PARTIES OF THE PAST

Elton John’s 2001 Oscars Party Was a Hot Mess (In the Best Way)

The ongoing pandemic means that this year, there won’t be quite as raucous of an Oscars post-party circuit. Vanity Fair canceled their famed batch in lieu of a live-streamed series of “cocktails hours” instead. Though, if you hadn’t noticed, Oscar parties aren’t quite what they used to be. Or at least, the photos of them aren’t. In recent years, two of the after parties have been hosted by Madonna and Beyoncé. Each implement a “no photos allowed” rule (with only a few notable exceptions). That means the stars can let their hair down, kick off their shoes, and not have to worry about getting caught off guard by a rogue party pap. Twenty years ago, that wasn’t the case. Elton John’s annual bash (which he still hosts) was one of the hottest tickets in town, and photographers had free rein over the event.

From the looks of it, his 2001 edition of the party was an absolute hot mess—and we mean that in the best possible way. Where else could you spot Whitney Houston, John Waters, and Pamela Anderson at the same event? Some of that year’s Oscar winners, like Russell Crowe, showed up, but they hardly seemed to be the life of the party. In fact, no one seems to have had more fun than Leann Rimes and ‘90s teen heartthrob Andrew Keegan, who were dating at the time.

In the words of Saturday Night Live’s Stefon, this party had everything...

Pamela Anderson and Elizabeth Hurley recreating that famous Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield photo.
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A brunette Heidi Klum and a very glam Jenny McCarthy playing kissy-face.
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Erika Christensen and Tara Reid caught in the deepest of conversations.
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Whitney Houston looking absolutely radiant.
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John Waters winning a Chopard watch, for some reason.
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Donatella Versace at the peak of being “Donatella Versace.”
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Nelly Furtado performed, of course.
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Pamela Anderson and Tim Allen having a Home Improvement reunion.

Does anyone even remember she was on Home Improvement before booking Baywatch?

Mimi Rogers, Trudie Styler, and Sigourney Weaver forming a power circle.
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Molly Sims and Taye Diggs in deep conversation, probably about being ‘90s sex symbols.
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Michael Bolton? Well, he was absolutely there, too!
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Renee Zellweger looking absolutely stunning in yellow.
Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Bridget and Peter Fonda hanging out with Dwight Yoakam.
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Bridget and Dwight were dating at the time, which no one probably remembers. Such pairings were kind of a vibe back then. Remember Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett or Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton?

It was a VIP party in the early ‘00s, so attendance by P. Diddy (then known as Puffy) was mandatory.
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Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones had only been married for a few months at the time this photograph was taken.
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and many people didn’t think it would last.

Dionne Warwick, current queen of Twitter, was there.
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Leann Rimes, Andrew Keegan and k.d. Lang.
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Leann Rimes, Andrew Keegan and Jenna Elfman.
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Leann Rimes, Andrew Keegan, and John Leguizamo.
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...And, inevitably, Leann Rimes and Andrew Keegan just absolutely done for the night.
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