HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Steven Spielberg could be overheard telling friends it didn't really bother him, but his "Saving Private Ryan" losing out to "Shakespeare in Love" in the best picture race kept the celebration a little muted at Monday night's Dreamworks/ Paramount post-Oscar bash.
The gathering at Barnaby's near Beverly Hills was far from funereal: Spielberg got to hold court with his best director Oscar, and a host of other statuettes could be seen accompanying their tuxedo-clad new owners. Eight men shared in the film's four Oscar wins, and just about all of them made it to the party.
Still, vocal celebrating was in short supply. And much of the banter centered not so much on "Ryan" and its accomplishments but on the scene-stealing antics of double-Oscar winner Roberto Benigni, who proved such a crowd-pleaser that he'd probably be elected mayor of L.A. if votes were cast today.
And Spielberg could take solace in knowing he had been placed in good company.
One of his idols, John Ford, was named best director four times -- thrice for films that didn't win best picture Oscars ("The Informer," "The Quiet Man" and "The Grapes of Wrath").
Fortunately, there was plenty of food available for partyers to eat away their disappointment. Tables full of mussels, shrimp, crab claws, oysters and fresh vegetables kept appetites at bay -- an odd assortment of food, perhaps, given all the expensive gowns and tuxedos that could have fallen prey to some errant tartar sauce.
Spielberg shared a table with his wife, actress Kate Capshaw, and good friend Harrison Ford, who announced the best picture winner Monday night and must have flinched at having to disappoint the man who helped send his career into orbit.
Two tables over from the Spielberg crowd, the film's star, Tom Hanks, ate dinner alongside his wife, Rita Wilson. Perhaps because Hanks did not go into the Oscars as a favorite -- the odds seemed to favor either Nick Nolte or Ian McKellen, making Benigni's win even more impressive -- his table seemed a little more animated than Spielberg's.
Both Spielberg and Hanks had to make their way past a phalanx of photographers stationed just inside the club's entrance. So did the other celebrities who dropped by, including Ed Harris, Dan Aykroyd and Gloria Stuart (who brought a disbelieving chuckle from Spielberg with the news that she'd be playing a bag lady in her next film).
But perhaps no one at Barnaby's was having a better time than Richard Hymns, who was going home with an Oscar for sound effects editing.
Hymns, with a smile that refused to dim, got a huge kick out of being interviewed by one TV reporter who insisted he was British playwright Tom Stoppard, who shared in the screenplay Oscar for "Shakespeare in Love."
Admittedly, Hymns speaks with a U.K. accent, and his hair does bear a faint resemblance to Stoppard's shaggy do. But a laughing Hymns said being mistaken for a playwright is a new one.
"I get mistaken for Roger Daltrey occasionally, and sometimes Geoffrey Rush, but never Tom Stoppard. I thought, "My God, they're really on a roll.' "
Oscar winners for 1999
Best picture: "Shakespeare in Love"
Actor: Roberto Benigni, "Life Is Beautiful"
Actress: Gwyneth Paltrow, "Shakespeare in Love"
Supporting actor: James Coburn, "Affliction"
Supporting actress: Judi Dench, "Shakespeare in Love"
Director: Steven Spielberg, "Saving Private Ryan"
Foreign film: "Life Is Beautiful," Italy
Screenplay (written directly for the screen): Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, "Shakespeare in Love"
Screenplay (based on material previously produced or published): Bill Condon, "Gods and Monsters"
Art direction: "Shakespeare in Love"
Cinematography: Janusz Kaminski, "Saving Private Ryan"
Sound: "Saving Private Ryan"
Sound effects editing: "Saving Private Ryan"
Original musical or comedy score: "Shakespeare in Love," Stephen Warbeck
Original dramatic score: "Life Is Beautiful," Nicola Piovani
Original song: "When You Believe" from "The Prince of Egypt," Stephen Schwartz
Costume: Sandy Powell, "Shakespeare in Love"
Documentary feature: "The Last Days"
Documentary (short subject): "The Personals: Improvisations on Romance in the Golden Years"
Film editing: "Saving Private Ryan"
Animated short film: "Bunny"
Live action short film: "Election Night (Valgaften)"
Visual effects: "What Dreams May Come"
Oscar winners previously announced this year:
Scientific and technical award (Oscar statuette): Avid Technology Inc.
Thalberg Award: Producer-director Norman F. Jewison
Honorary Award: Director Elia Kazan
Pub Date: 3/23/99