While there are any number of stories, both true and not, that have provided the fuel for this year's Awards Season – the tale of friendship between a legendary concierge and a porter in The Grand Budapest Hotel, for instance, or a famous mathematician's quest to build a machine to help break Nazi codes in The Imitation Game – I found myself focused on a whole narrative at a recent party hosted by HBO in L.A.
Swooping through the marquee network's post- Golden Globes bash inside the Beverly Hilton, my eyes lit up when I saw Monica Lewinsky appear suddenly with her BFF of some years, Alan Cumming. Now, that's an idea for a buddy road-trip movie, isn't it?
And, so, even though that was a bearded Matthew McConaughey sitting pensively in the corner looking like he might break into another existential soliloquy for a luxury vehicle, and there was Julia Louis-Dreyfus in my sight-line, too (gearing up to do the “Elaine Dance,” no doubt?), my eyes stayed on the most famous “intern” in history.
Sure, there were a lot of A-listers at this party, held around a draped-up pool, but how many had quite nearly doomed a U.S. president and, come to think of it, helped paved the path for the rise of Hillary Clinton? In person, Monica was slighter than she may appear in pictures, and her pal, Alan, was even more elfin than he does in his. “She's really one of my best friends,” he'd said about her last year, around the time Monica emerged publicly again with a big essay penned for Vanity Fair after years as a shadowy Mona Lisa character. “Good luck + good vibes,” she'd tweeted just that night to Alan, up for a Golden Globe for his role on The Good Wife. The two met some 16 years ago, at a Marie Claire party.
Well, from Marie Claire to HBO...I had to get face-to-face with the woman. So, making my way to the lavish buffet – and in the direction of the red snapper paella – I beat a path to her. “Amy and Tina were great,” she told me about the Globes telecast that night. We also talked a little bit about that essay she'd penned for Vanity Fair, saying she's surprised by how much good will she'd gotten from it.
Just a few tables away were some seriously solid-gold millennials, led by Taylor Swift herself. Taylor would have been three years old when the “Lewinsky Scandal” blew up the world, and Monica was the most famous woman on the planet. It's funny how the world keeps turning.
Taylor, looking beautiful in marigold yellow, had a serious posse. In her vicinity, there was Lorde, Lena Dunham, Allison Williams and Selena Gomez. Mr. Fifty Shades of Grey, Jamie Dornan, was also milling. At a table immediately behind them, Jessica Lange sat with a friend, looking on with a bemused smile.
It was a party that didn't disappoint, with HBO (the most nominated network at the Globes) throwing the most lavish fête of them all. This year, the theme was a kind of Valley of the Dolls old Hollywood, with Romanesque patterned fabrics covering one whole side, and a DJ positioned on a grand old piano. And the paella wasn't bad, either! Did I mention all the desserts were gluten-free?
Making more rounds, I ran into John Legend, who'd picked up a Globe for his song for Selma, and also Lisa Rinna, who chatted about her recent foray into The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills! She was a hoot – and had a lot to say about Brandi Granville.
“I'm going to change,” Alison, of Girls fame, told me when we ran into each other. A costume change for the after-after-party, no doubt.