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Last Updated: Monday, 26 February 2007, 12:36 GMT
Film fans revel in Oscars magic

By Jason Korsner
Los Angeles

Ari Sandel
Oscar-toting best live action short film winner Ari Sandel wooed the crowds

Oscars night came to an end with the hottest celebrity parties of the year, all taking place within a few blocks of each other in West Hollywood.

This is a tantalising opportunity for film fans to see their idols all in one place.

For West Hollywood local Peter Fenton, standing outside the Vanity Fair party has become a tradition for him. He was there from the start, watching everyone arrive.

"Helen Mirren looked the best," he concluded, praising the Academy's decision to award her the best actress Oscar. She was very friendly to the crowd, according to another group of fans.

While most celebrities jumped out of their limousines and straight into the party, Martin Scorsese waved his Oscar at fans from across the street as he arrived.

Claire Lincoln
I didn't even like him until I saw The Departed on the plane on the way over here
Star spotter Claire Lincoln on Leonardo DiCaprio

Another fan, Nancy Smith, said her favourite star of the night was Penelope Cruz, because she spent the most time signing autographs.

Forest Whitaker got one of the biggest cheers from the fans, because they really appreciate celebrities with Oscars who come over to meet them.

It was about half past midnight when he arrived, after visiting other parties, but dozens of people were still waiting in the cold. He rose to the challenge and he spent a good few minutes with members of the public.

Some fans gathered across the street from the entrance, while others preferred to wait to see their favourite personalities leaving, later in the night.

The best-prepared fans are those who live in the area and knew what to expect.

Excited

Desiree Washington was one of many to bring her binoculars with her, to get the best possible view of her favourites from across the street.

She was excited to see everyone arrive, even though she was not aware who most of the winners were.

But of course it's not only the big names who celebrate their wins at these parties.

Fans await celebrity departures
Fans gathered to see departures from the Vanity Fair party

One such success story was Ari Sandel, whose musical comedy about the Middle East conflict, West Bank Story, was voted the best live action short film.

Even though no-one in the crowd had heard of him, they still wanted his autograph, to have their photos taken with him and just to get a close-up look at that coveted statuette.

But it's by no means just the locals who came out to enjoy this starry night.

'Horrible movie'

Justin Dobbs from Kentucky agreed with most of the results, but said he was surprised and disappointed by the best picture winner.

"The Departed was a horrible movie, as it had too many twists," he concluded.

But Australian tourist Claire Lincoln couldn't have disagreed more, insisting it was a perfect movie.

Having seen Mark Wahlberg, Djimon Hounsou and Gael Garcia Bernal arrive, she was determined to wait until Leonardo DiCaprio turned up.

"I didn't even like him until I saw The Departed on the plane on the way over here," she said.

Desiree Washington
Celeb spotter Desiree Washington came equipped for the task

For her, just being there was an unusual experience: "I've never seen any famous people before in my life, so to see so many is exciting."

But she feared that standing there watching, for more than an hour made her feel like a loser - like she didn't have a life.

One fan was surprised that the biggest cheer he heard wasn't even for a movie star, but for the former model and American TV show host Tyra Banks. Another most surprising moment was to see Victoria Beckham arrive, without David.

As the hours wore on, the searchlights continued to light the night sky above the party venues in West Hollywood and beyond, but by the early hours of the morning, the crowds were starting to thin.

Even the professional autograph hunters, who have been known to push true fans out of the way to get autographs on photos they plan to sell, were beginning to pack up for another year.




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