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Inside the Governors Ball, the Official Oscars After-Party

By Ben Widdicombe

Patrick T. Fallon
 
 

After the Oscars ceremony, the stars took escalators up to the Governors Ball for the official after-party. Rami Malek, who won best actor for his role in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” sprayed champagne in the engraving room. “You’re all going to get wet,” he yelled.

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Patrick T. Fallon
 
 

Winners for the best original song, “Shallow,” from “A Star Is Born,” from left: Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Lady Gaga and Andrew Wyatt.

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Patrick T. Fallon
 
 

Regina King, who won best actress in a supporting role for “If Beale Street Could Talk.” She wore Oscar de la Renta.

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Patrick T. Fallon
 
 

Alfonso Cuarón, holding his three Oscars for best director, best cinematography and best foreign language film for “Roma.”

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Patrick T. Fallon
 
 

Octavia Spencer in a dress by Christian Siriano.

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Patrick T. Fallon
 
 

Spike Lee, winner for best adapted screenplay for “BlacKkKlansman,” with his wife, Tonya Lewis Lee, and their son, Jackson Lee.

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Patrick T. Fallon
 
 

Mahershala Ali, who won for best supporting actor in “Green Book,” paired a black tuxedo with a rabbit fur felt cap.

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Patrick T. Fallon
 
 

From left, Shannon Dill, Jimmy Chin, Alex Honnold and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi of “Free Solo,” winner for best documentary feature.

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Patrick T. Fallon
 
 

Hannah Beachler, left, who won for best production design for “Black Panther.” “I felt a shift tonight,” she said. “I saw a lot of women and black women on stage holding their Oscars.”

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Patrick T. Fallon
 
 

Peter Farrelly, who directed this year’s best picture winner, “Green Book.”

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Patrick T. Fallon
 
 

Yalitza Aparicio of “Roma,” in a dress by Rodarte.

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Patrick T. Fallon
 
 

Fom left, Graham King, a producer of “Bohemian Rhapsody”; Brian May, the lead guitarist of Queen; and Mr. May’s wife, Anita Dobson, the British actress.

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Patrick T. Fallon
 
 

Becky Neiman-Cobb, left, and Domee Shi, winners of the best animated short, “Bao.”

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Patrick T. Fallon
 
 

Jaime Ray Newman, left, and Guy Natti, winners of the best short film (live action), “Skin.”

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Patrick T. Fallon
 
 

Questlove in the D.J. booth.

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“You’re all going to get wet,” yelled Rami Malek, the Oscars’ newly minted best actor, shaking a magnum of champagne.

The star of “Bohemian Rhapsody” was in the engraving room of the Governors Ball, the Academy Awards’ official after-party, where winners get their names etched on their statues. When champagne came surging out of the bottle, Mr. Malek hosed down the room like a grand prix winner, drenching onlookers and engravers alike.

“And that's what happens when you win an Oscar,” he added.

If the Academy Awards are the peak expression of American culture, perhaps it’s fitting they’re held in a mall. After the ceremony at the Dolby Theatre, guests ascended five levels via escalator, across from stores like Victoria’s Secret and Dave & Buster’s, to the Ray Dolby Ballroom.

Inside, they were greeted by waiters bearing trays of Oscar-shaped pastries with smoked salmon and caviar, Wagyu beef bites and chicken potpies. Not to mention more stars flashing by than the Perseid meteor shower, including Alfonso Cuarón, who won for best director; Mahershala Ali, winner for best supporting actor; Amandla Stenberg; Adam Driver; Henry Golding; Serena Williams; Trevor Noah; John Mulaney and many more.

In the engraving room, Mr. Malek was followed by Lady Gaga and Mark Ronson, winners of best song for “A Star Is Born.” They sat side by side on stools at the counter, like teenagers at an old-fashioned soda fountain, even if one of them was wearing a $30 million Tiffany diamond around her neck.

An attendant stopped one guest from snapping a picture of them, saying: “We just want to keep it a sacred moment.” But all over the cavernous ballroom, the staff was having a tough time policing the no-photos rule. There were just too many “sacred moments.”

Like Regina King, who swept through with a publicist holding the train of her white Oscar de la Renta gown. “I’m vibrating,” she said of her reaction to winning for her supporting role in “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

Asked if the Oscars had taken a step forward in recognising diversity, Ms. King said: “I think so. My understanding is it’s the highest number of women and, as far as people of colour, there have never been as many nominations.”

Hannah Beachler, who won for production design on “Black Panther,” said: “I felt a shift tonight. I saw a lot of women and black women on stage holding their Oscars. Ruth Carter” — who won for costume design on “Black Panther” — “myself, Regina King: that’s a big deal.”

“There are a lot of women here who are empowered and are fighting the good fight right now to get parity, equality and equity within this industry,” Ms. Beachler added. “And I see it happening, but I still think there’s work to be done in diversity.”

Billy Porter, the “Pose” actor who sent social media into paroxysms when he arrived wearing a velvet skirt and tuxedo combo by Christian Siriano, said: “I won the red carpet.”

“I have been trying to create a conversation around fashion as art and activism,” he said. “And for me, showing up as a black gay man in a dress is activism.”

Mr. Porter also pushed back against critics of Jussie Smollett, another black gay actor, who was recently arrested on charges that he fabricated a racist and homophobic attack against himself. “They never believed us anyway, they never cared,” Mr. Porter said. “So it hasn’t set us back at all.”

Elsewhere, Barbra Streisand buttonholed Richard E. Grant and Melissa McCarthy, the stars of “Can You Ever Forgive Me?Julian Schnabel, the artist and director, chatted with Willem Dafoe, the actor, alongside the dance floor, just as Questlove, who was D.J.-ing from a stage, segued from “Africa” by Toto, to Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita.”

Watching from a corner was Brian May, the lead guitarist of Queen, which opened the show with a tribute to Freddie Mercury, the band’s singer, who died in 1991.

“Freddie would love it here, he’d be swanning around,” Mr. May said, taking in the scene. “I think he would say to the band, ‘Darlings, this is what we all expected, isn’t it?’ Knowing that we didn’t.”

Did Freddie ever mention who he wanted to portray him in the Hollywood version of his life?

Mr. May thought for a moment. “Burt Reynolds,” he said.