Inside the 2019 Oscars Governors Ball

Stepping into the Governors Ball is surreal.

After scanning our ticket, which had a $1,500 price tag, we strolled up a red carpeted staircase to the Ray Dolby Theater in Hollywood, Calif. Sunday night, as Serena Williams sauntered past us in a black and red Armani dress and Oscar winners walked inside beaming with their gold trophies in hand.

“Oscars” was emblazoned on the top of the entrance in a white neon light, and as we walked in and took a minute to take in the moment, Glenn Close (sans her dog Pip) was posing for photos in a shimmery black dress, smiling and greeting attendees who asked her for a photo opp.

Waiters passed along endless small bites, from smoked salmon-topped toast shaped like Oscars statuettes and bowls of Wolfgang Puck’s famous truffle mac and cheese that guests fight over every year, rushing to trays in hopes to taste a bite.

And that was just the beginning of sights and sounds at the official Oscars afterparty, which only those lucky enough to snag a ticket, can access. It’s usually the first stop of the night for the big winners and attendees, and everyone headed there to congratulate Regina King, Olivia Colman, Mahershala Ali, Spike Lee, and more.

Take a peek at the six things you missed at the 2019 Academy Awards Governors Ball.

1. Regina King Went Barefoot: This is how we knew Regina King was officially our spirit animal – and also our BFF in our minds. Not only because the If Beale Street Could Talk star took home her first Oscar Sunday night, but after she did, she went barefoot at the Governors Ball, walking around with her shoes off the whole night with her Oscar in hand. The thesp had a team of people around her, with one toting her white pumps and another carrying the train of her white Oscar De La Renta dress.

2. Angela Bassett Cranked the Party Up: DJ Kiss and DJ Questlove both had guests on their feet, and attendees were showing off their moves on the small dance floor in the back. Angela Bassett was one of the first to start dancing, and at one point, Keegan Michael Key twirled his wife around the dancefloor and did a full routine as DJ Kiss played a Michael Jackson song. They did not come to play, and neither did any of the other stars who danced on and around the dance floor. Lupita Nyongo’, for example, had a dance party with Oscar-winning production designer Hannah Bleacher. They threw up their hands, flashing smiles, and laughed as Bleacher palmed her Oscar and Danai Gurira stood nearby, munching on a small bite. The Black Panther squad always parties together, so yes, Michael B. Jordan was not far from them, sipping a cocktail with friends and showing off his dimples.

3. The Food Was Everything: There is nothing better after sitting through a 3 ½ hour awards show than walking into a room packed with good food. It was love at first sight as soon as we walked through the doors. Wolfgang Puck curated an incredible menu of dishes for the 1500 guests in attendance that night, with his famous truffle mac and cheese (as we mentioned) one of the biggest hits. There were passed small bites all night, including truffle pot pies, chicken and waffles, veggie pasta, pork belly plates, mini Kobe burger burgers and so much more. And one of our faves – the seafood ice bar, topped with steamed lobster claws, raw oysters, shrimp, and sushi rolls.

For dessert – a long table in the back of the room, topped with passion fruit caviar, macaroons, strawberry cookies, and gold chocolate Oscar statues. There were several people dancing up to the table to grab sweets. We totally understood why.

It’s rare to see someone not eating something at the Governors Ball. Barbra Streisand sat at a table with Spike Lee munching on a plate of small bites and toasting champagne, for example, Gemma Chan noshed on veggie pasta in her pink  dress, and Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh chatted with friends as she spooned a truffle pot pie.

4. There was a Secret Oscar Engraving Room: Rami Malek popped champagne and sprayed it everywhere as he headed back to engrave his Academy Award, and Lady Gaga strolled back there too. The songstress, who toted her trophy in hand, gave Academy Award-winning Black Panther composer Ludwig Goransson a hug when she saw him in the room.

5. The Cocktails Were Flowing: This was the second time we attended the Governors Ball, and we’re always surprised that no one takes it too far with the cocktails. There were three open bars around the room, with two serving up champagne, cocktails made to order, and signature cocktails. The third was a Tequila Don Julio Specialty Bar serving up four signature cocktails: The Colomba, Rosella, El Dorado, and Ancho Old Fashioned.

As for the recipes for the cocktails, here’s one of our faves: The Don Julio Rosella.


1 1/2 oz Tequila Don Julio Blanco

1/2 oz White Vermouth

3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 oz Simple Syrup

5 drops Scrappy’s Lavender Bitters

1 1/2 oz Fever Tree Ginger Beer

Hibiscus Flower

Orange Oils


  1. Combine Tequila Don Julio Blanco, white vermouth, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters into a shaker with ice. Shake gently.
  2. Strain into a flute over a hibiscus flower.
  3. Top with Fever Tree Ginger Beer and mist with orange oils.

6. The Fast Facts: A LOT of food and drinks were prepped for the night. There were over 6,000 specialty cocktails served at the Oscars, 100,000 fresh herb leaves used (roughly 40,000 rosemary, 60,000 thyme), More than 1,400 bottles of Piper Heidsieck Cuvee Brut, 1,000 hibiscus flowers 250 pounds Parmesan Reggiano, and 7,000 mini chocolate Oscars served up and/or used.

After a night of dancing, mingling, wining and dining, guests also left with their own boxed chocolate Oscar.

Talk about a night to remember. 

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