The Golden Globes is a star-studded, glamorous event known for getting celebrities nice and tipsy — and the Warner Bros. & InStyle after-party is its slightly wilder cousin. It’s just across the lobby from the ceremony at the Beverly Hilton, where the awards are held. And for most of the honorees, it’s their first stop in a long night of celebrating. I’m there at 9 p.m., and already the Oasis room, where the party has set up shop, is comfortably packed. It’s busy, but not to the point that you can’t move around without spilling your drink. This isn’t the kind of soiree where the dance floor is empty for the first hour or two. In fact, everyone is dancing wherever there is room to do so. To the right, Sarah Hyland is bopping with Laverne Cox. Jussie Smollett is cutting a rug with whomever he finds himself next to, seemingly having the time of his life. Rachel Bloom is wandering the room, award in hand. Rami Malek lingers with some friends.
Stars you haven’t seen in awhile have come out of the woodwork. Chace Crawford is doing laps around the room with an equally attractive male friend. Tobey Maguire is mingling in a small group. The drinks are flowing, and the buffet-style food flanking the walls remains mostly untouched. A middle-aged woman dances so hard she falls to the floor. She and everyone around her are laughing. No one feels embarrassed, because this is not the awards ceremony anymore. There is no need for pomp and circumstance. There are more intimate conversations spattered around the room. Selena Gomez chats with an unrecognizable man in a small circle of people. Kate Hudson and Taraji P. Henson are walking, arm in arm, speaking privately. Kourtney Kardashian and Kylie Jenner arrive, and are immediately surrounded. Every so often, a person approaches them and says something presumably complementary, because Kourtney responds with, “Thank you,” before politely returning to her conversation with her sister.
The journalist who received criticism from Jennifer Lawrence for using his phone during a press conference is on his device yet again. He is FaceTiming his friends, holding his phone in the air over the heads of the reality TV sisters, then swirling around to capture whatever other celebrities he can. Kylie approaches Gabourey Sidibe, who has been sitting nearby. They talk, smiling, for a few minutes, then Kylie and Kourt break away from the pack. They float to a nearby macaron station, but not to snack. They are picking an Instagram filter for a kissy-faced picture they had taken moments before. Once that’s done, they make their way to the exit. Their work is finished. I decide to leave, too. As I exit, a too-drunk girl has lost control of her dress. Her friend is walking her out with a tuxedo jacket wrapped around her. Rachel McAdams and Eva Longoria arrive, looking stunning as ever. As I make my way out, the difference in atmosphere is distinct. Oscar Isaac is about to come in, walking past adoring fans, who have lined up outside the party entrance in hopes of seeing him. He obliges a man who asks for his autograph on a blank piece of printer paper. Isaac then makes his way into the party, where he won’t be expected to do anything but celebrate.