Depending on who you ask, the hottest ticket at the Toronto International Film Festival isn’t one for a screening but for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual party which has quickly become one of the highlights of the festival. The clamor for tickets, second only to that for the Golden Globes, begins well before the event, as everybody who is anybody wants to be in attendance. This year, the HFPA partnered with the Hollywood Reporter for the bash at the Four Seasons Hotel. By 10.30 pm, the line to check-in stretched outside the Four Seasons property, and the dozens of screaming fans behind barriers welcomed every celebrity arrival raucously. The photographers on the press line were kept busy by the likes of Adam Driver, Nicole Kidman, Dakota Johnson, and Eddie Redmayne.
Inside the Aria ballroom, a flower-decorated Dior photo booth was busy all night as guests posed for insta-pics. A celebrity photographer in a social media booth in the hallway took portraits of Bryce Dallas Howard among others. Guests enjoyed lemon chicken piccata, chutney mint samosas and seared tuna on crispy rice, as well as an assortment of decadent desserts including lemon tartlets, madeleines, and chocolate truffles. After midnight, guests gave up trying to shout at each other over the deafening music and started dancing. Toward the end of the night, Eddie Murphy came in after the screening of his new movie Dolemite is My Name, Dakota Johnson alternated conversations with Dad Don and stepfather Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory, Laundromat) who had finished his HFPA press conferences earlier in the afternoon. Robert Pattinson hung out with pal (and Lighthouse co-star) Willem Dafoe, Adam Driver cruised the floor while Jamie Foxx held court with the cast of Just Mercy. Jennifer Lopez easily took the prize for largest entourage as she made a royal entrance after midnight with Alex Rodriguez.
Others spotted at the party were Adam Sandler, Ansel Elgort, Chris Evans, Chris Cooper, Christopher Plummer, Constance Wu, Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Felicity Jones, Gary Oldman, Jamie Dornan, Jon Hamm, Keri Russell, Kerry Washington, Kristen Stewart, Matthew Rhys, Renée Zellweger, Ruiz Ahmed, Sarah Paulson, Shailene Woodley, Taika Waititi, Tim Blake Nelson, Toni Collette, Tracy Letts and Allison Janney. But who’s counting?