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Forget the awards, it's time to party

Hollywood will don its finest when attending post-Golden Globe bashes
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Hollywood's official awards season gets underway this week with the Golden Globe Awards, presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

While the actual awards can signal who the favorites are for the Academy Awards, the real competition is among fashion designers and party planners. So let's forget about the speeches and the statutes and look at what's really important -- what everybody will be wearing, where they will be going after the show and what kind of goodies they will receive.

In fashion
The big question of the night is: who will be wearing what? Trends this year include glamorous short dresses, floating chiffon and color, color, color. Top stylist Tod Hallman, who’s dressing Portia di Rossi this year says, “the one thing you can be sure of is that you won’t be seeing a lot of black.”

Actors Jude Law, right, and Nicole Kidman arrive for the Royal European Charity Premiere of their new film, "Cold Mountain" in central London Sunday, Dec. 14, 2003. (AP Photo/John Stillwell, Pool)John Stillwell / PA

So what are the hot colors? Halle Berry’s stylist Phillip Bloch says it’s all about “corals, peaches, yellows, and pinks.” The trends in jewelry will be vintage, with a lot of chokers at the neck or long roped gems. And yes, there will be plenty of those newly trendy chandelier earrings pulling on celebrity earlobes.

And there will be style for women of all sizes. Will and Grace star Debra Messing, who is heavily pregnant, has been fielding calls from top designers eager to create a special maternity dress for her.

Fashion predictions from those in the know say that this year’s glamour girls will be Renee Zellweger and Nicole Kidman, who rarely make fashion mistakes. All eyes, however, will be on South African stunner Charlize Theron, nominated for her role as a serial killer in “Monster.”  One insider says “this is her year—it’s her chance to grab headlines, and her character in the film was so overweight and unattractive that she will want to counter that—look for something outrageously revealing!”

For the men, insiders say to keep your eyes on Jude Law for dapper and Johnny Depp for bizarre. “The last time Johnny showed up at a premiere he was wearing burlap poncho,” says a fashion insider. “He does his own thing — keep your eyes out for him.”

Party time
After the winners collect their statuettes, the star’s really let their hair down and hit the parties. There are six hot parties this year, all within close proximity to the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where the awards are held.. The big question? Which ones to go to!

In Style magazine and Warner Brothers Studio are jointly throwing a lavish bash in the Palm Court of the hotel. The party is under a giant marquee in palettes of pale pinks and browns that includes decorations with 30,000 crystals.  In addition to grand hanging chandeliers, party organizers have created a massive fountain in the tent’s center. Tom Cruise will be there along with Clint Eastwood, Tim Robbins and Sean Penn, as well as Friends’ Matt LeBlanc, Nip/Tuck’s Joely Richardson and Alias’ Jennifer Garner.

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 19: Actress Sarah Jessica Parker hosts the Red Ribbon Celebration and unveiling of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor Brooch at The Cartier Mansion, November 19, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sarah Jessica ParkerEvan Agostini / Getty Images North America

HBO throws a bash that is not easily forgotten. It takes place at a restaurant called Griff’s.  This year, plans include massive French doors that open out onto a giant aqua-colored pool. Organizers are even planning to decorate underwater. HBO has built a walkway across the pool so that celebs such as Sarah Jessica Parker can walk over the water to sip champagne and accept congratulations from all. Expected guests include the cast of “Sex and the City”: Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon, as well as Jessica Lange, and Meryl Streep.

New Line Cinema will transform the hotel’s Executive Center into the most elegant of nightclubs. The floors and walls will be covered in pale camel-colored silks. Banquette booths will surround the club’s perimeter. Guests sipping champagne at this old-fashioned supper club will include “Lord of the Rings” stars Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Liv Tyler and Sir Ian McKellen.

NBC and Access Hollywood, along with Target, will throw a lavish bash in the hotel’s Stardust lounge. This is a glass-enclosed penthouse suite on the eighth floor of the hotel. The room has the city’s best views of Beverly Hills. The glamorous party palette is reds and white with more than 100,000 twinkling lights. Expected to be mingling are NBC stars Matt LeBlanc and Martin Sheen, as well as Sean Hayes and Debra Messing.

Focus Features and Universal Pictures are teaming for their event, held in a giant tent on the garage rooftop of the hotel. The art deco-themed bash will be decorated in sharply contrasting black and whites with a modern twist. Look for hot director Sofia Coppola and her “Lost in Translation” stars Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray among the famous crowd.

And last but not least, the biggest bash of the night: Miramax is hosting a celebrity-packed event at Trader Vic’s restaurant. Last year’s theme was Asian — this year’s is being kept closely under wraps but rumors abound that it will feature an elegant Southern theme in line with the studio’s big hit “Cold Mountain." Lighting up the star power: “Cold Mountain’s”  Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweger along with Jack Nicholson, Jim Carrey, Helen Mirren and Al Pacino.

Oooo, goodies!
As if walking away with a Golden Globe statue after sipping champagne with the stars wasn’t enough, each Globes presenter will receive more than $26,000 worth of gifts as a thank you just for showing up.

The freebies include a $7,000 spa and hotel package, a $5,000 photo session, $2,000 of products for your pampered pet, a $500 bottle of Clive Christian’s Most Expensive Perfume in the World, a De Beers diamond pin, a Donna Karan quilt, Mikimoto pearl earrings, men’s and women’s products from Kiehl’s, a Sports Club/L.A. membership and believe it or not an Evolution surfboard.

The goodies are presented in a handmade steamer trunk. Not bad for a night’s work.