THIS IS LIKE A GIGANTIC CLASS reunion," mused Holly Hunter, surveying the A-list arrivals at Los Angeles's Shrine Auditorium for the third annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Feb. 22. "Everybody knows everybody here. That's because Hollywood is really just a small village after all."
Well, maybe a small village with some very big designers. If the tone of the evening—during which film and TV actors honor their peers—was convivially collegial, chic one-upmanship was hardly neglected. "I'm definitely vain like the rest of them," admitted Hunter, a presenter, wearing a sand-colored jersey sheath she'd commandeered from the closet of designer pal Vera Wang. Said former NYPD Blue sweater girl Gail O'Grady, dazzling in a silver satin Valentino ball gown and 32 carats of diamonds borrowed from Harry Winston: "I was thinking absolute Old Hollywood glamor."
Old favorites and indie upstarts shared the stage at the two-hour ceremony, which is considered a prime Oscar bellwether and was televised on NBC. Half the TV trophies went to shows on the host network, including a pair for Seinfeld. In the biggest upset, the movie comedy The Birdcage, which starred Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, blew past competitors including The English Patient for best film cast.
After the awards, 1,000 guests attended the postshow gala cohosted by PEOPLE and Permanent Charities, a Hollywood philanthropic organization. "This is not your average party," said 3rd Rock from the Sun's Kristen Johnston as she watched NYPD's Jimmy Smits give ER's Noah Wyle a stop-and-frisk bear hug. "I'm going to get a nice stiff drink and just stare at all the fab people here."
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