The night before the Oscars many of Hollywood’s biggest stars were not early to bed before the show. They were instead chatting the night away, martinis and champagne in hand, at the storied Polo Lounge in The Beverly Hills Hotel for the annual Chanel and Charles Finch dinner, an invite that's even harder to get than a seat at the Academy Awards.
The patio where the likes of Clark Gable and Darryl Zanuck once dined was filled with the industry’s brightest talents, many of whom were dressed head to toe in Chanel, including Kristen Stewart, Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman and Camila Morrone.
On the red carpet, Kidman and Stewart ran to one another to catch up, hugging and posing for photographers.
“It's been so long,” Kidman said.
Cotillard would join in moments later. Later on the patio, Kidman, emerging from a conversation with Idris Elba, could be seen embracing Ariana DeBose as Tessa Thompson spoke with best actress nominee Andrea Riseborough.
“I’m sure you must be tired,” Thompson said.
Elsewhere there was a meeting of Spider-Mans as Andrew Garfield approached Tobey Maguire, who was sipping one of the spot’s iconic martinis.
“You! You!” Maguire said, as Garfield went in for a hug. They then turned to speak to “The Whale” director Darren Aronofsky.
Several feet behind them, Jonathan Majors was deep in conversation with Riz Ahmed, while best supporting actress nominee Kerry Condon tried and failed to get a drink from the bar that had closed down in an attempt to coax the chatty celebrities into the dining room.
Inside, they were treated to a surprise performance by “The White Lotus” actor Beatrice Grannò.
Other attendees included Michael B. Jordan, Danielle Deadwyler, Hugh Grant, Brie Larson, Sigourney Weaver, Vicky Krieps, Minnie Driver, Patty Jenkins, Sarah Polley, Lily James, David O. Russell, Jerry Bruckheimer, Sofia Boutella and Ted Sarandos.
Morrone, star of “Daisy Jones & The Six,” has been going to the event for several years and said it’s one of her favorites.
“It’s like a really glamorous sleepover,” Morrone said. “I just love it here. I love to see all of the people who work in the entertainment industry who are being honored tomorrow. You’re in a room with like really artistic and incredible humans, so you just soak it all in. And I’ve won some pretty incredible Chanel pieces over the past few years here.”
For actor Whitney Peak, who is the new new face of Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle fragrance, the event was a chance to speak to some of her favorite filmmakers.
“There’s been such great movies this year and so many people who are responsible for making those films are in the room today,” Peak said. “Daniel Kwan is going to be here and I’m like, how do I tell him that I’ve been a fan of him since the Lil Jon music video?”
Chanel and cinema have been intertwined since the fashion house’s earliest days. In 1930, Samuel Goldwyn invited Gabrielle Chanel to Hollywood to dress film stars including Gloria Swanson. On her arrival back in Paris, Chanel collaborated with French filmmakers like Jean Renoir and dressed many of the new wave actresses such as Jeanne Moreau and Romy Schneider.
More recently, Chanel has supported independent productions including Leos Carax’s “Annette” and Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Bergman Island.” Chanel provided the funding for Olivier Assayas’s 35mm camera for “The Clouds of Sils Maria” and has for more than a decade supported programs for emerging filmmakers and cinematic preservation and restorations.
Not every attendee planned to make the trek down the champagne carpet at the Oscars Sunday, but one person who will certainly be there is filmmaker Ava DuVernay, who is on the Academy’s Board of Governors.
“I’m looking forward to seeing a calm, normal Oscars,” DuVernay said. “I was there last year and it was a little traumatizing. I just want it to be chill and uneventful. That would be nice.”