Even Better Than Being There, Swifty Lazar's Oscar Dinner Takes the Award Every Year

updated 04/25/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/25/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Everyone who was anyone who wasn't at the Oscars was there. Bette Midler, in a bouncy circle of crinoline, made a boisterous entrance with husband Martin von Haselberg. George Hamilton chatted up Roger Moore. Jackie Collins kissed cheeks by the score, and Princess Firyal of Jordan dazzled the crowd with a jeweled neckpiece the size of Iraq.

The Oscar night bash at Spago in Los Angeles was, in short, another star-studded success for superagent Swifty Lazar, who, with wife Mary, hosts a similar viewing party every year so that the glitterati disinclined to sit still for more than three hours in a theater seat don't have to stay home and eat popcorn.

The 180 guests at Swifty's lavish sit-down dinner viewed the ceremony on giant video screens while sipping Moët & Chandon champagne and feasting on smoked Alaskan salmon, sautéed oysters, grilled veal loin and striped bass. They shmoozed through the telecast's many slow spots but roared approval when sentimental favorites Sean Connery (Best Supporting Actor) and Michael Douglas (Best Actor) garnered the gold. And they were gracious to those late arrivals who had actually suffered through the interminable presentations. Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey waltzed in around 11 o'clock, obviously thrilled that Dancing's "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" won Best Original Song. Also-ran mother-to-be Glenn Close arrived beaming a good-sport's grin. Faye Dunaway, Gregory Peck, Liza Minnelli and Sean Connery, sans statue (he left it in the car), were also in the second wave.

It was clear, though, that the fortunate ones who had sat out the evening with Swifty had had the better time. "Did you attend the ceremonies?" Spago owner Wolfgang Puck was overheard asking Twentieth Century Fox chief Barry Diller. "Yes, I went," grumbled Diller. "But for no good reason."

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