Mark RUffalo_12
Mark Ruffalo

What do you call a party that includes Salma Hayek, Kevin Costner, Robert Downey Jr., Laura Dern, Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum, Benedict Cumberbatch, Josh Charles, Piper Perabo, Naomi Watts, Jessica Chastain, Eddie Redmayne, Jeremy Irvine, Anthony Mackie, Quvenzane Wallis, Ben Stiller, Simon Pegg, Asa Butterfield, Bill Nighy, Jena Malone, Zoe Kazan, Abigail Spencer, Ken Howard and Matthew Goode – just to name a few?!

An HFPA event.

On Saturday night the HFPA and InStyle put on our annual TIFF party at the Windsor Arms Hotel. Salma Hayek was the first to arrive at 10:00pm sharp. She walked into an empty room that filled up less than ten minutes later with an array of actors, directors, producers and just about everyone who is anyone at the Toronto film festival.

Costner and wife
Costner and wife

Looking stunning in a black Gucci dress with silver studs, she claimed jetlag having just flown in from her Paris home. But if anything it was more a bad case of nerves: “We had the premiere of the animated movie I produced, Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. This film, I swear, has taken over my life for five years! And I was mortified. And then, 45 minutes into the film, the audience started clapping! And they kept clapping at one scene after the other. I sat there in shock. They tell me that never happens in Toronto.“ If Salma’s reaction was shock, then shock looks damn good.

Quvenzane Wallis – not so little anymore – did an Angelina Jolie on the red carpet in a black silk designer suit with a white silk blouse. Only two years after her breakout performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild she is now used to photo ops, screaming fans and the hoopla that comes with fame. She briefly hung out with Hayek, having lent her voice to the film before heading to bed much later than most 11 year olds.

Jessica Chastain
Jessica Chastain

Also riding a joy wave is the Foxcatcher team. Channing Tatum showed up with director Bennett Miller who had supposedly re-edited the film from the original version that had its world premiere at the Cannes festival in May : “I haven’t seen it yet, but I heard he tweaked it a little, and shortened it a bit.“ said co-star Mark Ruffalo, who was the life of the party and has so many films to promote this year that it is hard to keep track. A social media pro, he filmed himself with his phone talking about the party.

Piper Perabo  and husband
Piper Perabo and husband

Naomi Watts faces a similar dilemma as Ruffalo: she had Birdman in Venice and stars in two films at TIFF, was raving about St.Vincent while standing next to Noah Baumbach, the director of her other film, While We’re Young. Miles Teller who delighted everyone with his performance in Whiplash came over and Naomi greeted him like an old friend, thinking she had met him before. Fiction and reality must have collided, because although they both star in Allegiant, the follow up to Divergent, they had – in actual fact – never met before: “I’m having a senior moment!“ she laughed about her imaginary friend.

Piper Perabo was meeting up with real friends: shooting the 5th season of Covert Affairs here, the city has become home. Hanging out on the smokers’ terrace were Benedict Cumberbatch with his gang of followers, and Josh Charles, who can now relish being killed off on The Good Wife. His film Bird People is getting rave reviews.

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HFPA President Theo Kingma with Robert Downey Jr and his wife Susan

The award for funniest outfit of the night goes to The Judge-star Robert Downey Jr. who wore a very elegant – and sure to be designer - version of silk pyjamas with animal prints. He brought his wife Susan, a producer on the film.

And the event’s best promoter? Without a doubt Kevin Costner with his better half Christine Baumgarten, who kept saying what a cool party this was.

When we left at 2:00 am, it was still going strong. It wasn’t the youngsters like Jeremy Irvine and Asa Butterfield, but the older festival pros like Jake Gyllenhaal and Anna Kendrick who had the most stamina. And some party die-hards must have suffered a well-earned hangover in the morning.

HFPS Member John Hiscock and Bill John
John Hiscock and Bill Nighy

Elisabeth Sereda

Photos: Armando Gallo