The last stop on the long road to the Academy Awards is the Chanel and Charles Finch pre-Oscars dinner party. Every year since 2009—with the exception of 2021, due to Covid-19—the legendary French fashion house has hosted an intimate soirée to celebrate the intersection of film and fashion on the eve of Hollywood’s biggest night. Following tradition, on Saturday evening, current Oscar nominees Kristen Stewart, Jane Campion, Jessie Buckley, and Denis Villeneuve; prolific filmmakers Francis Ford Coppola, Ava DuVernay, David O. Russelland Paolo Sorrentino; and stars Caitríona Balfe and Jamie Dornan from best-picture nominee Belfast were among a group of elegantly dressed partygoers gathered at the Beverly Hills Hotel’s famed Polo Lounge to toast this past season’s work in cinema.
“A night like tonight, where we are celebrating both film and fashion, is really special,” said Henry Golding on his way into the cocktail reception. “A film really inspires fashion in a lot of ways, so wardrobe artists are one of the most important components in creating a character. Sometimes, going into a film, you don’t really quite grasp what kind of style your character is—but when you start building and working with the wardrobe stylist, they help you just get it right.”
The Crazy Rich Asians actor said that one of his early cinematic fashion inspirations was Jude Law in the 2004 romantic comedy Alfie. “That’s one of the first films [where] I kind of took notice of fashion. Jude Law is such a charismatic dude. He was kind of loose, but wore these casual suits that were well tailored,” explained Golding, looking dapper in a cream wool blazer and matching wool vest with white trousers. “So for me that always stood out. I find that you cannot go wrong if you stick to very classic, traditional, tailoring. That’s what I follow now. Everything just sort of fits me perfectly.”
Stewart was one of the first guests to arrive at the party. Clad in a Chanel black and white tweed embellished mini dress, the best actress nominee for Spencer was accompanied by her fiancée, Dylan Meyer. The two playfully posed for photographs together and held court near the bar during the cocktail reception, held in the garden courtyard of the Polo Lounge.
Across from the bar was Dornan, who attended the bash with his wife, Amelia Warner. The charismatic Belfast star shared that Steve Martin inspired him to become an actor, especially after Dornan watched the 1979 comedy The Jerk. “I remember thinking his comedy was unparalleled,” said Dornan, who flexed his own comedic muscle in 2021’s Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. “Take that scene in The Jerk when he’s backing out of the house, and he’s taking all the stuff that he thinks he deserves. That’s one of the most iconic moments in cinema for me. The physical comedy got me. I wanted to do that. I still want to do more comedy.”
During the cocktail hour, Dornan was spotted in a huddle with Rashida Jones and Normal People actress Daisy Edgar-Jones, who was dressed elegantly in a cozy Chanel black wool tweed jacket and trouser. After their conversation ended, Dornan made a beeline to his Fifty Shades of Gray costar Rita Ora. Dornan greeted her with a kiss on the cheek, and also gave a quick peck to Jojo Rabbit director Taika Waititi, who accompanied Ora to the soiree. Ora shared that the notorious 1981 Joan Crawford biopic Mommie Dearest is her cinematic fashion inspiration.
“Mommie Dearest It was so completely psychologically messed up, but Faye Dunaway always looked fabulous. It was a contradiction between pure evil and beauty,” said the British singer-actress, who wore a stunning pink leather Chanel jacket and a long matching leather skirt for the party. “All of her clothes were beautifully done. Despite the story, she always had these incredible vintage, glamorous Hollywood outfits on, like a tailored two-piece skirt suit with these beautiful hats and jewelry. She looked amazing, and I just remember thinking that I wanted clothes like hers.”
Nearby, Chris Pine was engaged in a deep conversation with former Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page. Adjacent to them was The Lost Daughter‘s Jessie Buckley, who was greeted by some acquaintances. Dressed in a chic Chanel navy, ecru cotton, tweed dress, the Irish actress had an animated conversation with a guest, saying she was “ready and excited” to be attending Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony as a first-time nominee.
Fellow Irish actress Caitríona Balfe will also be heading to the Oscars at the Dolby Theater to cheer on her Belfast director Kenneth Branagh and costar Ciarán Hinds, nominated for supporting actor. Balfe said working on Belfast It was one of the best experiences in her career. She caught the acting bug when she skipped school to watch old movies.
“When I was little, I used to get migraines, so I used to get off school. Then I figured I could get out of school by saying that I had a migraine,” she said. “I would stay upstairs and I would go down to the sofa, and I would watch these black-and-white 1940s British films that were always on TV. There was a lot of that when I was a kid. Watching those films influenced me in wanting to become an actress.”
With awards season ending on Sunday, Balfe is sad that she will no longer see her Belfast cast regularly. “I’m definitely going to miss my boys”—Dornan, Branagh, Hinds and Jude Hill. “We really do feel like a family at this point,” said the Outlander star. “I think in that way I know that we are all gonna keep in contact and see each other again, so it will be bittersweet. But I think we are ready to relax. It’s been a long tour.”
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