Harvey Weinstein and Georgette Mosbacher's non-partisan election-watching party came off without a hitch last night.
Well, maybe one hitch. When the Kerry supporters, the preponderance of guests there, got the gloomy feeling that they were going to be on the losing end of the night, the party — held at The Palm in Manhattan — drained like a bathtub that had suddenly lost its stopper.
But for two or three hours, the slimmed-down Weinstein and the ever-buxom Mosbacher welcomed a cross-section of New York media types, including the redoubtable Charlie Rose, rap-music impresario Russell Simmons, Oxygen Network's Geraldine Laybourne, "Rocky Horror Picture Show" star Tim Curry, New York Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman, actress/playwright Anna Deveare Smith, activist Bianca Jagger, Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer, James Lipton, HarperCollins editor in chief Dave Hirshey, record-biz lawyer Alan Grubman and his realtor wife Deborah Grubman.
Also present were all the gossip columnists Mosbacher and Weinstein could lay their hands on: Richard Johnson, George Rush, the New York Times' Joyce Wadler, Lloyd Grove and former New York Observer hand Frank DiGiacomo.
Kate Castelbajac, looking like a movie star herself, dropped by while boyfriend Ron Silver made the rounds doing television interviews.
Barbara Walters held court in a dark corner all night. Would-be Secretary of the Treasury Steven Schwartzman and his wife Christine accepted congratulations from friends, as did writer Lally Weymouth, daughter of the Washington Post's late publisher Katherine Graham.
Even without the star power of the 2000 election party — which featured Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck — Harvey and Georgette's excellent adventure sizzled for a few moments when Tina Brown and Harry Evans walked in.
Several people complimented Weinstein on "Finding Neverland," one of the mogul's two entries in the race for best picture Oscar this year.
And no, there was nary a sign of Michael Moore, even though Harvey went through so much Sturm und Drang to produce "Fahrenheit 9/11."
When I called Moore's office in the late afternoon, I got the same runaround from the usual 12-year-old who's answered the phone since last summer.
Question: "Is Michael in N.Y.? Is he going to the Miramax party tonight?"
Answer: "I don't know. I don't know."
Question (posed because the receptionist initially answered by saying just "Hello"): "Is this even Michael Moore's office?"
Answer: "It depends on who you are."
By then I couldn't remember, so I conceded the call. It's the last time I will attempt contact with Moore's office.
The irony, of course, is that he complains in his films about people not knowing the answers to questions posed to them.
Meanwhile, the parties swirled: A glum group of New York politicians, Kerry donors and former staffers drowned their sorrows at JLX Cafe, the former Jean Luc, which has been reconceived into a smart bistro. The New York Democratic Committee set up shop at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, while Comedy Central filled up The Park restaurant with fans of "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart."
I've told you that if the "South Park" guys' controversial, funny and often tasteless movie, "Team America: World Police," turned out to not be a hit, there'd be serious trouble at Paramount Pictures.
And so it came to be. Sherry Lansing, the beloved longtime head of the studio, is out. The Los Angeles Times reported her ouster yesterday afternoon. Lansing will help look for her successor and be gone by the end of next year, if not earlier.
She won't have to look hard for her successor since Tom Freston, formerly the head of MTV and recently promoted up the food chain at parent company Viacom, is said to want her job. It was Freston who publicly criticized Lansing at an investors' meetings last month.
The announcement could mean that the Paramount Classics division is safe, along with its chiefs Ruth Vitale and David Dinerstein.
That would be good news for the struggling small division. Freston said in those public statements that he wanted to give them a bigger budget. Vitale and Dinerstein have had only $25 million a year to buy movies at places like the Sundance and Toronto film festivals.
Lansing will always have a great reputation and stellar place in Hollywood history. She won back-to-back Oscars with "Forrest Gump" and "Braveheart" and was smart enough to back "Titanic."
But in the last three or four years, Paramount has ceased to be a player in town. Its list of duds and disasters is long and unmemorable.
The big question now is: Where does that leave perennial and peripatetic mega-producer Scott Rudin?
He's made nearly every Paramount film of note for the last several years, including "The Hours" and the recent remake of "The Manchurian Candidate," but to Freston he may represent the old regime.
To Rudin, Freston may not have the film background. The plot, as they say, thickens.
President Bush isn't known for having a strong Hollywood connection, but at least he can count on one supporter for the next four years: producer Mike De Luca.
De Luca, now at Columbia Pictures, has a reputation for being a brash type. At New Line Cinema, he made Warren Beatty's flop, "Town and Country," and he's also worked at Dreamworks.
He's a little notorious: At a pre-Oscar party thrown by the William Morris Agency in 1998, De Luca, then a production executive at New Line, received a sexual favor in full view of other guests. He was tossed out immediately. This Clinton-esque episode is now a commonly referred to Hollywood tale.
Lately, though, De Luca has a new credit in Hollywood: born-again Republican. As the campaign heated up, De Luca started stumping for the Republicans all over town.
It turns out he's not a completely recent convert: In 2003, when he was at the very Democratic Party-favoring-Dreamworks, De Luca donated $7,500 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Last week, after debating "Pulp Fiction" and "Good Will Hunting" producer Lawrence Bender, himself a staunch Democratic donor ($40,000 in the last two years), De Luca wound up pushing the Bush agenda in the Los Angeles Times.
Hollywood insiders are baffled and annoyed. As one observer told me on Friday: "People are outraged. This is the ultimate hypocrisy — to be notorious in this town for a sex act and then to support President Bush."
De Luca's infamous moment, of course, was concurrent with Bill Clinton's scandal of a similar nature. Maybe that just makes him au courant. Perhaps he's got the pulse of the nation.
He does have good taste. When the L.A. Times asked him if he thought FOX News was fair and balanced, he replied: "I do. With their news reporting, I always see two points of view, just as with CNN. FOX doesn't have an agenda to spin things. They just do a better job than CNN or MSNBC."