Awards season is over this Sunday, with the big Kahuna of Hollywood parties, the Academy Awards.
The Globes, the SAGs and the Grammys—everything else was just dress rehearsal for the culmination of celebrities winning awards for being so awesome.
So naturally, the parties on Sunday have to be the biggest and baddest. Here's a rundown of which bash will be best and why arriving early to one legendary fete is actually cool:
1. Vanity Fair has some stiff competition for the most coveted invite, thanks to Madonna and Demi Moore. VF was by-far the hottest ticket in town...that is, until Madge and Demi teamed up in 2008 to throw their now-annual affair. See, the mag cancelled their party that year due to the writers' strike, so Madonna and Demi stepped in to throw a soiree in its place. But their fete, held at manager Guy Oseary's house, now siphons guests from the mag's party and is where all the A-listers end up. Last year they had Lady Gaga, Diddy, Ashton Kutcher, Leonardo DiCaprio, Penélope Cruz and Taylor Lautner.
2. It's not cool to be fashionably late to VF. Don't be tardy for this party, unless you have to. his The mag requires guests to arrive in staggered waves, according to status. A-listers get to arrive earliest, with lowly D-listers not allowed to get there until the end of the evening after most of the big names have already come through. And don't even thinking of sneaking in any plus ones. Back in 2002, Halle Berry was turned away with an Oscar in hand because she brought a big crowd with her.
3. The Governor's Ball is everyone's first stop. This party is held at the Kodak Theater immediately after the awards ceremony lets out. Expect winners clutching their Oscars and losers alike to hit the ballroom for a Wolfgang Puck catered feast. Last year, I ran into Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep, Zac Efron and Gerard Butler there. And if you didn't score a little gold man, you can still have a piece of the Oscar. There's 24-carat chocolate gold statues on the menu.
4. Elton John's bash is always entertaining. If you can't score a ticket to the actual show, attending Elton's charity viewing party is your next best bet. Each year, he throws a star-studded party at the Pacific Design Center with a special guest performers, a live auction (usually emceed by Sharon Stone) and a fabulous gift bag. This year, Florence + the Machine will play to a crowd that will likely include Victoria Beckham, Miley Cyrus and Ellen DeGeneres.
5. The Oscars isn't the only thing James Franco is hosting Sunday night. After he emcees the big show with Anne Hathaway, James is hosting an after party at some new bar he apparently owns called The Writer's Room and he's gonna sing. "I'll be singing at the Oscars, but there will be a private performance at my new bar," he told etalk, a Canadian media outlet, adding: "It's in LA. That's all I can say because I can't fit everybody. Everybody at the Governors Ball will not fit into my new bar, but it'll be going down." We would have thought this was another one of his many jokes, but we're hearing actual invites have already gone out. Where's ours, James?
(Originally published Feb. 25, 2011, at 7 p.m. PT)