The magazine announced on its website today that the event -- set to take place this year at Craft restaurant in Century City -- had been canceled for the first time in the 15 years the soiree has been held, "in support of the writers and everyone else affected by this strike."
Magazine spokeswoman Beth Kseniak said the decision wasn't made hastily. "We've been talking about it for a while and we've been considering the decision for a while," she said. "We just didn't think it was the appropriate year to throw a big party."
The move will doubtless put a damper on Oscar festivities even if the writers strike is settled before the show. Vanity Fair's party has been such a magnet for A-list celebrities that the number of high-profile post-Oscar bashes has declined over the years, with few hosts willing to compete with the magazine's heat. Studios have, for the most part, moved their festivities to evenings before the ceremony.
With last year's closing of Vanity Fair's usual haunt -- the fabled Morton's restaurant -- observers were looking forward to seeing how the event would shape up at its new location, Tom Colicchio's Craft. When the move was announced in October, Editor Graydon Carter told Variety that Craft was "the ideal place for the party: great food -- which we will not be serving family-style, by the way -- great location with a dramatic entrance and a big, sweeping space."
Invites to the party, a star-studded event featuring icons of pop culture, are the most sought-after in Hollywood. Carter is known for his select guest list for the Oscar-watching dinner followed by an all-night cocktail event. Regulars include Kelly Lynch and her husband, screenwriter Mitch Glazer; Barry Diller; Diane von Furstenberg; and Fran Lebowitz.
It's historically been an expensive affair -- some years costing as much as $1 million. This year, Kseniak said, the magazine held off sending out 900 or so invitations because of the strike (which now seems close to a resolution). Construction on the party wasn't to begin for another week or so, Kseniak said. She wouldn't say how much money the magazine stood to lose with its last-minute cancellation. Much of the materials already ordered, she said, can be used next year.