Pre-Globes party weekend: Weinstein, AFI, Paramount, Film Independent and BAFTA do it up

Leading into tomorrow’s Golden Globes ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Hollywood has been all abuzz with events aimed at making the most of having talent in town for the big awards show weekend.

Things started Wednesday night with a Weinstein Company pre-Globes soiree that I didn’t attend, but Thursday brought plenty to chew on with the 17th annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, already covered and recapped.

Yesterday afternoon there was an AFI awards luncheon, which I also didn’t attend. I did, however, stop by Paramount’s big pre-Globes party on behalf of its nominees later that night. I’m happy they relocated it over to the lot after holding it at the Chateau Marmont, as it’s become very much an over-crowded shin-dig over the years. Seriously, sardines in a can. The breathing room was nice.

Actors Jack Nicholson, Kevin Costner, Billy Bob Thornton, Ernest Borgnine, Charlize Theron and more were on hand, as well as filmmakers Jason Reitman and Martin Scorsese and editor Thelma Schoonmaker. Andy Serkis, in town for the weekend’s festivities before heading back to New Zealand for work on “The Hobbit,” dropped in for a while, too.

I spent most of the night hunkered down with Variety’s Steve Gaydos and later “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” sound mixer Greg P. Russell, however. Russell is, as ever, hopeful that the Academy will call his number one of these days. (He’s been to the dance 14 times and has yet to walk away with a statue.)

It’s an uphill climb to get a film like “Transformers” an Oscar, even if it offers some of the most accomplished crafts work of the year, from the sound work to the visual effects. And Russell gets that, but as I told him, if indeed he gets a nod for the film (which feels like an all-but-sure scenario), there is something to be said for three-straight nominations in the category for the franchise. The only trilogies to do that are the original “Star Wars” series and “The Lord of the Rings.” No one else, not Indiana Jones, Ethan Hunt, Jason Bourne, Captain Jack Sparrow, John McClane, Peter Parker, Neo or the Alien, can lay claim to that feat.

(UPDATE: Also Friday night, I should add, was the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s awards dinner.)

On Saturday it was the annual Independent Spirit Awards’ nominees brunch, which this year featured the presentation of Film Independent’s four filmmaker grants. Usually those presentations happen during the awards ceremony the day before the Oscars.

Mark Duplass and Sarah Paulson were on hand for the presentations, which went to directors Mark Jackson (“Without”), Heather Courtney (“Where Soldiers Come From”) and Benjamin Murray & Alysa Nahmias (“Unfinished Spaces”), as well as producer Sophia Lin (“Take Shelter”).

Also in attendance for the festivities were Paulson’s “Martha Marcy May Marlene” co-star John Hawkes, “We Need to Talk About Kevin” star and Indie Spirit nominee for “Cedar Rapids” John C. Reilly, surprise SAG nominee Demián Bichir (“A Better Life”) and “We Were Here” director (and Best Documentary Feature Oscar semi-finalist) David Weissman, among others.

I spent some time with Focus Features honcho James Schamus, who was in self-professed spin mode on “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.” But he remains confident that actor Gary Oldman can still get in for the film and that, indeed, the film itself is not out of the Best Picture, uh, picture yet. There may have been a bit of a swell behind the scenes for “Tinker” over the holidays, particularly for Oldman. Could the film turn the trick and pop up where it’s been counted out? Quite possibly.

Also lingering around was “Midnight in Paris” star Corey Stoll, who I was happy to finally meet this season. (Gerard, you’ll recall, spoke to the actor in Boston where Stoll participated in a JFK Library/Ernest Hemingway event.) Stoll never expected the run of awards attention and overall goodwill that has greeted the film since its Cannes bow.

He said he was a little nervous at first at how quickly director Woody Allen works, but the character of Ernest Hemingway — a from-the-gut sort if there ever was one — allowed him to embrace the pace. And in particular he marveled at the work of costume designer Sonia Grande, who “had three different periods to do, with half the budget of one period,” he said.

“The Artist” director Michel Hazanavicius and composer Ludovic Bource were hanging around as well. I spoke briefly with the latter, who a year ago never would have imagined he’d be in the midst of this kind of a circus. I didn’t bother bringing up Kim Novak, but I’m told the team reveres the actress and is pretty bummed about the “Vertigo” star’s hyperbolic statements against the use of Bernard Herrmann’s score in the film.

Also today was BAFTA’s annual tea party, which I also didn’t attend. Now it’s all about saving up some energy for Sunday night’s roller-coaster.

Fox Searchlight will hold its annual viewing party, along with a post-show soiree. The Weinstein Company will be doing the same, and the Warner Bros./In Style event will go down again. I’ll navigate what I can and try not to get bogged down in a desire to just drink with friends and acquaintances like last night.

It happens, the grind of the season, not complaining. Maybe I’ll get a post-Sundance second wind.

For year-round entertainment news and awards season commentary follow @kristapley on Twitter.

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