried and true LA tradition: the hotel party. The debauchery went late.
The next day brought the Golden Globes, which took over the Beverly Hilton, and so we dutifully put back on the monkey suit, zipped through West Hollywood, braved the lines and paparazzi and security and headed straight to the HBO party, where amid seemingly every celebrity on the planet, we knocked into Mads Mikkelson, he of Bond villain infamy, the man we were in the Chateau Marmont elevator days earlier, looking again as devious as his onscreen counterpart, Le Chiffre. Hopefully it was just a coincidence.
[Photo credit: Getty.]